John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail information and booking

  • Duration
    21 days
  • Group size
  • Difficulty
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Schedule Details

  • 21 day trip
  • 20 day hike
  • 20 nights camping
Equipment Required
Specialist gear required include walking boots and backpack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).


  • Summit of Mount Whitney (4418m)
  • Spectacular Sierra mountain range traverse
  • High mountain passes, alpine peaks, glacier-gouged canyons, crystal-clear lakes, pine forests, lush meadows

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

The John Muir Trail is one of the finest hikes in North America. The route starts at Tuolumne in Yosemite National Park and continues south some two hundred miles to the high point of the lower forty-eight states, Mount Whitney. We will need to carry everything for the trip, so carrying a full pack of around 20kg is usual. Food stocks are re-supplied at a number of stages making our packs lighter, but packing carefully is essential. We'll hike 10-12 miles per day and we can expect the unexpected, so solid trekking experience and long multi-day trekking is essential. Along the way the trail climbs over 4000m 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. This is truly a trip of a lifetime to be remembered for years to come. We realise that not everyone has 21 days to spare and so we also have options to complete the trail in segments over consecutive summers, please ask us for details.

What's included

  • 21 breakfasts, 20 lunches and 20 dinners
  • Professional certified mountain guide with wilderness first aid certification
  • Trailhead shuttle at both ends of the trip
  • Group equipment such as tents, food canisters, and water purification
  • Porter or mule supported supply drops during the trip
  • Contingency and emergency support, phone and radio
  • First aid kit
  • All necessary permits


Day 1 Join Tuolumne Meadows, overnight camp
Make your own way to the campground in Tuolumne Meadows. We prefer to start the trip from here rather than from the lower Yosemite Valley to avoid the summer heat of the Valley and also to comply with National Park guidelines.
Day 2 to 5 Commence John Muir Trail at Tuolumne Meadows; hike to Reds Meadow for re-supply
We start off slowly to ease into the hiking. Packs will be light for this section and although there is plenty of distance the hiking is easy and the days not too long. We start up gentle Lyell Canyon and cross the first pass of the trip, Donohue Pass. From here the route passes below the jagged Minarets and skirts wonderful Thousand Island Lake before dropping to Reds Meadow and the volcanic flows of Devils Postpile National Monument. Day 5: Arrive at Reds Meadow north of Mammoth. This is the opportunity for a shower and a food re-supply. Hiking distance - 33 miles (53 kms).
Day 6 to 13 Hike to Muir Ranch for food re-supply on Day 9; hike to junction with Bishops Pass Trail at Little Pete Meadow for food re-supply on Day 13.
After getting resupplied, a hot shower and dinner at Reds Meadow we head off into the heart of the mountains. The next section takes you into the heart of the mountains and at eight days is the longest unsupported segment. The route stays well to the west of the main Sierra Crest before climbing up onto the Silver Divide and then descending towards Lake Edison in the western foothills. We pick up another resupply at Muir Ranch and climb up into the Evolution Valley and the high surrounding peaks. We cross Muir Pass and drop down into deeply incised Le Conte Canyon and meet our re-supply below Little Pete Meadow brought in by either mule or by porters. Day 9: A short side trip to Muir Ranch to pick up a re-supply. Day 13: Arrive at the junction of the JMT with the Bishop Pass Trail below Little Pete Meadow for a re-supply. Hiking distance: 78 miles (126 kms).
Day 14 to 18 Make crossing of Bishop Pass; hike to Bullfrog Lake for food re-supply.
This segment includes several high passes and stays close to the Sierra Crest passing below the fourteen thousand foot (4200+ m) peaks of the Palisade region, dropping into the wide open alpine valley of Upper Basin. The passes here are high and steep, but the effort is more than compensated by the incredible scenery. Day 18: Arrive at Bullfrog Lake where we pick up our last food re-supply.
Day 19 to 20 Hike to roadhead via Mount Whitney summit (4418m)
The final section of the hike is the highest and the most spectacular of them all as it traverses high glacial bowls far above the main river drainages. Forester Pass, 13120 feet (4000m), is the highest on the route, but by now you will be in such good shape that it will be barely noticeable. Turning east from Crabtree Meadows the route finally climbs towards Mount Whitney. Packs can be left at Trailcrest and the couple of miles detour we make to stand on the 14,494 foot (4418m) summit is for many the culmination of the trip. From here it is all downhill to a celebration meal back in Bishop.
Day 21 Complete hike and transfer to Bishop where trip concludes
Arrive late in the afternoon at Whitney Portal after descending the Mountaineers Route. Our shuttle will meet us here and take us to Bishop and the end of the trip. Total Hiking distance (days 14 to 21) - 83 miles (134 kms).