Backpacking

John Muir Trail

$6595

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Matteo Fiori
Matteo Fiori

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(800) 231-4575
Explore world-class scenery of the High Sierra
Traverse 3 national parks & summit Mt. Whitney
Experience stunning alpine landscapes

The John Muir Trail is one of the most classic backpacking trails in the world. Our 23-day backpack is a wilderness experience like none other, navigating the rugged spine of California’s High Sierra. Join us as we climb 8 high-mountain passes, traverse 3 national parks and attempt the summit of Mt Whitney (14,500’), the highest point in the contiguous US. Expert guides, seamless logistics and world-class scenery make the John Muir Trail the “trip of a lifetime”.

2023

July 8 - 30, 2023
3 spots available
Book now
August 5 - 27, 2023Book now

Pricing

2023: $6595 per person
Price based on shared hotel occupancy
Single Room Supplement:
Requested $160, Forced $80

More trips on the John Muir Trail

Trip Itinerary

John Muir Trail - Day 1 - Meet your guides in June Lake John Muir Trail - Day 1 - Meet your guides in June Lake

Meet at the Silver Lake Campground in June Lake at 5:00pm. We’ll have a brief orientation with the group, followed by a welcome dinner prepared by your guides and a final gear check before we start hiking tomorrow. If you would like a ride to June Lake, we provide a private shuttle pick up in Fresno, CA that will drop you off at the campground. Details will be sent to you upon registration.

John Muir Trail - Day 2-4 - Hike beneath Ritter Range to Reds Meadow John Muir Trail - Day 2-4 - Hike beneath Ritter Range to Reds Meadow

Today we hit the trail! We walk right out of our campground and up the Eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada, quickly entering the Ansel Adams Wilderness. After a hearty lunch at Agnew Lake, we will tackle a steep set of switchbacks leading us to our first night’s camp in the backcountry at Clark Lakes. The trail then passes beneath Mt. Ritter, Mt. Banner, and Devil’s Postpile on our way to Reds Meadow where cold beverages and a resupply drop await us. (22 miles)

See notes below about permitting and trailhead starts

John Muir Trail - Day 5-7 - Climb Silver Pass to Vermillion Valley Resort at Edison Lake John Muir Trail - Day 5-7 - Climb Silver Pass to Vermillion Valley Resort at Edison Lake

In this section we will pass by the volcanic Red Cones, lovely Virginia lake and down into Tully Hole. After climbing over Silver Pass (10,900′), we will reach Edison Lake and the Vermillion Valley Resort, where we will spend the night, enjoy hot showers, and pick up our second resupply. (30.7 miles)

John Muir Trail - Day 8-12 - Explore Evolution Canyon and descend to LeConte Canyon John Muir Trail - Day 8-12 - Explore Evolution Canyon and descend to LeConte Canyon

Leaving Edison Lake, we make the steep climb over Bear Ridge, pass by the wildflower-strewn RoseMarie Meadow, and then to the top of Pass (10,900′). From there, we descend to the roaring South Fork of the San Joaquin River. A bridge over Piute Creek and a few switchbacks lead us to McClure Meadow and Evolution Lake, one of the most spectacular sections of the trail. We then climb over Muir Pass (11,955′) and descend deep into LeConte Canyon for another resupply drop. (48 miles)

John Muir Trail - Day 13-17 - Conquer Mather, Pinchot, & Glen Pass, reach Vidette Meadow John Muir Trail - Day 13-17 - Conquer Mather, Pinchot, & Glen Pass, reach Vidette Meadow

Our next milestone is ascending the Golden Staircase to our high camp at Palisade Lake. We then trek over Mather Pass (12,100′) before dropping once again, this time to the South Fork of the Kings River. From there we climb over Pinchot Pass (12,130′) and drop down to Woods Creek, which we’ll cross via a grand suspension bridge. We pass by Rae Lakes, Fin Dome, and The Painted Lady before climbing over Glen Pass (11,978′). We will have our final resupply drop at Vidette Meadow below Forester Pass. (49 miles)

John Muir Trail - Day 18-21 - Forester Pass to Mt. Whitney Summit John Muir Trail - Day 18-21 - Forester Pass to Mt. Whitney Summit

Our final section of trail is just as spectacular as the rest. We begin by crossing the superlative Forester Pass (13,200), the highest pass on the trail and the entrance to Sequoia National Park. From there we’ll make our way directly to Mt Whitney, which steadily grows taller as we approach it. The culmination of our trip is an attempt at Mt. Whitney (14,495′) the highest peak in the Continental U.S. After the peak, we’ll make our way to our comfortable camp at Crabtree Meadow. After connecting with the Pacific Crest Trail we’ll reach our camp along Rock Creek in the shadow of the Major General. (43.5 miles)

Today we’ll rise early for our final stretch of trail among the picturesque Foxtail Pines. We’ll exit the high country via Cottonwood Pass in the Golden Trout Wilderness. Our private shuttle will meet us at the trailhead to bring us into the desert town of Lone Pine. A well-earned hot shower will be followed by a farewell dinner together. (9.8 miles)

On our final day we will take our private shuttle back to the Fresno airport. (approx. a 5 hour drive). Don’t plan a flight before 3:00 PM.

What's Included

Accommodations

  • 1st night’s stay at Tuolumne Meadows Campground
  • 20 nights of wilderness tent camping (permits included)
  • Last night’s lodging at Best Western Frontier Hotel Lone Pine
Gear

  • All group gear including stoves, cookware, water filters, group first aid kit, etc. Each person carries a small portion of this gear.
  • Personal backpacking gear provided by request: backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, trekking poles, and tents
Transportation

  • Day 1 private shuttle from Fresno to Tuolumne Meadows Campground
  • Day 7 Ferry across Edison Lake
  • Day 22-23 private shuttle from remote trailhead to hotel and back to Fresno
Food

  • Starting with dinner on Day 1 and ending with breakfast on Day 23 (excluding front country meals, see “Not Included” below)
  • Backcountry gourmet meals including trail snacks. Each person carries a full bear can of food shared among the group.
  • Hot tea or coffee served each morning
  • 4 remote food resupplies

A Few More Notes

Travel & Logistics

Your trip begins at Tuolumne Meadows Campground in Yosemite National Park. There are a couple of options to get there:

Option 1: We provide a private shuttle from Fresno to Tuolumne Meadows on Day 1, which can pick you up at the Fresno Yosemite Int’l Airport or nearby hotels. If you plan to use our shuttle, consider staying in Fresno the evening before your trip at our preferred hotel

Option 2:  Coordinate your own transportation to Tuolumne Meadows on the first day. Just keep in mind that we will not be returning there at the end of the trip, so plan accordingly.

Any additional luggage you have will be stored at our secure facility and returned to you for your final night in Lone Pine. We’ll provide your transportation back to Fresno on the last day of the trip, we recommend booking flights no earlier than 3pm on this day.

Permits

Due to increasingly competitve permitting for the JMT, actual permit location starts can vary and you will be notified before the trip of any changes. One common alternate joins with the JMT just south of Donahue Pass. This does not add any additional costs to the trip, and the logistics on Day 1 stay the same (meeting in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite). The timing of the trip stays the same as well and doesn’t affect the overall nature of the 23-day expedition.

Training & Preparation

The JMT is our most difficult trip, traveling long distances over high mountain passes with uneven terrain for 21 trail days carrying a fully weighted pack (30-35 lbs). Not only do we want you to complete the trail with us, but we want you to have fun doing it! On the JMT, it’s not a question of whether you can climb a high mountain pass, but if you can get up the next morning and climb another… and then another… which is why training for this trip is so important. In addition, long sustained periods in a remote wilderness setting requires a unique mental toughness.

We recommend a rigorous training plan in the months 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 and overnight trips (5-7 days) with a weighted pack (30-35lbs) to train for both the physical and mental aspects of backpacking
  • Cycling, running, step-master or stairs are great cross-training
  • Include hilly terrain and steep climbs whenever possible

Looking for more tips? Check out our blog here!

Prior Experience

We strongly encourage having recent backpacking experience before embarking on the John Muir Trail with us. The most successful people have completed several backcountry trips carrying a fully weighted pack (35-40lbs) for at least 5 days. If you do not have this experience, we recommend joining us on a “shake-out” trip prior to your JMT trip.

Resupplies

To help keep pack weight down as much as possible, we schedule four food resupplies throughout the trip. The first two resupplies on Day 4 (Reds Meadow) and Day 7 (Vermillion Valley Resort) are front country resupplies where there are bathrooms, showers, food, payphones, etc available. The final two resupplies on Day 13 (LeConte Canyon) and Day 17 (Vidette Meadow) are remote resupplies brought in by pack mules. You are welcome to pack certain items for yourself to be included in the resupplies. More details about the resupplies and what to pack will be sent to you upon registration.

What's not included
  • Personal clothing & footwear
  • Meals at Vermillion Valley Resort and last night’s celebratory dinner in Lone Pine
  • Recommended 10%-20% gratuity for guides
  • Trip Insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Airfare
  • Evacuations

Trip Reviews

Linda B, 2021

I cannot express in words what an amazing experience I had on the JMT this past summer. Our guides Connor and Riley were THE BEST! Not only were they extremely knowledgeable about the region, flora and fauna, but they were also highly personable, caring, supportive and fantastic cooks to boot! The food, the scenery and the company were second to none. It was without a doubt the most challenging thing I have ever done and I admit, there were days when I wondered if I could do it. Connor and Riley were so patient and encouraging. They helped me find my "pace" and made the experience so memorable. I especially loved our morning "Muirsian moments" and being serenaded on the trail by Riley and his guitar! Our group really clicked together and became a trail family. Whitney was "breathtaking" (literally!) and beautiful! Another check off the bucket list! Thank you SYMG!

Brian G, 2020

What an incredible experience and a trip of a lifetime. I was a member of SYMG August 2020 John Muir Trail trip. The two Guides, Casey and Bri, were very professional experienced backpackers, excellent cooks and very knowledgeable in many respects of the Sierra Nevada. The trip would not have been so awesome without the support staff which included Tom and Haley. Tom was the individual responsible for our resupplies and occasional cooking. Haley was the incredible behind the scenes administrative technician who handled the trip logistics. Overall, it was an unbelievably fulfilling adventure through one of the most beautiful locations known to mankind. I highly recommend SYMG for your outdoor adventures.

Kevin S, 2019

Amazing trip! Amazing experience! Amazing views! Amazing guides! Amazing food! Simply amazing!
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Southern Yosemite
Mountain Guides
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