Rocky Mountain National Park

A backpacker on the Dawson Pass Trail in Glacier National Park.

10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit

By Michael Lanza Backpackers trying to plan a trip in popular national parks like Yosemite, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Grand Canyon, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains, and others have one experience in common: A high percentage of them see their backcountry permit application rejected. Countless backpacking trips over three decades—during which I was the Northwest Editor of Backpacker …

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A backpacker on the Grand Canyon's Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop.

How to Apply for a National Park Backcountry Permit

By Michael Lanza

You want to backpack in Yosemite, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Mount Rainier, or another popular national park? For trips in many parks, you need to know when and how to apply in advance for a backcountry permit reservation, to ensure you’re able to take your dream trip. In this video, I’ll walk you through the steps of applying for a backcountry permit online, so that you’ll know how to navigate a process that can seem complicated when you submit your own permit application.

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Ouzel Lake in Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

The 5 Rules About Kids I Broke While Backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park

By Michael Lanza

“I’m dying!” my son, Nate, bellowed to the entire forest in the Wild Basin of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. “This pack is too heavy!” We were just 30 minutes up the trail at the outset of a three-day backpacking trip. It was a trip that seemed like an unmitigated disaster for the first two days—then morphed into an adventure my kids clearly enjoyed and that helped expand their outdoor interests.

For me, those three days in Rocky serve as a reminder about the many ways you can do it wrong when taking kids outdoors, but how simple it is to make it right.

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

How to Get a Last-Minute, National Park Backcountry Permit

By Michael Lanza You really want to backpack in Yosemite, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion, Rocky Mountain, Mount Rainier, or another hugely popular national park this summer—but you didn’t apply to reserve a wilderness permit months ago? Well, you’re in luck: Most parks have a system for getting a last-minute permit. It requires jumping through some hoops, understanding the system’s ins …

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