Tag Archives: Mount Hood National Forest

January 30, 2017 Backpacking the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, Glacier National Park.

My Top 10 Favorite 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 a mandatory qualification. 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 of my top 10 are in national parks or federal wilderness areas.

Some things, though, don’t require explanation; the validation comes in just doing it. So I give you here my admittedly personal and subjective list of the 10 best backpacking trips I’ve taken over more than a quarter-century (and counting) of humping a pack on trails all over the country, as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and writing for this blog. Continue reading →

September 12, 2016 Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon National Park.

10 Awesome Fall Backpacking Trips

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By Michael Lanza

The imminent end of summer always feels a little melancholy. After all, it marks the close of the prime season for getting into the mountains. But it also signals the beginning of a time of year when many mountain ranges become less crowded just as they’re hitting a sweet zone in terms of temperatures, the lack of bugs, and fall foliage color. Autumn also stands out as an ideal season for many canyon hikes, with moderate temperatures and even some stunning color.

From Zion and Yosemite to the White Mountains, Grand Canyon, Mount Hood, and more, here are 10 of my favorite backpacking trips that are best served up in fall.
Continue reading →

December 21, 2015

The Year in 10 Stories at The Big Outside

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By Michael Lanza

At The Big Outside, I post roughly a hundred stories a year of various lengths, from gear reviews and answers to readers’ questions to regular photo galleries—and every few weeks, a feature-length story about an outdoor adventure, many of those with my family. At year’s end, I look back at those longer stories published in the past 12 months and see a pretty darn stellar menu of trip ideas for you, my readers. Here’s a look back, in pictures and brief descriptions, at 10 top stories of 2015 published at The Big Outside. Continue reading →

August 3, 2015 Gnarl Ridge, Timberline Trail, Mount Hood, Oregon.

Full of Surprises: Backpacking Mount Hood’s Timberline Trail

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By Michael Lanza

Minutes after we walk past the sign warning that this section of the Timberline Trail is closed due to “a deep chasm,” with 100-foot drop-offs, created by flooding from a storm—rendering the creek crossing ahead of us “very unstable and unsafe”—Jeff and I reach the top of the ridge high above the east bank of Eliot Creek. If you’ve ever wondered about the destructive power of water, take a look at Eliot Creek. A few steps ahead of us, the trail disappears as if bitten off by a set of jaws about 300 feet wide. The slope below is a torn-up debris field of rocks and crumbling earth. At its bottom, Eliot Creek, the foaming, white-and-gray spawn of Mount Hood’s Eliot Glacier, spits and rages loudly as it courses downhill, like an angry young man spoiling for a fight. Continue reading →