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Hiking the John Muir Trail
Transcript of Hiking the John Muir Trail
John Muir Trail
Overview of the trail
The 211 miles of the John Muir Trail pass through the crown jewels of America's park system: Sequoia, John Muir and Ansel Adams Wildernesses, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks.
Trail runs from Yosemite National Park to the summit of 14,505' Mount Whitney: The tallest peak in the lower 48.
For approximately 170 miles, the JMT travels the same route as the Pacific Crest Trail.
The JMT is named after naturalist John Muir, founding member and original president of the Sierra Club. Construction on the trail began in 1915 – a year after Muir’s death and took 46 years to complete.
Distance: 211 miles
Elevation gain: 46,700 ft.
Mountain passes: 7
High point: 14,505 ft (Mt Whitney)
When to go: July – September
Preparing for the journey
Day 2: Little Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Backpacker Camp 18.4 miles
Cathedral Peak and Lake, Yosemite Valley
Day 3: Tuolumne to 1 mile past
Thousand Island Lake
Entering Ansel Adams Wilderness
Approaching Donahue Pass 11,031'
Day 4: Thousand Island Lake
to Upper Crater Meadow
Resupply at Reds Meadows
Devil's Postmile National Monument
Day 5: Upper Crater Meadow to Squaw Lake
Avoiding the Yosemite Fire
Squaw Lake to
"How are you hiking?"
Bear Creek to
Blayney Hot Springs
Muir Trail Ranch
Blayney Hot Springs
to Evolution Valley
1/2 Day on the trail
Evolution Meadow to
Muir Pass in a Storm
Unknown Pond to
When 4 Become 3
to J Bench Lake
Hiking Mather Pass (12,100')
J Bench Lake
to Arrowhead Lake
Pinchot Pass 12,056'
to below Forester Pass
Glen and Forester Pass
Descending Glen Pass 11,924'
Forester Pass 13,200'
Below Forester Pass
to Guitar Lake
Guitar Lake to
Mt Whitney 14,505'
Prior to February 2015, over 90% of JMT Hikers hike the JMT SOBO (Southbound)
from Happy Isles to Whitney Portal. You need to get a permit. In February, 2015,
Yosemite National Park put very tight restrictions on getting a permit reservation to
do the JMT. See http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/jmtfaq.htm
In short, the big changes are the following:
Yosemite National Park now limits reservations who intend to hike the JMT via the historical route of exiting Yosemite NP at Donahue Pass to 35 reservations a day and for walk-in permits, limit them to only those who apply to start their walk-in permit at Tuolumne Meadows.
This Exit Quota is limited only to Donahue Pass, not to the other passes on Yosemite’s southern borders (such as Fernandez Pass, Isberg Pass, Mono Pass, Parker Pass).
Guide Books and Maps
Tuolumne Meadows: Mile 23- Post Office: No holding fee
Red's Meadow: Mile 59.2: $35 holding fee
Vermillion Valley Resort: Mile 87.9: $20 holding fee
Muir Trail Ranch: Mile 107.7: $65 holding fee
Post MTR Option: Mt Williamson Motel- Independence, CA
Yosemite wilderness permit reservations are available 24 weeks (168 days) in advance. Apply exactly 168 days in advance as permits go quick! You can find out what day to apply for your permit here.
You can do so beginning at 5 pm Pacific time a day prior to the date listed on the site’s timeline. If
you fax your request by 7:30 am on the day listed, your request will be included in the daily lottery.
For weekend reservation dates, you can fax beginning 5 pm on Friday. If you missed the first day to make a permit reservation, you can see which trailheads are full here. Applying for a permit costs $5.00