Tag Archives: West Rim Trail

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 →

April 5, 2016 David Gordon on Angels Landing, Zion National Park.

Great Hike: Angels Landing, Zion National Park

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By Michael Lanza

Thrilling, scenic, and popular, an impressive feat of trail building, an intimidating and exposed scramble—these are some of the descriptions commonly given to Angels Landing in Zion National Park, all of them accurate. Constructed nearly a century ago, with steps carved out of rock and chain handrails in places to make it safer, it’s a tribute to a time when park managers were more comfortable with engineering nature for human recreation. The result is one of the classic dayhikes in the National Park System, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and one that should be in the sights of every avid hiker. Continue reading →

March 7, 2016 North Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

My 10 Most-Read Adventure Stories

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By Michael Lanza

Like anyone who runs a blog and website, I keep track of which stories generate the most interest among my readers—including which destinations and outdoor adventures they most want to read about. And I know that you, my readers, may be curious to know what other visitors to The Big Outside are reading. Using my blog’s current analytics data, I produced this top 10 list of the most-read stories about trips I’ve taken, from Zion National Park to the Teton Crest Trail to Patagonia, and more.

I think it’s a pretty darn good list of adventures. Read on and see for yourself.

Continue reading →

February 8, 2016 Angels Landing, Zion National Park

One Incomparable Place: Hiking and Backpacking in Zion National Park

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By Michael Lanza

Even in the Southwest, a region where the extraordinary becomes ordinary, Zion National Park stands out. Other places have natural arches, spires, and ancient cliff dwellings, but no place really matches Zion’s grandeur: cliffs up to 2,000 feet tall stretching for miles, the rock’s purity of white and deep burgundy, and patterns of striations rippling across a span of stone that dwarfs Man’s greatest buildings and monuments. Perhaps that’s why it was Utah’s first national park, designated in the same year, 1919, as Grand Canyon and Acadia. Continue reading →

December 14, 2015 Half Dome, Liberty Cap, and Nevada Fall seen from the John Muir Trail, Yosemite National Park.

My Top 10 Family Adventures

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By Michael Lanza

How many outdoor trips do you have on the calendar for 2016 already? I have four (with others in active planning stages)—and three of those are with my family, both because that’s what we like to do, and because planning months in advance and involving my family are my first two rules for getting outside more. For me, this is the time of year for pulling out maps, researching online and in my guidebooks, and poring over my list of adventures I want to take—which is now 17,076 words long and growing. I need to get busy—and so do you.

To help you out with ideas and inspiration for next year, here are my Top 10 Family Adventures at The Big Outside, a list that includes seven national parks, three amazing paddling adventures, four trips that should be on every backpacker’s to-do list, hiking an active volcano, and cross-country skiing among the greatest concentration of active geysers in the world. Continue reading →

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