HOME
The Info List - John Muir Trail


--- Advertisement ---



The John Muir
John Muir
Trail (JMT) is a long-distance trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, passing through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. From the northern terminus at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
(37°43′54″N 119°33′31″W / 37.7317°N 119.5587°W / 37.7317; -119.5587 (northern terminus)) and the southern terminus located on the summit of Mount Whitney (36°34′43″N 118°17′31″W / 36.5785°N 118.292°W / 36.5785; -118.292 (southern terminus)), the Trail's official length is 210.4 miles (338.6 km), with an elevation gain of approximately 47,000 feet (14,000 m).[1] For almost all of its length, the trail is in the High Sierra backcountry and wilderness areas.[2] For about 160 miles (260 km), the trail, named for naturalist John Muir, follows the same footpath as the longer Pacific Crest Trail. The vast majority of the trail is situated within designated wilderness. The trail passes through large swaths of alpine and high mountain scenery, and lies almost entirely at or above 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in elevation. About 35% of the trail, including the entirety of the last 30 miles (48 km), lie above 10,000 feet (3,000 m).[3] The trail has been described as "America's most famous trail"; known for its relative solitude, the trail sees about 1,500 thru-hiking attempts each year (including Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers), many fewer than the number of attempts on comparable walks such as the southern portion of Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail
or the Way of St. James.[4][5][6][7]

Contents

1 Route

1.1 Yosemite National Park 1.2 Ansel Adams Wilderness
Ansel Adams Wilderness
and Devils Postpile 1.3 Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
and Sequoia National Park

2 Elevation 3 History 4 Hiking 5 Speed record 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External and Map links

Route[edit]

Happy Isles
Happy Isles
on the Merced River
Merced River
in Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
is the northern terminus of the John Muir
John Muir
Trail

Hikers approach the southern end of the John Muir
John Muir
Trail. The Mount Whitney summit plateau can be seen in the distance.

The official length of the JMT, as stated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is 210.4 miles (338.6 km). From its northern terminus in Yosemite Valley, the trail runs northeast, passing south of Half Dome
Half Dome
and then on to Tuolumne Meadows.[8] From Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows
the trail turns south, running parallel to the main range of the Sierra Nevada, through Yosemite National Park, Inyo and Sierra national forests (including the John Muir
John Muir
Wilderness and Ansel Adams Wilderness), passing through Devils Postpile National Monument, Kings Canyon National Park, and ending on Mount Whitney
Mount Whitney
in Sequoia National Park.[9] From the southern terminus of the JMT at the summit of Mount Whitney, an additional 10.6-mile (17.1 km) hike on the Mount Whitney
Mount Whitney
Trail is required to reach the nearest trailhead at Whitney Portal, thus making an end-to-end traverse of the JMT effectively 221 miles (356 km).[10] Yosemite National Park[edit] The trail begins at the Happy Isle bridge near the Happy Isles
Happy Isles
Nature Center. The trail ascends steeply up a paved incline before crossing another bridge meeting with the junction with the Mist Trail. The trail continues along a cut into Panorama Cliff, called the "Ice Cut". Although broad and well-traveled, hazardous winter conditions and close proximity to civilization (attracting large numbers of day hikers) make this one of the most dangerous parts of the trail.[4] After some elevation gain via long switchbacks, the trail reaches the top of Nevada Falls. The trail continues into Little Yosemite Valley, past the trail junctions to Half Dome
Half Dome
and Cloud's Rest, and then into a subalpine basin and passing the Sunrise High Sierra Camp. The trail then crosses the Cathedral Range
Cathedral Range
at Cathedral Pass before dropping steeply into Tuolumne Meadows, a common resupply point. The trail passes a visitor's center and some campgrounds before linking up with the Pacific Crest Trail. The John Muir
John Muir
Trail/ Pacific Crest Trail
Pacific Crest Trail
then turns south, through the mild Lyell Canyon
Lyell Canyon
meadow, and crosses the Cathedral Range
Cathedral Range
again and exits the park at Donahue Pass.[4] Ansel Adams Wilderness
Ansel Adams Wilderness
and Devils Postpile[edit]

A log bridge on the John Muir
John Muir
trail crossing part of Thousand Island Lake. Mount Davis is visible in the background.

At the crest of Donahue Pass, the trail enters Inyo National Forest and the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The trail passes Thousand Island Lake, Garnet Lake, and a number of smaller lakes. The trail continues into Devils Postpile National Monument, where there are a number of opportunities to resupply or exit the trail. Devil's Postpile
Devil's Postpile
is located a short distance from the trail.[4] Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
and Sequoia National Park[edit] The John Muir
John Muir
Trail next enters Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
and Sequoia National Park crossing some spectacular alpine regions, including Evolution Basin, the Golden Staircase, and Forester Pass. The trail ends at the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. From the summit of Mount Whitney, the closest trailhead is Whitney Portal.[4] Elevation[edit] The lowest point (4,000 feet (1,200 m)) on the trail is the northern terminus at Happy Isles
Happy Isles
in Yosemite Valley. The highest point (14,505 feet (4,421 m)) on the trail is the southern terminus, Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. With the exception of the first 7 miles (11 km) leaving Yosemite Valley, the elevation of the trail never falls below 7,000 feet (2,100 m). The trail crosses six mountain passes over 11,000 feet (3,400 m); from north to south, Donohue Pass, Silver Pass, Selden Pass, Muir Pass, Mather Pass, Pinchot Pass, Glen Pass, and Forester Pass.[11] At 13,153 feet (4,009 m), Forester Pass
Forester Pass
is also the highest point along the Pacific Crest Trail. When the United States
United States
Geological Survey calculated the official length of the trail, elevation gain and loss was not taken into consideration. It is estimated[who?] that, when hiking north to south, the amount of ascent of the trail is just over 46,000 feet (14,000 m) and the total descent is just over 38,000 feet (12,000 m), for a total of about 84,000 feet (26,000 m), or almost 16 miles (26 km); however, this does not mean the total length is increased by 16 miles (26 km). Rather, the triangle inequality implies that the error due to neglecting elevation changes underestimates the true length by no greater than this value. History[edit]

The trail is named in honor of Scottish environmentalist John Muir

The idea of the trail along the backbone of the High Sierra originated with Theodore Solomons. Solomons later recalled that the concept originated in his adolescence. "The idea of a crest-parallel trail came to me one day while herding my uncle's cattle in an immense unfenced alfalfa field near Fresno. It was 1884 and I was 14."[12] He began advocating construction of the trail shortly after the Sierra Club was founded in 1892. John Muir
John Muir
was a founding member and first president of the Sierra Club. Solomons explored the area now known as the Evolution Basin, and traveled extensively throughout the High Sierra, exploring possible trail routes. Joseph Nisbet LeConte
Joseph Nisbet LeConte
took up the cause in 1898 and the proposed trail was originally called the "High Sierra Trail", although that name was later given to a different trail, running in the east-west direction. LeConte spent years exploring the canyons and passes of the Kings River and Kern River, and climbing peaks along the proposed trail. Along with James S. Hutchinson and Duncan McDuffie, he pioneered a high mountain route in 1908 from Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
to Kings Canyon, roughly along the route of the modern JMT. In 28 days, they completed a trip of 228 miles through the high mountains, including several previously unexplored sections.[13] In 1914, the Sierra Club
Sierra Club
appointed a committee to cooperate with the State of California
California
to begin construction of the trail. John Muir
John Muir
died later that year, and the proposed trail was renamed in his honor. Construction of the JMT began in 1915, a year after Muir's death, with a $10,000 appropriation from the California
California
legislature. State Engineer Wilbur F. McClure was responsible for selecting the final route. He secured the cooperation of the United States
United States
Forest Service, which managed and supervised much of the actual construction. The California
California
state legislature made additional appropriations of $10,000 each in 1917, 1925, 1927 and 1929. After the Depression began, assistance from the California
California
state government came to an end, and there were still two difficult sections yet to be completed. One was the connection from the Kings River to the Kern River
Kern River
over Forester Pass, at an elevation of 13,153 feet (4,009 m). The Forester Pass
Forester Pass
section was completed in 1932 as the result of a joint effort between the Forest Service and the National Park Service. The Forest Service completed the final section at Palisade Creek (in the Palisade Group) in 1938. This section passes by the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Kings River and over Mather Pass by the "Golden Staircase" to the headwaters of the South Fork of the Kings River. Shortly after, this section was incorporated into newly created Kings Canyon National Park. The entire project had taken 46 years to complete.[14] William Edward Colby, the first secretary of the Sierra Club, called the finished trail "a most appropriate memorial to John Muir, who spent many of the best years of his life exploring the region which it will make accessible."[15]

Hiking[edit]

The summit of Mount Whitney
Mount Whitney
is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail. This photo was taken near the Whitney Portal
Whitney Portal
trailhead.

The primary hiking season is usually from July through September, though snow may linger on the higher passes well into August following heavy snow years. Early season hikers – including Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers headed north for Canada
Canada
– have to contend not only with the snowpack and icy slopes near the passes, but with streams swollen with snowmelt. Trail conditions are less demanding later in the season after the snowmelt concludes, and the weather generally remains pleasant for hiking through September. Weather during the hiking season is generally sunny and dry, but afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon. The trail is used primarily by backpackers and dayhikers, but also by runners, trail riders, and pack trains. Backpackers traveling at a modest pace usually complete the trail within three weeks.

Hikers on the John Muir
John Muir
Trail ascending Mount Whitney
Mount Whitney
before sunrise.

A permit is required to hike the JMT, which is obtained from the national park or forest where the hiker begins the hike. This single permit is valid for the entire hike. Permit reservations can be hard to obtain for JMT thru-hikers, but a portion of permits are reserved for walk-ins. The Whitney Portal
Whitney Portal
end of the JMT has a lottery for wilderness permits, and hikers starting in Yosemite face competition with other backpackers simply wanting to camp overnight while hiking Half Dome
Half Dome
or to Tuolumne Meadows. Backpackers entering the Sierra backcountry on multi-day trips are generally required to carry their food in approved hard-sided storage containers known as bear canisters to protect their food and other scented items from theft by black bears, which are common in the region. About 75-90 percent of hikers hike north to south, from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney.[16] There are advantages to starting in Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
and hiking south. Although there is a significant net altitude gain this way, starting at a lower altitude allows the hiker time to acclimate to the elevations of the trail rather than immediately having to tackle a 6,000-foot (1,800 m) climb to the summit of Mount Whitney. In addition, there are several resupply points convenient to the JMT during its northern half (Tuolumne Meadows, Reds Meadow, Vermillion Valley Resort, Muir Trail Ranch), allowing the hiker to carry a lighter food load early in the hike and also to exit the trail easily if problems arise. The southern half of the JMT is more remote and generally higher in elevation, thus making it more appropriate for the second half of the hike when maximum conditioning has been attained. Speed record[edit] Average hikers complete the trail in two to three weeks. The record for the fastest trip was set by ultrarunner François D'Haene in 2017, who ran from south to north in two days, 19 hours, and 26 minutes. The previous record of three days, seven hours, and 36 minutes was set by Leor Pantilat in 2014.[17] See also[edit]

Ecology of the Sierra Nevada Long-distance trails in the United States Sierra High Route

Notes[edit]

^ "Hike the John Muir
John Muir
Trail". Backpacker Magazine. Jan 2015.  ^ The trail passes near a road only at the northern terminus, in Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows
in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
( See Winnett 1970, pp. 39–43) and at Red's Meadow near Devils Postpile National Monument ^ JMT elevation profile ^ a b c d e Wenk 2008 ^ JMT FAQ ^ According to the PCTA, roughly 1500-2000 people attempt to thru-hike the PCT each year. An estimate shows that an equal number of JMT only hikers attempt the trail as well. ^ AT Conservancy statistics ^ Kalkoffen 2016, p. 9 ^ Johnson 1971, pp. 160–161 ^ Wenk 2008, p. 1 ^ "Forester Pass". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2014-06-01.  ^ Winnett 2001, front paper ^ Parsons 1947, p. 16 ^ Starr 1947, pp. 48–50 ^ Cohen 1988, p. 37 ^ Wenk 2008, p. 5 ^ Judd, Wes (October 17, 2017). " François D'Haene Breaks John Muir Trail Speed Record: Less than two months after winning UTMB, D'Haene ran the 210-mile trail in under three days". Outside. 

References[edit]

Castle, Alan (2004). The John Muir
John Muir
Trail. Milnthorpe: Cicerone. ISBN 1-85284-396-9.  Kalkoffen, Gerret (2016). Plan & Go: John Muir
John Muir
Trail. San Diego: sandiburg press. ISBN 978-1943126057.  Cohen, Michael P. (1988). The History of the Sierra Club
Sierra Club
1892 - 1970. San Francisco: Sierra Club
Sierra Club
Books. ISBN 0-87156-732-6.  Johnson, Paul C. (1971). Sierra Album. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co. ISBN 0-385-04832-7.  Parsons, Harriet (1947). "Mountaineering". In David R. Brower. Sierra Club: A Handbook. San Francisco: Sierra Club.  Starr, Walter A. (November 1947). "Trails". Sierra Club
Sierra Club
Bulletin. San Francisco: Sierra Club. 32 (10).  Starr, Walter A. Jr. Starr’s Guide to the John Muir
John Muir
Trail and the High Sierra Region. San Francisco: Sierra Club
Sierra Club
Books. ISBN 0-87156-172-7.  Wenk, Elizabeth; Morey, Kathy (2008). The John Muir
John Muir
Trail: The essential guide to hiking America's most favorite trail. Berkeley: Wilderness Press. ISBN 0-89997-436-8.  Winnett, Thomas (1970). High Sierra Hiking
Hiking
Guide #4: Tuolumne Meadows. Berkeley: Wilderness Press. ISBN 0-911824-10-3.  Winnett, Thomas; Morey, Kathy (2001). Guide to the John Muir
John Muir
Trail (Third ed.). Berkeley, CA: Wilderness Press. ISBN 0-89997-221-7. 

External and Map links[edit]

Full Trail downloadable open-sourced GPX at Waymarked Trails www.evansdp.com trail photos and videos Guide to the John Muir
John Muir
Trail by the Pacific Crest Trail
Pacific Crest Trail
Association John Muir
John Muir
Trail topographic maps John Muir
John Muir
Trail Journals and Photography

v t e

Yosemite National Park

Attractions

Yosemite Valley Yosemite Village Hetch Hetchy Glacier Point Badger Pass Mariposa Grove
Mariposa Grove
of Giant Sequoias Tuolumne Meadows Tioga Pass Wawona Tree Chilnualna Falls

Valley attractions

Half Dome

Northwest Face

Yosemite Falls El Capitan

Films: El Capitan, To the Limit The Nose

Bridalveil Fall Happy Isles Mirror Lake North Dome Vernal Fall Nevada Fall Little Yosemite Valley LeConte Lodge Bracebridge Dinner Yosemite Firefall Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
Chapel

Hiking trails

Mist Trail McGurk Meadow Ostrander Lake Taft Point Sentinel Dome Alder Creek Mariposa Grove Wapama Falls Lembert Dome John Muir
John Muir
Trail

People

John Muir Stephen T. Mather Galen Clark Shelton Johnson Buffalo Soldiers Chief Tenaya Ahwahnechee people

Lodging & camping

Yosemite Lodge at the Falls The Ahwahnee Camp Curry Wawona Hotel Housekeeping Camp High Sierra Camps Camp 4

Natural disasters

1938 TWA Yosemite crash (crashed due to inclement weather) 1996 Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
landslide 1997 Merced River
Merced River
flood 2013 Rim Wildfire

Transportation

Nearby airports

FAT MPI MMH

YARTS Route 140 Route 41 Route 120

Nearby municipalities

Foresta El Portal
Portal
& Arch Rock Entrance Yosemite West & Chinquapin Wawona Bootjack Mariposa Briceburg Oakhurst Midpines Lee Vining Mammoth Merced Le Grand Chowchilla

Additional information

History of the Yosemite area Geology of the Yosemite area National Register of Historic Places in Yosemite National Park List of waterfalls Yosemite Category California
California
Portal

v t e

Sequoia National Park

Landmarks and attractions

Ash Mountain Entrance Sign Atwell Mill Grove Cabin Creek Ranger Residence and Dormitory Cattle Cabin Crystal Cave Eagle Lake Forester Pass Franklin Garfield Grove General Sherman Tree Generals' Highway Generals' Highway Stone Bridges Giant Forest Giant Forest
Giant Forest
Lodge Hist. Dist. Giant Forest
Giant Forest
Village–Camp Kaweah Hist. Dist. Great Western Divide Hazelwood Tree High Sierra Trail Hockett Mdw. Ranger Sta. Hospital Rock John Muir
John Muir
Trail Kaweah Gap Kern Plateau Salamander King Arthur Lilliput Glacier Lincoln Tree Mineral King Mineral King
Mineral King
Road Cultural Landscape Monroe Moro Rock Muir Grove Pear Lake Ski Hut President Quinn Ranger Sta. Redwood Mdw. Ranger Sta. Smithsonian Institution Shelter Squatter's Cabin Tharp's Log Ursa Minor Cave Washington Tree Wuksachi Village and Lodge

Mountains

Alta Peak Mount Barnard Black Kaweah Florence Peak Junction Peak Kaweah Peaks Ridge Kaweah Queen Mount Kaweah Mount Langley Mount Le Conte Mount Mallory Mount McAdie Milestone Mountain Mount Muir Red Kaweah Mount Russell Sawtooth Peak Mount Stewart Table Mountain Triple Divide Peak Mount Tyndall Thunder Mountain Mount Whitney

People

John Muir Stephen T. Mather Hale Tharp John Tyndall Josiah Whitney George W. Stewart Yokut people

Nearby municipalities

Three Rivers Lemon Cove Kaweah Visalia Tulare Lone Pine

Additional information

Indian Basin Grove National Register of Historic Places listings in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park
Category California
California
Portal

v t e

Kings Canyon National Park

Landmarks and attractions

Barton–Lackey Cabin Boole Cedar Grove Charlotte Lake Converse Basin Darwin Glacier Deadman Canyon Forester Pass General Grant Tree General Grant Grove Generals Highway Great Western Divide Indian Basin Grove Ishi Giant John Muir
John Muir
Trail Kern Plateau Salamander Kings River Slender Salamander Martha Lake Muir Pass Rae Lakes Redwood Mountain Grove Robert E. Lee Tree Shorty Lovelace Hist. Dist. Wilsonia Hist. Dist.

Mountains

Acrodectes Peak Mount Agassiz Mount Baxter Mount Brewer Charlotte Dome Mount Clarence King Mount Cotter Mount Darwin Mount Farquhar Mount Goddard Mount Gould Junction Peak Mount Keith Middle Palisade Milestone Mountain Norman Clyde Peak North Palisade Palisade Crest Palisades Mount Sill Split Mountain Mount Stanford Table Mountain Thunderbolt Peak Triple Divide Peak Thunder Mountain University Peak Mount Winchell

People

John Muir Stephen T. Mather

Nearby municipalities

Hume Squaw Valley Independence Auberry Fresno

Additional information

National Register of Historic Places listings in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Category

.