Tag Archives: High Sierra

March 10, 2019 A hiker on the summit of Mount Hoffmann in Yosemite National Park.

The 10 Best Dayhikes in Yosemite

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By Michael Lanza

Let’s say it up front: The U.S. National Park System is without equal. The natural beauty, variety, pristine character, and scale of it have no parallel in the world. And everyone should set a lifetime goal of exploring as many of our 59 national parks as possible. But the truth is, a handful of flagship parks rise above the rest—including, unquestionably, Yosemite. Created in 1890, our third national park harbors some of the most breathtaking and inspiring scenery and wild lands in the entire parks system. And you can reach some of Yosemite’s finest views on dayhikes.

Here are 10 of the very best. Continue reading →

February 11, 2019 A backpacker on the Pitamakan Pass-Dawson Pass traverse in Glacier National Park.

America’s Top 10 Best Backpacking Trips

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By Michael Lanza

What makes a great backpacking trip? I’ve thought about that more than a mentally stable person probably should, having done many of America’s (and the world’s) most beautiful and beloved multi-day hikes over the years. Certainly top-shelf scenery is mandatory. An element of adventurousness enhances a hike, in my eyes. As I assembled this top 10 list, longer trips seemed to dominate it—there’s something special about a big walk in the wilderness—but two- and three-day hikes also made my list. Another factor that truly matters is a wilderness experience: All 10 are in national parks or wilderness areas.

In the final analysis, though, the only criterion that matters is simple: that it’s a great trip. And that character shows itself over and over in my picks for the 10 best backpacking trips in the country, selected from the many I’ve taken over more than a quarter-century (and counting) of carrying a backpack, both as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and creator of this blog. Continue reading →

February 3, 2019 Above Marie Lake on the John Muir Trail.

Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail: The Ultimate, 10-day, Ultralight Plan

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   12 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Are you planning to thru-hike the John Muir Trail? “America’s Most Beautiful Trail” should be on every serious backpacker’s tick list. After hiking it in seven days, I became convinced that—while that was very hard—the traditional itinerary of spreading the roughly 221 miles out over three weeks or more has a serious flaw: With limited food-resupply options, you’ll carry a monster pack that may not only make you sore and uncomfortable, it could cause injuries that cut short your trip.

In this article, I lay out my ultralight strategy for thru-hiking the JMT in 10 to 11 days—and why you’d want to do it. Continue reading →

January 28, 2019 A backpacker at Burro Pass, above Matterhorn Canyon in Yosemite National Park.

The 5 Best Backpacking Trips in Yosemite

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By Michael Lanza

After years of exploring all over Yosemite on numerous backpacking trips, I’ve learned two lessons about it: Few places possess Yosemite’s breadth and variety of scenery and inspire the same powerful sense of adventure. And its backcountry harbors such an abundance of soaring granite peaks, jagged skylines, rushing creeks, waterfalls, and shimmering alpine lakes—plus, over 700,000 acres of designated wilderness and 750 miles of trails—that you can take many, many trips in America’s third national park without running out of five-star scenery.

There’s only one Yosemite, and it unquestionably belongs on any list of the best national park backpacking trips. Continue reading →

January 21, 2019 Backpackers on the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park.

Photo Gallery: 10 Awe-Inspiring Wild Places

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

Over many years of taking wilderness trips of all kinds, I’ve gotten pickier about my backpacking and other backcountry adventures. The best-known trails, peaks, and wilderness waters are usually beautiful; but sometimes, for various reasons, they just don’t do it for me. More and more, I seek out the places and multi-day adventures that inspire a powerful sense of awe. It often requires getting farther from civilization, onto paths less traveled, and occasionally entails greater physical, navigational, or technical challenges. But those adventures feel wilder. And that’s what I’m after.

The 10 places shown in the photos below are exactly that: They still remain wild. Continue reading →

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