Tag Archives: Wallowa Mountains

June 26, 2017 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 →

April 10, 2017 Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

Tent Flap With A View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

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By Michael Lanza

An unforgettable campsite can define a backcountry trip. Sometimes that perfect spot where you spend a night forges the memory that remains the most vivid long after you’ve gone home. A photo of that camp can send recollections of the entire adventure rushing back to you—it does for me. I’ve been very fortunate to have pitched a tent in many great backcountry campsites over more than two decades of backpacking and trekking all over the U.S. and the world. I’ve boiled the list of my favorite spots down to these 25.

I update this list every year, and each time, it becomes more difficult. This year, I’m adding two spots where I camped in the past year: below the East Face of Mount Whitney, and on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. Below my top 25 list you’ll find a second list of campsites that were previously in my top 25.  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 →

January 16, 2014 Skiing off the back side of Clipper Gap, above Norway Basin in Oregon's Wallowa Mountains.

Featured Photo Gallery: Backcountry Skiing Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

After a ski guide friend repeatedly e-mailed several of us photos of the snow-plastered, jagged mountains of Norway Basin in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains, we had to go explore this place ourselves. By that first night in the Norway Basin yurt, we had decided to return again the next winter. Check out this photo gallery of some select shots from that trip; whether you’re a backcountry skier, snowshoer, or neither, you can’t help but be awed by these remote peaks. Then see my full story about that trip for more photos, a video, and tips on planning it. Continue reading →

September 26, 2013 Mirror Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon.

Learning the Hard Way: Backpacking Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness

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By Michael Lanza

Just as I reach the 9,572-foot summit of Eagle Cap, the first thunderclaps boom so close that I feel them in my ribs. The rain follows within minutes, catching me dashing down off the summit—and not just to avoid being charbroiled by a lightning bolt, though that prospect is on my mind. But mostly I’m thinking about the fact that my son forgot all of his outer layers—rain jacket, fleece jacket, and wool hat—on this backpacking trip. And somewhere below me, my family is hiking through this cold, windy downpour right now. Continue reading →

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