Whitney and Sonora Pass. Sierra Nevada & the John Muir Trail THE HIGH SIERRA, WHICH I HAVE DEFINED AS the region between the southern boundary of Sequoia National Park and the northern boundary of Yosemite National Park, is the best place in the world for the practice of mountains. The John Muir Trail is a long-distance hiking trail in the High Sierra backcountry, named after famed naturalist, author and Sierra Club founder John Muir. At the very least, you should take a gander at these 8 incredible hikes, some of which give the JMT a run for its money. Location                         Lake Tahoe, CA, Trailheads                      Several, Tahoe City most common, Length                            165 Miles, Duration                         10-15 days (average), Difficulty                        Moderate, Elevation                        6,224 to 10,338 feet, Foot Traffic                       Moderate. The High Sierra Trail leads from Crescent Meadow up the canyon of the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, crossing the Great Western Divide by the 10,700' (3261 meters) pass known as Kaweah Gap. 'Just a place where the divine has manifested on earth.' Layover days at Bear Creek, Evolution Valley and LeConte Canyon provide acess to some of the finest Golden Trout fishing in the High Sierra. Plus, about half of this trail actually overlaps the John Muir Trail, arguably making it a section hike. Don't miss these tips for lady backpackers from a Colorado Trail thru-hiker. I looked the Oregon Coast Trail as well, but I'm more interested in the mountains. This trip is designed for those who enjoy a lot of riding. YOSEMITE PCT TRAIL RIDE John Muir Wilderness 10 Days So far I've narrowed it down the the Colorado Trail in Colorado (surprise), the Long Trail in Vermont, and the John Muir Trail in California. The famous John Muir Trail takes a line down through the heart of the beautiful High Sierra Nevada taking in the some of best sights the mountains of California has to offer. It descends into Big Arroyo, then climbs up to the Chagoopa Plateau, and drops down again into the Kern River Canyon. History of the John Muir Trail Theodore Solomons had dreamed of a High Sierra Hiking Trail dating back to 1884. Both are stunning hikes which are similar in length and travel in a North/South direction through the Sierra. Location:                         Lake Tahoe to Yosemite, CA, Trailheads:                      Meeks Bay to Tuolumne Meadows, Length:                            185 Miles, Duration:                         12-16 days (average), Difficulty:                        Moderate-Difficult, Elevation:                        6,225 to 11,570 feet. When the Sierra Club was formed in 1892, Solomons began advocating for the trail he had dreamed of. Whitney and ends in Sequoia National Park 60 plus miles to the West. This is a difficult one way trail to Sunrise High Sierra Camp in Yosemite National Park. We will visit the Rae Lakes, Bench Lake, Twin Lakes and many more. How do the JMT and SHR compare? This trail climbs alongside Vernal Fall. Our resident trip planning expert shares where to camp, how to plan, and other tips for the John Muir Trail. The loop itself can be hiked either clockwise or counter-clockwise, with clockwise being the most common. If you thought the JMT had big mountains, just wait. Score some of the John Muir Trail's most classic views on this 31-mile section hike in Yosemite National Park that starts less than two hours from Bishop. Logistics can be a bit of an issue as the trail traverses from west to east, requiring a shuttle or two cars, but is short enough to backtrack should you want to extend the hike simplifying transport. The logistics of entering on the West in Yosemite and getting out on the East through Whitney Portal are not the easiest to work out. Those who are unfamiliar with the Sierra Nevada often are under the impression that they are lurking behind every tree and boulder, and that a substantial part of their diet is backpackers. The John Muir Trail (JMT) Location: Central California Length: 215 Miles (346 km) Ave. Time to Thruhike: 3-4 weeks High Point: Mount Whitney – 14,496 ft (4418 m) Low Point: Happy Isles, Yosemite Valley – 4000 ft (1200 m). A lifetime of weekend trips is like trying to live on appetizers. No resupply or shuttling are needed for this loop, and it can easily be completed in less than a week. This can be traveled earlier in the season than the John Muir Trail, but not by more than a month or so. It traverses Desolation Wilderness on the western flank, arguably one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the entire Sierra, and completes its loop over Echo Pass and Relay Peak. Some sections of trail are infrequently traveled and it’s likely you will go several days without seeing another person. Even if you only get to hike one trail other than the John Muir Trail in your life, make it this one. It is a much-less traveled route and is for the die-hard explorer, much like the Theodore Solomon Trail. Hiking earlier in the season often requires carrying an ice axe and fording streams bloated by snowmelt. See below for a John Muir Trail map featuring some classic routes along the trail. Get this on your life list: It's the #1 trail our readers think every hiker should do. Check out this guide for more information. It may take a month, but it's a trivial sacrifice to make for the most unrelenting wilderness eye-candy you'll ever feast on. The High Sierra Trail is the little brother to the John Muir Trail. If you had your heart set on hiking the John Muir Trail but it’s not going to happen, or you already hiked it and want to explore somewhere new, then then Big SEKI Loop is for you. Download these BACKPACKER destination photos–Switzerland, Grand Canyon, & John Muir Wilderness–and get lost. This trail goes by G Sites, F Sites, E Sites, D Sites, Yosemite Toulumne Meadows Visitor Center, and Cathedral Pass. Much of the terrain here is volcanic with dark red and brown mountains. The Sierra High Route runs parallel to most of the John Muir Trail, but isn’t actually a trail. Hike cross-country to a pocket of dreamy lakeside camps on the John Muir Trail. *Some links here are part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which helps fund this site. The snowpack was at similar levels in June 2017, when Sam Chaneles and his father thru-hiked the John Muir Trail. The trail is 211 miles long and runs (mostly in conjunction with the PCT) from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, in California. The Tahoe Rim Trail circles Lake Tahoe and provides incredible views while weaving in and out of the impressive granite alpine peaks of the Northern Sierra. Every hiker's life list should include the 270 miles between Mt. Hike cross-country through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to a pocket of dreamy lakeside camps on the John Muir Trail. Location                         Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park, Trailheads                      Road’s End or Onion Valley, Length                            131-155 Miles, Duration                         9-13 days (average), Difficulty                        Difficult, Season                           July through September (average), conditions permitting, Elevation                        5,050 to 13,180 feet, Recommended Maps       Sequoia & Kings Canyon. For many backpackers the rewards of hiking the John Muir Trail draw them back season after season. The High Sierra Trail (HST) is a hiking trail in Sequoia National Park, California.The trail crosses the Sierra Nevada from west to east. The John Muir Trail is an epic 211 mile trail in the Sierra Nevada mountains that extends from Yosemite to Mt. Step for scenery-packed step, nothing else compares to the John Muir Trail. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Your life will be forever changed. The PCT Route is essentially a section hike of the Pacific Crest Trail from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite and stays high in elevation, straddling the main Sierra Crest and frequently landing on both the eastern western sides. The John Muir Trail (JMT) is a long-distance trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, passing through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. La mayoría de los amantes del senderismo no son atletas profesionales, sino gente de a pie que ha hecho de esta actividad un hobby. It starts at Crescent Meadow on the western Sierra, and ends on top of Mt Whitney after meeting up with the John Muir Trail. Logistics are simpler as well, with no shuttling necessary, and the shorter version of the loop capable of being hiked in as little as 9 days. Several intersecting trails are taken and most junctions are clearly marked, but carrying a good map and knowing how to use it is vital. This is where all the fun starts or ends, depending on which part of the John Muir Trail you begin at. Si puedes realizar el John Muir du… Map from High Sierra Kiwi. During our 2012 trip in Sequoia/Kings Canyon, we hiked a section of the High Sierra Trail, which joins to John Muir Trail just Northwest of Mt. Length                            78 Miles, Duration                         5-7 days (average), Difficulty                        Moderate-Difficult, Elevation                        6,500 to 13,100 feet, Foot Traffic                       Light-Moderate. The views of this waterfall are unbeatable from here, and if the flow rate for Vernal Fall is high, there is a very good chance you will get wet (hence the name). Two novice backpackers find out. It is not as technical as the Sierra High Route, but it does involve travelling down and connecting infrequently traveled trails that are subject to dense brush, undergrowth, and more wildlife including many rattlesnakes. You can read more about it here (coming soon). It is one of the most renowned and widely recognized as one of the greatest trails in the world. Climb through a rejuvenating burn zone and a cinder cone-strewn hillside at the front end of this 32-mile stretch on the JMT. This loop traverses nothing but the best the High Sierra has to offer—even the starting trailheads are well-deserved camping destinations in their own right. Here are 11 cheap accessories thru-hikers swear by. The Theodore Solomon Trail is a long, infrequently traveled point to point route that parallels the John Muir Trail but on the western flank of the Sierra. Mist Trail vs. John Muir Trail. In 1928, Sequoia National Park was expanded from the western section famous for the giant Sequoia Grove all the way to the Eastern Sierra and Mt. Check out this guide to learn more. Length                            195 Miles, Duration                         15-25 days (skill dependent), Difficulty                        Very Difficult, technical, Elevation                        5,050 to 12,130 feet, Recommended Maps       Sierra High Route, several needed. According to the Yosemite Decimal System, the HST is a Class 1/Class 2 trail, which means simple scrambling, with the possibility of occasional use of the hands for balance. The High Sierra Trail is a must-see for any serious backpacker. For 211 miles, the trail follows the Sierra Nevada mountain range from its southern terminus at Mount Whitney to its northern terminus at Happy Isles trailhead in Yosemite Valley. After running up the bottom of the Kern Canyon, it turns east, climbing parallel to Wallace Creek up to the junction with the John Muir Trail, 49 miles (79 km) from the starting point. Description The SHR is a 195-mile trekking route that runs north-south through the heart of the High Sierra, the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada Range. The Winnette Route overlaps 90 miles of the PCT Route, but otherwise stays further west and lower in elevation. Trailheads                      Crescent Meadow to Whitney Portal, Length                            75 Miles, Elevation                        6,500 to 14,505 feet, Foot Traffic                       Moderate-Heavy. The John Muir Trail is the premier hiking trail in the United States.The trail starts in America's treasure, Yosemite National Park, and continues 215 miles through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, King's Canyon National Park, and ends at the highest peak in continental United States, Mount Whitney at 14,496 ft. It’s a route, covering over 100 miles completely off-trail. This spectacular backpacking trip is one of world's most famous long-distance hikes and … It technically is not a loop, but just barely, and you could easily hike from one trailhead to the other in half a day (or hitch a ride, which is easy enough to do there). Unique and extremely detailed poster of the High Sierra and John Muir Trail. The route itself is almost entirely on trail, but the exact route is debated, hence why I’m calling it a route and not necessarily a trail. The Southern Sierra High Route (SoSHR) is a superb alternative to the JMT for the adventurous traveler. I became intimately familiar with Thunderstorms. La filosofía de un buen montañero debe consistir en disfrutar de cada kilometro, de cada comida, y sobre todo, de cada vista. Need instant inspiration? Didn’t get a permit, or maybe you just want to try something different? Once a well-kept secret of the rangers at Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, the Circle of Solitude is a short but heavy-hitting loop of high alpine scenery, meadows, crystal clear lakes, and roaring rivers. As with other long-distance hiking trails, the John Muir Trail is popular with thru-hikers, who attempt to complete the entire trail in one trip. Whitney — the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. The Big SEKI Loop can be accessed from either side of the Sierra and is among the biggest loops in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The North Lake-South Lake Loop is a High Sierra Classic that is easily accessed from the eastern side with either 1 or 2 cars. Trail Summary. Whenever I am talking to a small group, or even a single hiker, about a potential John Muir Trail hike, I know some of the same questions are going to come up. All products listed here are my top recommendations regardless of where you get them. My goal is to provide the inspiration and information you need to go outside and explore. A first hand hike of the John Muir Trail. From the northern terminus at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley) and the southern terminus located on the summit of Mount Whitney), the Trail's length is 213.7 miles (343.9 km), with an elevation change of approximately 47,000 feet See below for a John Muir Trail map featuring some classic routes along the trail. This is arguably the holy grail of backpacking, and it’s mind-blowing to experience just how massive and wide-open the High Sierra really is. Whitney and exit at Whitney Portal without needing to apply for a Whitney permit. Nearly as famous as the John Muir Trail but not nearly as long, the High Sierra Trail passes through some of the most intense mountain scenery of the entire Sierra Nevada. Este sendero se puede hacer entre 21-30 días, disfrutando de cada uno de sus encantos y paradas. Muir. Tag Mount Whitney, the Lower 48's highest peak, during this 42-mile trek into Sequoia National Park where there's more acreage of wilderness than you'll know what to do with. The Mist Trail is the more popular of the two trails, for good reason. John Muir Trail Vs Sierra High Route: When people think of long distance hikes in the High Sierra, the John Muir Trail is the first name that usually comes to mind. If you want a big loop with incredible scenery but isn’t quite as intense or committing as the John Muir Trail, then the Tahoe Rim Trail is for you. The John Muir Trail (JMT) is one of the world's most spectacular treks and is North America's best known mid-distance walking trail. I backpacked the High Sierra Trail and the John Muir Trail from August 3rd to August 21st. The JMT offers spectacular sceneries of canyons, cliffs, forests, lakes, rivers, peaks and passes of over 14,000ft. As the name would suggest, sections of this loop are infrequently traveled and will give you time to reflect in solitude. Construction on the trail began in 1915 – a year after Muir’s death – and took 46 years to complete. Take this quick quiz to find out which trek is really right for you. Williamson Motel in Independence, CA. If this trail wasn’t already on your bucket list, we guarantee it will be now. The Sierra Nevada is the largest contiguous mountain range in the United States, and the backpacking opportunities here are truly endless. © 2020 Pocket Outdoor Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. The trail crosses several roads and intersects over 10 trailheads, making it highly accessible while providing several opportunities to resupply or bail if an injury happens. I once hiked through the High Sierra in mid-May, and in the morning the snow was sometimes so firm that you could literally run atop it, as if it was pavement. Compared to the John Muir Trail (JMT), the SoSHR is higher and more remote. You will find unmatched solitude on this section of trail as it winds through the beautiful granite scenery that the Sierra is known for. But I need help narrowing it down from 3 trails to 1, … You could spend a lifetime exploring the Sierra and still never see all of it. The trail is usually hiked in July, August or September after most of the snowpack has melted. Dreaming of a truly long hike someday? 1 talking about this. It’s like the best of the JMT in under a week. Even if you only get to hike one trail other than the John Muir Trail in your life, make it this one. There is never a dull moment on the High Sierra Trail and the terrain changes constantly. The trail leads from one spectacular region of the Sierra Nevada to another, passing through scenic alpine meadows, traversing high granite passes, and descending along tumbling mountain streams. It passes through two National Parks—Sequoia-Kings Canyon and Yosemite—and two wilderness areas—John Muir and Ansel Adams. The John Muir Trail is a long-distance hiking trail in the High Sierra backcountry, named after famed naturalist, author and Sierra Club founder John Muir. At 55 miles, it’s feasible for most people to complete the trail in under a week without needing a resupply. Location:                         Yosemite to Golden Trout Wilderness, CA, Trailheads:                      Glacier Point to Cottonwood Pass, Length:                            270 Miles, Duration:                         18-23 days (average), Difficulty:                        Difficult, hard to follow at times, Season:                           July through September (average), conditions permitting, Elevation:                        4,200 to 12,126 feet, Total Passes:                    Variable, Foot Traffic:                       Very Light, Recommended Maps:       Several Needed, electronic version. It’s like the best of the JMT in under a week. Many feel this is the most complete representation of all zones of the High Sierra. Don't limit yourself to the famous options like the Appalachian Trail. The John Muir Trail's starting point at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. Get real sustenance with a two-week trek through the best of the Sierras on California's John Muir Trail. Location                         John Muir Wilderness, CA, Trailheads                      North Lake to South Lake, Length                            55 Miles, Duration                         5-6 days (average), Elevation                        8,104 to 12,130 feet, Recommended Maps       Bishop Pass Trail Map. In this 86-mile section, hike through Kings Canyon National Park into a series of JMT favorites. It avoids the JMT crowds, the landscape is more spectacular, and the travel more challenging. Hi! Five more must-do hikes from our top field correspondent, who's notched more than 1,800 trail miles throughout the West and mapped 116 trips. Along its lower edge there is an elevation and mileage profile of the trail. The John Muir Trail is an increasingly popular trail and perhaps some of the most beautiful 200 miles in the world. The PCT Route is a wonderful hike for those who don’t have route-finding skills but still want to experience solitude and adventure through a lesser-traveled section of the Northern Sierra. The John Muir Trail is nearly 215 miles of hiking trails through mostly wilderness, but if you don’t want to hike all of it, then you can choose from these various sections of the trail: Yosemite National Park. Whitney, the highest point of the contiguous US. The Sierra High Route is for advanced backpackers only with extensive off-trail experience, but is absolutely worth checking out if you have the skills. The John Muir Trail (JMT) is a 211-mile trail through California’s High Sierra Mountains from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Thinking about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or other long-haul route? John Muir, the first president of the Sierra Club liked the idea of a long distance hiking trail through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Facilities, parking, camping, lodging, stores, and cafe. We cross five scenic High Sierra passes, all about 12,000 feet high. It’s the most comparable alternative to the John Muir Trail due to its similar length and impressive scenery, which rivals much of the JMT. Hike to the best views in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The High Sierra Trail is a must-see for any serious backpacker. Check out. If you want something shorter and simpler than the John Muir Trail but just as pretty, then hike the Circle of Solitude this summer. Most thru-hikers on the John Muir Trail attempt the hike from north to south, because the southern half of the trail is more remote and at higher elevation. Considerando esto, ¿por qué apresurarse? Permits should be reserved ahead of time, but are not nearly as difficult to get as JMT permits. This 72 mile trail is stunning, and is an excellent alternative to those who can't get 3 weeks off to do the JMT. You won’t be disappointed. It sounds silly, but you can lighten your pack a lot by trading out heavy gear for garbage. This poster clearly identifies peaks, passes, lakes, and canyons. But … The bears are often the first concern. It is a rugged alternate to the John Muir Trail (JMT), boasting about… Lesser known than the famous John Muir Trail, the High Sierra Trail (HST) is in many ways just as historically significant as it’s longer and more famous brother. Whitney. The JMT is named after naturalist John Muir, founding member and original president of the Sierra Club. The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail technically has two routes, the less-traveled Winnette Route, and the PCT Route. On this burly, 200-plus-mile traverse, which crosses 33 passes and barely touches established trails, you can find Alaska-size scenery, complete solitude, and just enough risk to keep things interesting. The trail coincides with the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail for about 160 miles, and rarely dips below 8,000 feet elevation. It doesn’t go over as many passes, but the terrain it does go through is absolutely stunning—and it lets you summit Mt. The Sierra High Route runs parallel to most of the John Muir Trail, but isn’t actually a trail. Its scenery is impressive, the terrain steep and variable, and the logistics simple. I’m Gary. This is my Adventure Portal. The John Muir Trail passes through Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park, as well as numerous national forests and designated wilderness areas. It was quite the experience as the weather did not fully cooperate. picked us up from the Onion Valley road end parking lot at 12:30… The Winnette Route is a fantastic alternative to the Theodore Salomon Trail for those who are feeling brave but not that brave. We will camp in the Dusy Basin and have an option to visit 60 Lakes Basin. It is a route for the true explorer who wants to get off the beaten path and possibly even get lost a few times along the way. Long distance hiking is awesome, but becoming a thru-hiker can have some…side effects. Section hikes are also highly feasible, as are rest days at many of the nearby resorts. The John Muir Trail is also a land blessed with the mildest, sunniest climate of any major mountain range in the world. And other tips for the adventurous traveler the largest contiguous mountain range in the Ansel wilderness. 12,000 feet High and Ansel Adams wilderness feet, Foot Traffic Light-Moderate through... But … this is where all the fun starts or ends, depending on which of... Many more can trial by error work on a 211-mile Trail through the Sierra no resupply shuttling! Poster of the greatest trails in the mountains spectacular, and other for. August 21st mile Trail in the Dusy high sierra trail vs john muir trail and have an option visit. The nearby resorts eastern side with either 1 or 2 cars than a or! 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