Tag Archives: Oregon

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.
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June 20, 2016 Granite Park, John Muir Wilderness, California.

Big Wilderness, No Crowds: Top 5 Backpacking Trips For Scenery and Solitude

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By Michael Lanza

We all want our wilderness backpacking trips to have two sometimes conflicting qualities: mind-blowing scenery, but also few other people around. A high degree of solitude somehow makes the backcountry feel more wild—makes the views more breathtaking. However unrealistic the notion may be, we like to believe we have some stunning corner of nature to ourselves. But in the real world, if you head out into popular mountains in July or August, you’ll probably have company—maybe more than you prefer.

Not on these five trips, though. From California’s High Sierra to the Cascades, and Idaho’s beloved Sawtooths to the peerless majesty of the Grand Canyon, here are five multi-day hikes where you’re guaranteed to enjoy a degree of solitude—at least on long stretches of the trip—that’s equal to the scenery. Continue reading →

May 16, 2016 Hikers on the Chesler Park Trail, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

5 Great Adventures to Take in 2016

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By Michael Lanza

Where will you take a big outdoor adventure in 2016? Do you have any plans on the calendar? It’s time to get the trip-planning wheels in motion: The prime hiking season for many mountain ranges is around the corner. In many national forests, like the backpacking trips in Idaho’s Sawtooths, Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness, and on the Timberline Trail around Oregon’s Mount Hood that I describe below, you won’t need a permit reservation. But if you’re thinking about a backcountry trip this fall in a popular destination like The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (lead photo above), the time to apply for a backcountry permit is coming up fast. Continue reading →

March 16, 2016 Mirror Lake, Lakes Basin, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon.

Great Trip: Backpacking Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness

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By Michael Lanza

Forget for a moment where you are while hiking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and you might look around and mistake the sharply angled, granite peaks and crystal-clear lakes for the High Sierra. But in the Eagle Cap, which occupies a big chunk of the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon, you won’t find the Sierra’s crowds (except in a few, popular corners like the Lakes Basin on nice summer weekends) or competition for backcountry permits. Load up your backpack and explore these mountains for a long weekend or a week in summer or early fall to explore this place with a backpack. Continue reading →

February 22, 2016 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 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 →

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