Tag Archives: Rocky Mountain National Park

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

May 30, 2017  |  In Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Dawn above the Lyell Fork Canyon of the Merced River in Yosemite.

Mark Fenton enjoying the dawn above the Lyell Fork Canyon of the Merced River in Yosemite.

By Michael Lanza

You really want to backpack in Yosemite, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion, Rocky Mountain, 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. The bad news? It requires jumping through some hoops, good timing, and a bit of luck. Here are the tricks I’ve learned from numerous backpacking trips to major national parks over the past three decades. Follow them and you just might go backpacking this year in a classic national park. Continue reading →

May 22, 2017 Hermit Trail, Grand Canyon.

10 Tips For Getting Outside More

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Do you get outside as much as you’d like, both locally and on longer trips away from home? Who does? I do—almost. Sure, family and other responsibilities (like kids’ soccer games) prevent me from getting out as much as I’d like, but I do pretty well. Exhibit A: Most summers, I do not spend more than a handful of weekend days at home, and I sometimes spend more total summer days away from home than at home. I may be a little crazy, but fortunately, my family joins me for many of those trips (and when I’m away without them, they appear happy for the opportunity to relax at home with a break from me).

In this story, I share with you the tricks I’ve learned over the years, and that I keep following to satisfy my insatiable appetite for getting outdoors. Continue reading →

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April 17, 2017 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Every National Park I’ve Visited

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

How many national parks have you visited? I’ve been to close to half of the 59, and although that includes numerous return trips to some major parks, I still have more work to do. Then again, you could hardly call seeing our national parks “work,” right? What writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called “the best idea we ever had” has grown from a handful of parks created in the early days to a system in many ways without parallel, that protects 52 million acres of mountain ranges, canyons, rivers, deserts, prairies, caves, islands, bays, fjords, badlands, natural arches, and seashores in 59 parks. Without that protection, these places that draw visitors from around the world would otherwise almost certainly have been exploited and destroyed. Continue reading →

March 12, 2017 The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah.

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

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   8 Comments

By Michael Lanza

The first time I backpacked in Yosemite National Park, more than 25 years ago, I applied months in advance for a permit to start at the park’s most popular trailhead, Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley—and got it. I had no idea at the time how lucky I was. I’ve since been shot down trying to get permits for popular hikes in parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Glacier. But I’ve also learned many tricks for landing coveted backcountry permits in flagship parks—which receive far more requests for permit reservations than they can accommodate. Continue reading →

August 22, 2016 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

When the National Park Service turns 100 on Aug. 25, it will mark not just the diamond anniversary of what writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called “the best idea we ever had”—it marks the evolution and growth of that idea from a handful of parks created in the early days to a system in many ways without parallel, that protects 52 million acres of mountain ranges, canyons, rivers, deserts, prairies, caves, islands, bays, fjords, badlands, natural arches, and seashores in 59 parks. Without that protection, these places that draw visitors from around the world would otherwise almost certainly have been exploited and destroyed. Continue reading →

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