March 10, 2014 / Comments (2)

John Muir Trail Itinerary

My plans for the JMT are really coming together! I have most of my gear I will be carrying and I have created my itinerary. Before I applied for my permit I planned out a very rough estimate of how many miles I would hike per day based on my research of the trail. After securing my permit, I began really getting into planning out my hike.

Before I share my itinerary I want to note a few things:

My itinerary can and most definitely will change between now and when I finish hiking the trail. Depending on my energy level, “wow factors” on the trail, weather, etc. I may change my mileage per day, camping locations, or total hiking days.

This itinerary is online as a resource for other hikers, but please take into consideration your ability and needs before using it as a resource to create your own itinerary. You may use my itinerary as a jumping off point, but do research as much as you can to ensure a more successful hike.

How I created my itinerary:

I used the following resources to create a full itinerary-


I was struggling with beginning my itinerary because I had no idea how I should begin the hike. I was worried about the altitude because I live in New England, but then I didn’t want to have really long days for the second half of the hike. It took a lot of thought, but I settled on a plan. I am flying out a week beforehand with my fiancé, Keith and I am planning on doing a couple hikes with him which will also help me acclimate. With the amount of resupply options available for the first half, I knew I have to take advantage of them so I could hike light. This allowed for more mileage in the beginning.
I have some lower mileage days for the harder sections or to allow for a late morning start. Like I mentioned before, I most likely will be deviating from my plans at some point.

Camping Locations:

I decided I would camp right before a mountain pass whenever possible. I am a morning person and this way I can get the hard work out of the way in the morning and also avoid being on a pass during a possible afternoon storm. I will be avoiding meadows and sleeping too close to lakes to help with overnight temps and bugs, but there are a couple days where I intentionally put myself near a gorgeous lake to be at camp.

Allison’s 16 Day JMT Itinerary (I will be adding the elevation notes in the next couple weeks)
Link to my spreadsheet

Day Starting Ending Daily Mileage Total Mileage Ascent Descent Total Ascent campsite elevation Notes
1 (7/25/14) Happy Isles Past Sunrise High Sierra camp- mile 15 15 15 9647 feet
2 Sunrise Lake Camp aroundLyel Fork- mile 32.4 17.4 32.4 Toulumne Meadows Resupply
3 Lyel Fork Rosalie Lake- Mile 50.7 18.3 50.7
4 Rosalie Lake Deer Creek 14.3 65 Resupply, shower, lunch at Reds Meadows
5 Deer Creek Camp near Squaw Lake 14.9 79.9
6 Squaw Lake Bear Creek 17.8 97.7 Silver Pass in AM, 2k gain in 2 miles going to bear ridge
7 Bear Creek Camp a mile past MTR 11 108.7 Selden Pass in AM, Muir Trail Ranch Resupply
8 Tentsite past MTR Evolution Lake 11 119.7 Muir Pass in AM
9 Evolution Lake Big Pete Meadow 14.9 134.6
10 Big Pete Meadow Palisade Creek 10.9 145.5 Lots of uphill ending with Golden Staircase
11 Palisade Creek Twin Lakes 16 161.5 Mather Pass in AM, Pinchot Pass in afternoon
12 Twin Lakes Rae Lakes 14 175.5
13 Rae Lakes Tentsite just past fire prohibited sign 10.8 186.3 Slow morning at Rae Lakes. Glen Pass in AM- Bear Box near tentsite
14 Tentsite at mile 186.3 Guitar Lake 15 198.2 Forester Pass
15 Guitar Lake Mt Whitney 10 208.2 Sleep near or on Mt. Whitney to see the sunrise from the summit.
16 Mt Whitney Whitney Portal 12.7 218.5 Grab a burger! 🙂

Last modified: November 28, 2014

2 Responses to :
John Muir Trail Itinerary

  1. Matt D says:

    There’s not really any place on top of Mount Whitney I could recommend to pitch a tent (pretty rocky, ala Northern Presidentials), but there is a nice set of pads about 1.5 miles below the summit on the Guitar Lake Side, just off the JMT. It looked like a popular staging point for folks heading to the summit and out, and only a couple hundred feet in elevation below the trail as it traverses over to the final climb to the summit. Here’s a link to a picture from the JMT en-route to Whitney. You can see the campsite in the bottom-right and the switchbacks of the trail heading up just in front of the tents. Perhaps this helps, perhaps not, but have a great trip either way!

  2. Thanks for the tip Matt! I plan on getting up there for sunrise so I figured I’d make camp along the way between Guitar Lake and the summit.

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