Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Wilderness permits are required with year-round daily trailhead quotas. 40% of the quota is available on a walk-in basis at a Forest Service office. Reservations are accepted up to one year in advance, but permits must be picked up in person. No campfires above 10,000 feet.
This segment of the JMT has less steep climbing than the other segments, but is still strenuous. It begins in Quail Meadows next to the bridge crossing Mono Creek. Twice a day ferry service, 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., from the Vermilion Resort can bring you within 1.4 miles of this point. The ferry returns at 9:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. You can pay when it reaches the resort. The resort provides resupply service for those continuing on the JMT. If you are heading south on the JMT and don't care about missing a small section, it is easier to skip the ferry and take the Bear Ridge Trail up to its junction with the JMT.
Note: The mountainous part of the drive to Lake Edison takes about 2 hours, the longest entrance drive in the Sierras.
There is good camping near Mono Creek, but no possible campsites for the next 3 miles as you make the steep 2000 foot climb up Bear Ridge—the only long, steep climb in this segment. There are views of the Vermillion Cliffs and Silver Pass, but trees obscure sweeping panoramas. The next 1.5 miles to the Bear Ridge Trail have very little elevation change, and then there is a steep 900 foot drop to Bear Creek with several great campsites near small streams along the way.
From the junction with the Bear Creek Trail, the JMT follows the beautiful Bear Creek all the way to Selden Pass. The creek is often within view and seldom out of hearing. The trail climbs gradually, passing several great campsites and the junctions with the Lake Italy and Seven Gables trails. Many experienced runners consider the Seven Gables/Vee Lake area their favorite in the entire Sierras. The trail then crosses Bear Creek, which can be dangerous during high water.
Near Rosemarie Meadow, the Lou Beverly Trail leads to Sandpiper and Three Island Lakes, another extraordinarily beautiful area. From there, the trail climbs to Marie Lake, with some short, steep sections. Marie Lake is one of the gems of the Sierras with rocky inlets and islands surrounded by high peaks of polished granite. Then it is a short climb to Selden Pass with great panoramas back over Marie Lake and the surrounding Peaks.
From Selden Pass, the trail begins 6 miles of downhill. It passes the beautiful Heart Lake, and runners will enjoy the run through the trees along the very pleasant edge of the western Sallie Keyes Lake, the traverse to Senger Creek, and the steep drop to the Muir Ranch junction. There, you have a choice of continuing left on the JMT or dropping straight down to the Muir Trail Ranch, which has a resupply service.
Flora & Fauna
Hemlock, lodgepole, juniper, red fir and aspen, and a wide variety of wildflowers command this area.
Shared By: Lee Watts