Tag Archives: Southern Olympic Coast

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 →

October 31, 2016

10 Really Cool Outdoor Adventures With Kids

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By Michael Lanza

Want to guarantee that your kids are always excited about getting outdoors as a family? Find adventures that excite them. We adults tend to look for nice scenery, but that, by itself, isn’t always going to fire up a school-age child or teenager. No matter what their age, kids want to engage with the outdoors—to get dirty and wet and climb around. By thinking a little more about trip planning, parents can find places and activities that inspire everyone scenically and experientially. Continue reading →

August 8, 2016 Hiking to Strawberry Point, Olympic coast, Washington.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking the Wild Olympic Coast

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By Michael Lanza

You can’t order fried seafood or buy a T-shirt anywhere along the 73 miles of seashore of Olympic National Park. What you will find is the longest strip of wilderness coastline in the contiguous United States, home to seals, sea lions, sea otters, bald eagles, tufted puffins, and many seabirds, and humpback, gray, minke, and blue whales. Salmon spawn in wild rivers. Up and down the coast, scores of stone pinnacles—called sea stacks—rise as much as 200 feet out of the ocean. It’s one of the few remaining pieces of ocean-view real estate in the Lower 48 that Lewis and Clark or Capt. George Vancouver would recognize. Continue reading →

June 6, 2016 Angels Landing, Zion National Park.

The 15 Best National Park Dayhikes in the West

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By Michael Lanza

America’s most stunning landscapes are protected within our 59 national parks, and some of the finest corners of our national heritage can be reached on dayhikes. Many can be done by kids and novice hikers. I’ve spent a few decades exploring most major U.S. national parks, making numerous trips to popular ones like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Grand Teton, and Zion. From the thousands of very scenic miles I’ve hiked over the years, I’ve assembled here a list of the best dayhikes you can walk in our parks. Continue reading →

May 9, 2016 Hiking over Clouds Rest, Yosemite National Park.

My 25 Most Scenic Days of Hiking Ever

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By Michael Lanza

You’ve had days like this. Maybe it was a dayhike, or a single, exceptional day on a backpacking trip or hut trek—one so gorgeous and inspirational that it forges a lasting memory as one of the best experiences you’ve ever had in the backcountry. From iconic national parks like Yosemite, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Glacier to some of the world’s great treks, like the Alta Via 2 in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park, and Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail, here’s a list of the 25 hands-down prettiest single days I’ve ever spent walking dirt and rock footpaths. I think many of these places would make your top list, too. Continue reading →

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