The John Muir Trail is one of the most famous trails in the world and this section through “postcard country” is considered one of the most beautiful of all. We’ll travel past Thousand Island Lake, below the glaciated peaks of Mts Ritter, Banner, and Lyell, and into Yosemite National Park via the 11,000’ Donahue Pass. You’ll just carry your water and camera each day while the mules carry all the gear!
2023: $2495 per person
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Plan to meet your guides and group at 2pm on at the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center for a short meet-and-greet. Please be on time! After we park our cars in the Wilderness Center parking lot and place our scented items in bear lockers, we will quickly hop on our private shuttle to the Agnew Meadows Campground, where we will spend our first night! Your guides will prepare a hearty dinner and campfire.
*If you miss the shuttle you will be responsible for getting yourself to the Agnew Meadows Campground.
After breakfast we’ll move our vehicles from the campground to long-term parking (across the street) and will hand off our gear to the muleskinners. We’ll take our own private shuttle to the trailhead via the improbable Tioga Pass Road. We’ll begin our hike mid-morning from Agnew Meadows into the John Muir Wilderness and our camp at the beautiful Clark Lakes.
7 miles, Elevation: +2142’/ -696′
This morning we’ll quickly connect with the JMT at the aptly named and wildly scenic Thousand Island Lake. We then continue on to the Marie Lakes area through some of the most picturesque sub-alpine Muir Trail country in the shadow of Mt Banner (12,936) and the Kuna Crest (12,000+’).
7 miles, Elevation +1601’/ -1207′
This morning’s objective is Donahue Pass, which marks the entrance to Yosemite. We’ll then travel under the Lyell Glacier, dropping several thousand feet into picturesque Lyell Canyon. We’ll make our final night’s camp alongside the meandering Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River beneath the Kuna Crest.
10 miles, Elevation: +1289/ -2500′
After packing up camp one final time, we’ll out to the granite-dome filled Tuolumne Meadows through Lyell Canyon 8 miles. We’ll meet the mule team to pick up our gear in time for you to grab lunch at the Tuolumne Grill, Tioga Pass Resort, or the Whoa Nelly Deli.
8 miles, Elevation: +322/-633′
- 1st night’s campground at Tuolumne Meadows
- 3 nights of wilderness tent camping (permits included)
- All group gear including stoves, cookware, water filters, group first aid kit, etc.
- Personal backpacking gear provided by request: backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, trekking poles, and tents
- Day 2 private shuttle from meeting location to starting trailhead
- Starting with Dinner on Day 1 and ending with breakfast & trail snacks on Day 5
- Backcountry gourmet meals including trail snacks
- Hot tea or coffee served each morning
A Few More Notes
Travel & Logistics
Your trip begins and ends at Tuolumne Meadows Campground in Yosemite National Park. Plan to arrive at the campground by 5 pm so you can meet your guides and group for your trip orientation. You are responsible for your own transportation to the meeting point; we recommend driving your own vehicle to Tuolumne Meadows on Day 1. You can then leave your car at Lembert Dome parking lot for the duration of the trip. We will return to Tuolumne Meadows on the last day between 12-1 pm.
About the packstock
Mules will be carrying all of our equipment and your personal gear each day. We won’t be hiking with the mules and perhaps not even camping with them depending on the day. You will need to pack your personal belongings (not including tent, sleeping bag & pad) efficiently into one mid-sized compression sack or duffel as outlined in our pre-trip materials, weighing no more than 15 pounds. You are welcome to pack anything extra in your daypack.
Training & Preparation
To ensure the most enjoyable and successful experience out on the trail, we recommend a thorough training plan leading up to your trip, focusing on:
- Endurance, cardio, and aerobic activities
- Core and leg strength (don’t forget those abs and quads)!
- Day hikes (10-12 miles) or short overnight trips to train for both the physical and mental aspects of backcountry travel
- Cycling, running, step-master or stairs are great cross-training
- Include hilly terrain and steep climbs whenever possible
What's not included
- Personal clothing & footwear
- Dinner on the first night in Fresno
- Recommended 10-20% gratuity for guides and 3% for packers
- Trip Insurance
Jennifer N, 2014
Caroline C, 2016
Henry T, 2013