Hells Canyon

A backpacker on the Continental Divide Trail in Glacier National Park.

12 Expert Tips for Finding Solitude When Backpacking

By Michael Lanza

Solitude has always reigned as one of the holy grails of backpacking: We all dream of finding that lonely campsite deep in the wilderness with an amazing vista, or hiking for miles or days encountering few or even no other people on the trail. Unfortunately, reality often conflicts with expectations for many backpackers when they discover that the dream trip they’ve been anticipating for months was apparently a dream trip for an awful lot of other people, too.

But the truth is that there are many ways to find backcountry solitude because the odds work in your favor: Most wilderness trails have few or no people on them most of the time. The search for solitude is less a needle-in-a-haystack conundrum and more a matter of thinking outside the box: You simply have to understand where and when to look for it.

Read on

A backpacker hiking into the Cirque of the Towers on Wyoming's Wind River High Route.

14 Photos From 2020 That Will Inspire You to Get Outdoors

By Michael Lanza For many people, 2020 was a hard year. I hope you stayed healthy and safe and were able to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible—and to take some adventures that inspired you. I had five planned trips (four backpacking, one river) canceled due to the pandemic and wildfires, but I was also fortunate to get out …

Read on

Saddle Creek Trail, Hells Canyon, Oregon.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Hells Canyon

By Michael Lanza

North America’s deepest river gorge, Hells Canyon, is a place defined by extremes—of scale, solitude, grandeur. Although protected as wilderness, it still harbors evidence of the settlers who, many decades ago, tried to carve a life out of its rugged contours and harsh climate: falling-down cabins, rusted farm equipment. Perhaps more than any wild land I’ve known, this canyon fills me with a sense of having dropped out of time, of diving, wide-eyed, into Alice’s rabbit-hole. The biggest disconnect? That a place so ruggedly beautiful could attract so few visitors. See for yourself in this photo gallery, then read my story and see more photos from a four-day, 56-mile, rim-to-river-to-rim, solo backpacking trip on the Oregon side of the canyon.

Read on