trip
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7
Challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 22 day full pack hike
Accommodation
  • 22 nights camping
Meals
  • 22 Dinners
  • 22 Lunches
  • 22 Breakfasts

23 Days$4430USD

Hit the trails with confidence

Flexible Cancellations
Stress free booking, learn more about our flexible terms

COVID-19 safety measures
Read our Covid-19 travel policy and what we're doing to keep you safe

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: JMT

Trip highlights


  • Summit Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States at 4418m
  • Traverse the spectacular Sierra Mountain Range
  • Cross numerous 3000m+ high mountain passes
  • Challenge yourself with a full pack on a classic long-distance trail
  • Walk among alpine peaks, glacier-gouged canyons, and crystal-clear lakes
  • Immerse yourself in pine forests and lush meadows

The John Muir Trail is one of the finest hikes in North America. The route starts at Cottonwood Lakes, makes its way up to the high point of the lower forty-eight states, Mount Whitney (4418m), and continues some two hundred miles to Tuolumne in Yosemite National Park. 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 10-24 km per day and we can expect the unexpected, so solid multi-day backpacking experience is essential. Along the way the trail climbs over 4000m passes, wanders beneath high alpine peaks and traverses beautiful meadows and forested river valleys. Over the course of the trip, we will have gained over 12,000m in ascents (averaging about 600m per day). The spectacular scenery is combined with the generally clement weather of California and warm (sometimes very hot) summer temperatures. This is truly a trip of a lifetime to be remembered for years to come. We realize that not everyone has 23 days to spare and so we also have options to complete the trail in segments over consecutive summers, please ask us for details.

*NOTE: Due to the recent popularity of the trail, permit restrictions have increased. In order to successfully secure permits and offer an exceptional experience, we are operating the trip in a northbound direction. To properly acclimatize, the trip is 1-2 days longer than it would be if operating southbound.


Today is a day to go over our gear and prepare for the adventure ahead. We meet at our headquarters in Bishop (approx. 11:00am), do a gear check, collect resupply bags, and pick up last minute items before heading south to Horseshoe Meadows. It will a busy morning, clarifying resupply needs, finalizing personal gear, and distributing group gear. You will have 7 days of personal snacks and powdered drinks in your pack when we meet, which you provide. You will purchase your own lunch in Bishop and after lunch we will drive approx. 2 hours to the Cottonwood Campground. We'll camp at the Cottonwood Campground which is already at approximately 3000m (10,000 feet) in elevation - Giving us a chance to further acclimate before beginning our adventure. *Complimentary transfer from hotels in Mammoth and Bishop, upon request.

Meals:  D

To further assist in acclimation, we start off slowly and ease into the hiking with a short first day of about 8km and 400m altitude gain taking us to camp at Chicken Springs Lake. From there, we lose some elevation, spending the next 2 nights between 2900m-3200m as we approach Mt. Whitney. Daily distances are approx: 8, 16, and 13 km

Meals:  B,L,D

We plan to make our base at Crabtree Meadows or Guitar Lake for 2 nights in order to reduce pack weight and focus on the big day ahead - The summit of the highest point of our journey, the stunning Mount Whitney (4418m). The hike is approximately 23km, round trip, with an elevation gain of approximately 1200m. We will be happy we only have to carry enough items for the day - And for the final summit push, we can even leave these at Trailcrest to be picked up on our way back down. Those who are not feeling up to the big day can easily stay in camp, soak up the scenery and relax.

Meals:  B,L,D

This is a spectacular segment as it traverses high glacial bowls far above the main river drainage system and includes two of the highest passes on the trail - Forester Pass at 4025m and Glen Pass at 3650m, before descending to beautiful Rae Lakes where we pick up our food re-supply. Daily distances of approx. 12 - 21km

Meals:  B,L,D

From Rae, we head down to Woods Creek and climb up over Pinchot Pass (3690m) before dropping into the expanse of Upper Basin at the head of the South Fork of the Kings River. The crossing of Mather Pass (3670m) gives us a view of our route to the north before we descend the 'Golden Staircase' that takes us far down into Palisade Creek and the deeply incised Le Conte Canyon. Our next resupply comes in via mule and we pick that up at Big Pete Meadow. Daily distances of approx. 13-19km

Meals:  B,L,D

For many people, this is the most beautiful section of the JMT. We stay high through the Evolution Valley, pass by the stone shelter at Muir Pass (3645m), commence a large swing out to the western Sierra, and gradually lose elevation until we reach our lowest point of about 2390 meters at Muir Trail Ranch. Our resupply has been sent by post and awaits our arrival. Daily distances of approx. 13, 24, and 24km.

Meals:  B,L,D

Here, we cross the Silver Divide with its small lakes and jagged peaks. Lots of smaller ups and downs characterize this section and the really big passes are now behind us. The terrain and vegetation changes as we near Mammoth Mountain and we hit our first 'civilization' and road at Red's Meadow. We pick up our resupply here and then we are set to tackle the final section. Daily distances of approx. 14-23km

Meals:  B,L,D

The days are now a lot easier with less elevation change and the miles will pass by easily. We traverse the Thousand Island Lake area that is well known for its serenity and wonderful rock colours. Daily distances of approx. 16km

Meals:  B,L,D

We top out on our last pass, Donohue Pass, and descend into the broad glacial carved Lyell Canyon. It is now all downhill to our pickup in Tuolumne, followed by our shuttle to Bishop or Mammoth Lakes, where our great adventure comes to an end but a lifetime of stories lies ahead.

Meals:  B,L


Inclusions

  • 22 breakfasts, 22 lunches and 22 dinners
  • Professional certified mountain guide(s) with wilderness first aid certification. Max 5 hikers to 1 guide.
  • Transfer from Mammoth Lakes to Bishop on day 1 of the trip & transfer back to Bishop or Mammoth Lakes on the last day of the trek (upon request)
  • 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

  • Flights and Airport taxes
  • Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and backpack
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, postage, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Pre or post trip accommodation, or additional accommodation due to weather delays
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)
  • Visas
  • Guide gratuities
  • Medical treatment and evacuation charges

Departure dates


Notes

Note:
This trip is based on twin or multi-share accommodation, such as mountain huts or cabins. A single supplement is not available due to lodging/campsite restrictions. On backpacking trips, sharing tents also allow us to keep the shared weight to a minimum.

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Total Priceper person from

$4430USD

Options & Supplements*
    *Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed John Muir Trail trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

Thoughtful Travel

Responsible travel is at the heart of every program we offer as a fundamental and long held philosophy. When you book one of our 100% carbon offset adventures you’re supporting true sustainability in the protection of local communities, natural environments and wildlife.

Ultimate Value

 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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