New Zealand

Trekkers on the Alta Via 2 in Italy's Dolomite Mountains.

My 30 Most Scenic Days of Hiking Ever

By Michael Lanza

We can all remember specific places that we consider the best days of hiking we’ve ever had. I’ve been exceptionally fortunate: I have hiked many trails in America and around the world that would probably make anyone’s list of most-scenic hikes. From numerous trips in iconic national parks like Yosemite, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Glacier to the John Muir Trail and Teton Crest Trail and some of the world’s great treks, including the Alta Via 2 in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains (lead photo, above), the Tour du Mont Blanc, New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park, Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail, and the icy and jagged mountains of Norway and Patagonia, here’s a list of the 30 hands-down prettiest days I’ve ever spent walking dirt and rock footpaths.

I think you’ll find some places in here to add to your must-do list.

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A hiker on Mount Luxmore on the Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

New Zealand’s Best, Uncomplicated Hut Trek: The Kepler Track

By Michael Lanza The forecast for New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park looks particularly grim, even for this chronically wet region that receives more than 30 feet of rainfall annually—or about 10 times as much rain as Seattle. A “Southwesterly,” a fierce and not uncommon type of storm that blows in from the Southern Ocean off Antarctica and can offload several …

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A family hiking the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

10 Expert Tips for Doing Adventure Travel Right

By Michael Lanza

What exactly is “adventure travel?” While we may all define it slightly differently, I think there are universal commonalities to it. Real adventure transports you into a physical and emotional place you have never gone before, or rarely go. It brings surprises and occasionally hardships. But the good surprises are a gift that often comes wrapped in wonder and awe, while the hardships teach us something about the world and, usually, about ourselves.

Our earliest adventures can help kindle a fire for more experiences that deliver that buzz again—that feeling of being entirely on your own and not knowing what’s going to happen next, but whatever lies ahead, you’re eager to leap into it.

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A hiker on the Tour du Mont Blanc in Italy.

15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life

By Michael Lanza Can travel “change your life?” How many experiences have such an enormous impact? I can name several that shifted my perspective, or expanded how I view the world and other people. Exploring the surreal landscapes of Iceland and Patagonia. Walking among Earth’s highest mountains in Nepal, through remote villages where people live much as their ancestors did for centuries. …

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A trekker on the Dusky Track in the Pleasant Range, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

Hiking New Zealand’s Hardest Hut Trek, the Dusky Track

By Michael Lanza We step out of the Lake Roe Hut into a persistent drizzle, deep in what may be the most dishonestly named mountains in the world—the Pleasant Range in New Zealand’s chronically soggy Fiordland National Park. Belligerent gusts hurl cups of water into our faces. By the time my friend, Jeff, and I have taken our first 50 …

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