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ActivitiesJohn Muir Trail


Long Lake near Mammoth The John Muir Trail extends 221 miles along the crest of the Sierra Nevada Range through the Inyo and Sierra National Forests and Sequoia-Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks. It's named after the famous naturalist-conservationist, John Muir. This is real backcountry hiking as it can take 30 days or more to do the entire trip from Lone Pine Mt. Whitney to Yosemite. It's remote, it's long, and it's going to be a challenge!

Often hikers will come up and hike at Mammoth Mountain to get their feet wet, and then venture longer and longer distances until they feel they can take it on. If you're going to stay mid point, think about getting a hotel in Mammoth for a night so you can stay acclimated to the altitude, or camping on the trail.

TRAILHEAD ELEVATION - 10,000 at Yosemite
HIGHEST ELEVATION - 14,496 at Mt. Whitney
TRAIL DIFFICULTY - Strenuous and at high altitudes.
SEASON - Warm summer days, Freezing temperatures can occur at any time. Snow may be present in July.

If you are driving, the southern trailhead is just west of the town of Lone Pine, about 3 hours north of Los Angeles on Hwy 395. The northern trailhead is in Yosemite Valley, which can be reached from the west via Hwys. 120 or 140; on the east side of the Sierras, from Hwy 395 at Lee Vining via Hwy 120 over Tioga Pass. The John Muir Trail officially begins at Happy Isles in Yosemite the north end, and ends on the summit of Mt. Whitney. It is recommended to start at Yosemite, which is lower and work your way up, which will help you get acclimated to the high altitudes. Obtaining a Yosemite wilderness permit may be easier than obtaining a permit to begin your trip at Mt. Whitney, as many people wish to climb Mt. Whitney and you must compete with them for permits. There are many other possible entry trails along the way that will shorten the trip and provide easy access. Contact the appropriate Ranger Station for more information. You need to plan your trip for this is the mother of all trails. It is not a day hike!

The most popular time to travel the John Muir Trail is July through October. Snow may be present on high ridges and passes in early July. Most of the trail is at elevations above 7000 ft. and in some places over 13,000 ft. Summer days are usually warm, but freezing temperatures may occur at any time. Snow usually covers the trail in November.

Mt. Whitney Ranger District
P.O. Box 8 Lone Pine, CA 93545


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