The John Muir Trail: 211 Miles of Heavenly Hiking

The mountains are calling and I must go. ~ John Muir

Running along the spine of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California, from glorious Yosemite National Park to mighty Mount Whitney (14,495 ft.), lies the John Muir Trail.  This trail is known to most hikers as one of the best, most beautiful multi-day trails in the United States, mainly because of the varying terrain, panoramic landscapes and temperate climate.

Backpackers traditionally begin the trail in the Yosemite Valley and head south, which makes acclimatization to the trail’s higher elevations in the south easier.  The trail runs through some pretty spectacular scenery from valley floors filled with evergreen and conifer trees, flourishing meadows, flowing rivers and towering granite cliffs to rushing waterfalls, seemingly infinite alpine lakes and jagged mountain peaks that stretch upwards of 14,000 feet to the heavens.

The John Muir Trail follows a path of immaculate beauty, not of least resistance.  It traverses through Yosemite National Park, Ansel Adams Wilderness, John Muir Wilderness, Devil’s Postpile National Monument, Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park to Mount Whitney crossing several steep mountain passes in the process.

There are some great tenting options along the trail, either having complete solitude or camping near fellow backpackers, as well as a few places to resupply.  Be on the look out for black bears, pesky marmots and mountain lions (very rare) that live in the area.  Good food storage practices will help reduce any chances of unwanted visitors in the night.

Since it takes about three weeks to complete this trail in its entirety, combined with its isolation and varying degrees of altitudes, spontaneity and “winging it” is not the best way to do the John Muir Trail.  Planning is key to get the most out of it and that’s where PathWrangler can help.  We help everyone from guides, tour operators, outdoor clubs, expeditions and passionate travelers organize, collaborate, memorialize and share their trips better than ever before.
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