John Muir Trail - 2009

8:58 p.m. on November 30, 2009 (EST)
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147 forum posts

I recently completed a "life list" backpacking thru-hike of the John Muir Trail. The following trip report is excerpted from my journal entries leading up to, during, and immediately after the hike. At the end are 3 appendices that may be useful for planning your own hike. The trip report includes a few pictures; if interested you can view the entire photo album here. I hope you enjoy.

* Prologue
* Preparation
* On Route and Around Yosemite
* Curry Village to Upper Cathedral Lake
* Upper Cathedral Lake to Lyell Canyon Headwaters
* Lyell Canyon Headwaters to Reds Meadow
* Reds Meadow to Purple Lake
* Purple Lake to Vermillion Valley Resort
* Vermillion Valley Resort to Marie Lake
* Marie Lake to Evolution Lake
* Evolution Lake to Lower Palisades Lake
* Lower Palisades Lake to Sawmill Pass Trail Junction
* Sawmill Pass Trail Junction to Upper Vidette Meadow
* Upper Vidette Meadow to Wallace Creek
* Wallace Creek to Guitar Lake
* Guitar Lake to Whitney Portal
* Homeward
* Epilogue
* Itinerary
* Gear List
* Menu
next: Prologue

11:27 p.m. on November 30, 2009 (EST)
244 reviewer rep
5,248 forum posts

Nice trip report and pictures. Reminded me of the high Sierra when I was there in 1980 January to May. Never saw it much without snow.

12:42 p.m. on December 3, 2009 (EST)
47 reviewer rep
241 forum posts

Excellent report. But, be careful using his itinerary! Steve put in some big mileage days such as Marie Lake to Evolution Lake and Evoluton Lake to Palisades. It is not just the mileage, but he covered some serious uphill climbing at the end of the day. I find it a bit easier to try to have steep uphills, such as going over passes at the begiining of the day's hike.

The lakes above Evolution Lake are beautiful spots to camp. As the sun sets, shadows fall quickly in this area, because of steep mountains making up the west wall of this high valley. Suddenly, however, just below Wanda Lake, the western mountains turn, the sun is out again shining over the Lake and directly at Muir Pass. Heading south, the trail abruptly swings east giving Muir Pass late evening sun. Going down from the Pass on the other side, one will again be in the shadows.

An effort to make it to Guitar Lake on your last day before Whitney is well worth it. Try to make it all the way out from Whiney to the Portal. Base Camp is tent city. There are some more lonely spots well down the trail out, if you really need to camp on the way down from Whitney.

For anyone leaving VVR other than by boat, take the Bear Creek Trail, not the Bear Ridge Trail. The trail follows Bear Creek which is beautiful with excellent fishing if you like that. Most of the trail is in good cover, no pack animals which means no dust. Obviously, there is plenty of water. It is not very steep and there are several places to camp especially very close to the jct. with the JMT, including flat ledges with a view below and again with water nearby. Since it is a popular fishing creek, you might find company in the campsites along the creek lower down, but not near the JMT.

The only draw back Bear Creek Trail is that its trailhead is 3 miles along the road away from VVR, so hitch it if you can with someone leaving VVR.

1:22 p.m. on January 15, 2010 (EST)
52 reviewer rep
200 forum posts

What an incredible story! Your journal really brings this trip to life for the reader. The way you speak of the area, the people, the experience, it really drew me in. Thanks for sharing this.

11:20 p.m. on January 16, 2010 (EST)
7 reviewer rep
147 forum posts

Thank you.

It is hard to tell when writing up a trip whether I will bore folk or entertain. Score one. Steve

June 18, 2018
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