Tag Archives: Southern Utah hiking backpacking

July 9, 2018 Hiking Half Dome's cable route, Yosemite National Park.

Extreme Hiking: America’s Best Hard Dayhikes

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By Michael Lanza

Imagine this: You’re heading out on a long, beautiful hike deep in the backcountry, but instead of a full backpack, you carry a light daypack. You’ve avoided hassles with getting a backcountry permit. There’s no camp to set up and pack up, because you’re not backpacking, you’re dayhiking. Yes, I love backpacking—living in the wilderness, getting into that mindset of not knowing or caring what day it is or what’s going on in civilization. And I do it a lot. But sometimes, I prefer to knock off a weekend-length—or longer—hike in one big day. Continue reading →

June 24, 2018 Day two in The Narrows, Zion National Park.

The Best Guide to Backpacking the Zion Narrows

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By Michael Lanza

The sound of rushing water increased in volume and the canyon walls pressed in close and reached toward the sliver of sky overhead as we walked downstream in the calf-deep North Fork of the Virgin River in The Narrows of Zion National Park. Turning a bend in the canyon, we came upon one of the most incongruous sights in the desert: a waterfall pouring from cracks in the canyon’s sandstone wall. Known as Big Spring, this oasis of cascading water and a hanging garden clinging to a redrock cliff is just one of the many wonders awaiting backpackers in Zion’s Narrows. Continue reading →

June 11, 2018 Hiking Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park.

The 12 Best Uncrowded National Park Dayhikes

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By Michael Lanza

The best-known dayhikes in America’s national parks are certainly worth adding to your outdoor-adventure CV. Summits and hiking trails like Angels Landing in Zion, Half Dome in Yosemite, the North Rim Trail overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Glacier National Park’s Highline Trail, and many others represent the highlights of the crown jewels of the National Park System. But for that very reason, unless you take those hikes outside the peak seasons or times of day, you can expect to encounter a lot of other hikers.

But there are other national park dayhikes that remain off the radar of many hikers—so they attract a small fraction of the number of people flocking to the popular trails. On these 12 hikes, you’ll find scenery just as majestic as those famous trails, while possibly having these spots to yourself (as I did on several of them). Continue reading →

June 4, 2018 Angels Landing, Zion National Park.

The 20 Best National Park Dayhikes

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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 Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion (lead photo, above), and others. 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. Start ticking them off this year. Continue reading →

May 28, 2018 Ancient Puebloan ruins in Woodenshoe Canyon, Dark Canyon Wilderness, Utah.

Ancient and Modern Folly: Backpacking Utah’s Dark Canyon

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By Michael Lanza

About five miles down Woodenshoe Canyon, under a blazing sun in southeast Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness, David stops on the sandy trail ahead of me and points to a barely distinguishable feature in the cliffs above us. We set our backpacks on the ground and follow a faint path up onto slabs below the cliffs. Scrambling and zigzagging our way upward, we reach a wide ledge below the overhanging cliff face.

In the shaded alcove below that breaking tsunami of sandstone, we stand quietly before the ruins of a small, one-room stone structure barely large enough for two people to lie down inside—a tiny home built centuries before Columbus arrived in the New World. Continue reading →

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