The John Muir Trail is one of the finest wilderness hikes to be found anywhere in the world and the trip of a lifetime. Our route starts near, and then climbs, Mount Whitney – the high point of the lower forty-eight states – and continues north some two hundred miles ending in Yosemite National Park. Along the way it climbs over 13,000’ passes, wanders beneath high alpine peaks, and traverses beautiful meadows and forested river valleys. The spectacular scenery is combined with the generally clement weather of California and warm summer temperatures. We have lived in the area for over 35 years and we are excited to share it with you.

You can expect to cover ten to twelve miles a day. The tentative schedule is as follows, but remember that weather, conditions and perhaps issues such as sore feet or a desire for a rest day may well vary this outline. Be flexible and adapt to the inevitable changes that will occur during a trip of this duration.

Logistics

Organizing logistics for a trip of this duration can be daunting, so leave it to us! We will plan and prepare meals for all 26 days. We will also schedule five food resupplies so that you never have to carry more than seven days worth of food at any one time. You will leave your vehicle in Bishop California during the trip. We will shuttle you to the Cottonwood Pass trailhead to begin the trip, and we will shuttle you back to Bishop, from Yosemite Valley, at the end of the trip. Your guides will have constant communication with our office, which means you will never have to leave the trial to grab extra items you need added to your resupply such as blister care, medicine, new shoes, etc.

Backcountry Communication

Your guide will be trained in wilderness first aid and will carry a satellite phone for emergency communication. Because of the length of this trip there is always the potential for things to go wrong and the unexpected to occur. Family and friends can contact you through our office. If you want to check in with family or friends each night, we recommend bringing a personal satellite communication device such as a Garmin In-reach. The guide’s device will be reserved for emergencies only.

Backcountry Conditions

We do this trip from July to early September to get what we consider to be the best conditions. There might be biting insects and bugs in July but by August they should be gone. In August and September the days, while getting shorter should be warm with day temperatures in the 60 degree region and nights dipping to about 32 degrees rarely and only at the higher elevations. There may be small snow patches on the highest passes, but not normally enough to warrant ice axe and crampon use. This might well change should we have a big snow winter and we will let you know should this be the case. Stream flows will be well below peak flow and most should be easy to cross. There is the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms that may be heavy for a short time. You will be in the high mountains so there is always the chance of snow, but prolonged storms are not likely at this time of year.

JOHN MUIR TRAIL BOOK

Our good friend John Dittli published a book on the John Muir Trail. It’s a collection of John’s photos, history and recollections from many hikes. Click here to see John’s slideshow.


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