John Muir Trail In Tennessee

Here is everything you need to know about the John Muir Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Tennessee
  • Length: 20.7 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: National Park Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website: Info not available.

The John Muir Trail (JMT) is a renowned long-distance hiking trail that stretches for approximately 211 miles through the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, United States. The trail is named after John Muir, a Scottish-American naturalist and conservationist who played a significant role in the preservation of the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite National Park. The JMT follows a route that Muir himself frequently traveled during his explorations of the region in the late 19th century.

The history of the John Muir Trail can be traced back to the early 20th century when the Sierra Club, an environmental organization founded by John Muir, began advocating for the establishment of a trail that would traverse the Sierra Nevada. In 1915, the Sierra Club successfully lobbied for the creation of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a long-distance trail that extends from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. The JMT was later developed as a scenic alternate route to the PCT, offering hikers a more direct and visually stunning path through the Sierra Nevada.

Construction of the JMT began in the 1920s and was primarily carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. The CCC, a public work relief program, employed thousands of young men to build trails, bridges, and other infrastructure in national parks and forests. The JMT was completed in 1938 and quickly gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts for its breathtaking alpine scenery, pristine lakes, and challenging terrain. Today, the John Muir Trail remains one of the most iconic and sought-after hiking destinations in the United States, attracting thousands of hikers each year who seek to experience the natural beauty and historical significance of this legendary trail.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Happy Isles Trailhead (Yosemite Valley)
2. Tuolumne Meadows Trailhead (Yosemite National Park)
3. Reds Meadow Trailhead (Devils Postpile National Monument)
4. Agnew Meadows Trailhead (Mammoth Lakes)
5. Thousand Island Lake Trailhead (Mammoth Lakes)
6. Silver Lake Trailhead (Mammoth Lakes)
7. Vermilion Valley Resort (Edison Lake)
8. Muir Trail Ranch (Florence Lake)
9. Piute Pass Trailhead (Bishop)
10. Bishop Pass Trailhead (Bishop)
11. Kearsarge Pass Trailhead (Independence)
12. Whitney Portal Trailhead (Mount Whitney)

Transportation Available

1. YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) – Bus service connecting various towns and Yosemite National Park.
2. Eastern Sierra Transit Authority – Public bus service covering the Eastern Sierra region.
3. Mammoth Yosemite Airport – Regional airport serving the Mammoth Lakes area.
4. Lone Pine Airport – Small airport near Lone Pine, California.
5. Bishop Airport – Regional airport serving the Bishop area.
6. Amtrak – Train service with stops in nearby towns like Merced and Fresno.
7. Greyhound – Intercity bus service with stops in various towns along the route.
8. Rental Car Companies – Various rental car companies available in nearby towns for personal transportation.
9. Local Taxi Services – Local taxi companies providing transportation services in the area.
10. Ride-Sharing Apps – Popular ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are available in some nearby towns.


The John Muir Trail is a popular hiking trail that stretches for 211 miles through the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. While it is a wilderness trail, there are some amenities available along the way. Here is a list of amenities you may find at various points along the John Muir Trail:

1. Restrooms: Some trailheads and popular camping areas may have pit toilets or vault toilets available for hikers to use.

2. Parking: Many trailheads have parking areas where hikers can leave their vehicles while they hike the trail. However, availability may vary, and some trailheads may have limited parking space.

3. Camping sites: There are designated camping areas along the trail where hikers can set up their tents. These sites often have flat areas for tents, fire rings, and bear-resistant food storage lockers. However, it’s important to note that camping permits are required, and some areas have limited availability.

4. Picnic areas: While there may not be designated picnic areas along the trail, hikers can find scenic spots to stop and have a meal or take a break. Many of these spots offer beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

5. Water sources: The trail passes by numerous lakes, rivers, and streams, providing hikers with access to water sources. However, it’s essential to treat or filter the water before consuming it to avoid waterborne illnesses.

6. Trail junctions and signage: The trail is well-marked with signs and trail junctions, making navigation easier for hikers. These signs often indicate distances to various landmarks, campsites, and resupply points.

7. Resupply points: Along the trail, there are a few locations where hikers can resupply their food and other essentials. These include popular stops like Muir Trail Ranch, Vermilion Valley Resort, and Tuolumne Meadows.

8. Ranger stations: There are ranger stations located at various points along the trail, such as Yosemite Valley, Devils Postpile, and Lone Pine. These stations provide information, permits, and assistance to hikers.

It’s important to note that the John Muir Trail is primarily a wilderness experience, and hikers should be prepared to carry their own supplies, including food, water, and camping gear.

Nearby Services

1. Tuolumne Meadows Lodge – Rustic lodge offering accommodations near the trailhead of the John Muir Trail.
2. Red’s Meadow Resort – Lodging, restaurant, and general store located near the trail in the Mammoth Lakes area.
3. Vermilion Valley Resort – Remote resort offering lodging, meals, and resupply options along the trail.
4. Muir Trail Ranch – Wilderness ranch providing lodging, meals, and pack station services for hikers.
5. Whitney Portal Store – General store and campground near the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail.
6. Crabtree Meadow Ranger Station – Wilderness ranger station providing information and emergency services along the trail.
7. Lone Pine – Town near the southern terminus of the trail, offering various lodging, food, and emergency services.
8. Mammoth Lakes – Resort town with multiple lodging, food, and emergency service options for hikers.
9. Yosemite Valley – Popular tourist destination with various lodging, dining, and emergency services available.
10. Bishop – Town with multiple lodging, food, and emergency service options located near the trail.

John Muir Trail Difficulty Notes

The John Muir Trail, spanning over 200 miles through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and challenging terrain. With its steep ascents, high elevations, and rugged wilderness, the trail presents a formidable challenge even to experienced hikers. The difficulty level of the John Muir Trail lies not only in its physical demands but also in its logistical complexities, requiring careful planning, endurance, and a strong mental fortitude. From navigating treacherous river crossings to enduring unpredictable weather conditions, hikers must be prepared for the unpredictable nature of the trail. However, those who embark on this epic journey are rewarded with unparalleled vistas, pristine alpine lakes, and a profound sense of accomplishment that comes from conquering one of the most challenging trails in the United States.

Features And Attractions

1. Yosemite Valley: The John Muir Trail starts in Yosemite National Park, offering stunning views of iconic landmarks like Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls.

2. Tuolumne Meadows: This high-elevation meadow is a beautiful spot along the trail, surrounded by granite peaks, alpine lakes, and wildflowers.

3. Donohue Pass: Located at an elevation of 11,056 feet, this pass offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

4. Thousand Island Lake: This picturesque lake is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the surrounding peaks, including Banner Peak and Mount Ritter.

5. Devil’s Postpile National Monument: A unique geological formation, the Devil’s Postpile is a columnar basalt formation that is over 60 feet tall and resembles a giant’s organ pipes.

6. Evolution Valley: This scenic valley is known for its lush meadows, alpine lakes, and towering granite peaks, making it a favorite spot for photographers and nature lovers.

7. Muir Pass: Named after John Muir himself, this pass sits at an elevation of 11,955 feet and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, including Mount Whitney.

8. Evolution Basin: This stunning basin is home to numerous alpine lakes, including Sapphire Lake and Wanda Lake, surrounded by towering granite peaks and vibrant wildflowers.

9. Palisade Lakes: Located in the Palisades region of the Sierra Nevada, these lakes offer stunning views of the rugged peaks and glaciers of the Palisade Crest.

10. Mount Whitney: The highest peak in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney is a popular side trip from the John Muir Trail, offering incredible views from its summit.

11. Kings Canyon National Park: The trail passes through this scenic park, known for its deep canyons, towering granite cliffs, and the roaring Kings River.

12. Rae Lakes: This chain of lakes is nestled in a picturesque basin surrounded by towering peaks, offering stunning reflections and a peaceful atmosphere.

13. Forester Pass: Sitting at an elevation of 13,153 feet, this pass is the highest point along the John Muir Trail and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

14. Golden Staircase: This challenging section of the trail features a steep ascent with switchbacks, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

15. Mount Whitney Portal: The John Muir Trail ends at the Mount Whitney Portal, where hikers can celebrate their accomplishment and enjoy the scenic beauty of the area.

Usage Guidelines

1. Permits: A wilderness permit is required for all overnight trips on the John Muir Trail (JMT). Permits can be obtained through the Inyo National Forest or Yosemite National Park, depending on your starting point.

2. Camping: Camping is allowed only in designated campsites along the trail. Campfires are prohibited above 10,000 feet in elevation.

3. Bear Canisters: The use of bear-resistant food storage containers is mandatory along the JMT. Properly store all food, toiletries, and scented items in bear canisters.

4. Waste Disposal: Practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash. Human waste must be buried at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from water sources.

5. Pets: Dogs are allowed on the JMT but must be kept on a leash at all times. Be aware of specific regulations regarding pets in national parks and wilderness areas.

6. Group Size: Wilderness permits have specific group size limits. Check with the issuing agency for the maximum number of people allowed in your group.

7. Seasonal Restrictions: Some sections of the JMT may have seasonal restrictions due to weather conditions or trail maintenance. Check with the relevant authorities for any closures or restrictions before planning your trip.

8. Water Sources: Treat all water from natural sources before consuming. Carry a water filter or purification system to ensure safe drinking water.

9. Trail Etiquette: Yield to uphill hikers and horses. Stay on designated trails to minimize environmental impact.

10. Leave No Trace: Follow Leave No Trace principles, including packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impact, and respecting wildlife and vegetation.

Note: It is important to consult official sources such as the National Park Service or the Inyo National Forest for the most up-to-date and detailed information regarding rules and guidelines for the John Muir Trail.

Seasonal Information

The John Muir Trail, located in the stunning Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, offers breathtaking views and unparalleled hiking experiences. The best times of the year to visit the trail largely depend on your preferences and the conditions you are seeking. Generally, the summer months from June to September are considered the prime time to hike the John Muir Trail. During this period, the weather is typically warm and dry, making it easier to navigate the trail and enjoy the picturesque landscapes.

However, it’s important to note that the trail’s popularity during the summer months means that it can get quite crowded, especially in the more popular sections. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall. Springtime brings blooming wildflowers and rushing waterfalls, while fall offers vibrant foliage and cooler temperatures. Keep in mind that weather conditions can be more unpredictable during these seasons, so be prepared for potential rain or snow.

When planning your visit, it’s crucial to be aware of seasonal closures and restrictions. The John Muir Trail passes through several national parks, including Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks. These parks may have specific regulations and closures due to weather conditions or wildlife protection. For example, some high-elevation sections of the trail may be inaccessible due to snow until late spring or early summer. It’s advisable to check with the respective park authorities for up-to-date information on closures and permits required for hiking the John Muir Trail.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the John Muir Trail are typically during the summer months when the weather is favorable and the trail is easily accessible. However, if you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall. Regardless of the time of year, it’s important to stay informed about seasonal closures and restrictions to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience on this iconic trail.


1. Whitney Portal Trailhead: Wheelchair accessible parking spaces available near the trailhead.
2. Wilderness Permit Office: ADA-compliant entrance and accessible restrooms.
3. Whitney Portal National Recreation Trail: Paved trail with accessible picnic areas and restrooms.
4. Lone Pine Campground: Accessible campsites with paved pathways and accessible restrooms.
5. Cottonwood Pass Trail: Not wheelchair accessible due to steep and rugged terrain.
6. Crabtree Ranger Station: ADA-compliant entrance and accessible restrooms.
7. Crabtree Meadow: Accessible campsites with paved pathways and accessible restrooms.
8. Guitar Lake: Not wheelchair accessible due to uneven terrain and steep sections.
9. Mount Whitney Summit: Not wheelchair accessible due to challenging terrain and high elevation.
10. Whitney Portal Trailhead (Exit): Wheelchair accessible parking spaces available near the trailhead.

Safety Information

1. Plan and prepare: Thoroughly research and plan your trip, including permits, weather conditions, and necessary gear.
2. Physical fitness: Ensure you are in good physical condition to handle the strenuous nature of the trail.
3. Acclimate to altitude: Gradually adjust to higher elevations to prevent altitude sickness.
4. Water purification: Carry a reliable water filter or treatment method to avoid waterborne illnesses.
5. Bear safety: Follow proper food storage techniques and bear encounter protocols to minimize the risk of bear interactions.
6. Lightning safety: Be aware of thunderstorm patterns and seek shelter in low-lying areas during electrical storms.
7. Navigation skills: Familiarize yourself with maps, compass, and GPS to navigate the trail accurately.
8. Wilderness first aid: Carry a well-stocked first aid kit and have knowledge of basic wilderness medical skills.
9. Leave no trace: Practice responsible outdoor ethics by leaving the trail and campsites as you found them.
10. Wildlife encounters: Respect wildlife from a safe distance and understand how to react in different situations.
11. Weather awareness: Stay informed about weather forecasts and be prepared for sudden changes in conditions.
12. River crossings: Assess water levels and currents before crossing rivers, and use proper techniques to ensure safety.
13. Emergency communication: Carry a reliable communication device and inform someone about your itinerary.
14. Hiking in groups: Consider hiking with a partner or a group for added safety and support.
15. Trail conditions: Stay updated on trail conditions, closures, and potential hazards before and during your hike.
16. Sun protection: Use sunscreen, wear a hat, and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays at high altitudes.
17. Campsite selection: Choose safe and designated campsites away from potential hazards like dead trees or rockfall areas.
18. Hygiene and sanitation: Practice proper waste disposal and personal hygiene to prevent contamination and illness.
19. Wildlife food storage: Store food securely to prevent attracting wildlife to your campsite.
20. Emergency preparedness: Carry essential emergency supplies, including a whistle, fire starter, and extra food and water.

Conservation Notes

The John Muir Trail (JMT) is a renowned hiking trail that stretches approximately 211 miles through the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, USA. In terms of conservation status, the JMT traverses several protected areas, including national parks, wilderness areas, and national forests. These designations play a crucial role in preserving the natural and cultural resources along the trail.

A significant portion of the JMT passes through the iconic Yosemite National Park, which is internationally recognized for its stunning granite cliffs, waterfalls, and diverse ecosystems. Yosemite National Park is managed with a strong emphasis on conservation, aiming to protect its unique flora, fauna, and geological features. The park’s conservation efforts include measures to minimize human impact, preserve wildlife habitats, and maintain the delicate balance of its ecosystems.

Additionally, the JMT passes through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, named after the famous photographer and environmentalist. This wilderness area is managed by the United States Forest Service and is dedicated to preserving its pristine landscapes, including alpine meadows, lakes, and granite peaks. The Ansel Adams Wilderness is subject to regulations that limit human activities, such as camping and campfire restrictions, to minimize the impact on the fragile environment.

Furthermore, the JMT traverses the John Muir Wilderness, which is also managed by the United States Forest Service. This wilderness area is named after the renowned naturalist and conservationist John Muir, who played a significant role in the establishment of national parks and wilderness areas in the United States. The John Muir Wilderness is home to diverse wildlife, including black bears, mule deer, and golden trout, and is managed to protect its natural resources and provide opportunities for solitude and recreation.

Overall, the conservation status of the John Muir Trail is relatively high due to its passage through protected areas such as national parks, wilderness areas, and national forests. These designations ensure that the trail’s natural and cultural resources are preserved for future generations to enjoy while minimizing human impact on the fragile ecosystems along the route.

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