John Muir Trail (JMT)
ElevationAscent: 44,576' 13,587 m
Descent: -34,248' -10,439 m
High: 14,443' 4,402 m
Low: 4,055' 1,236 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)
Current trail conditions
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“Run in the footsteps of John Muir and experience amazing peaks, lakes, canyons and granite cliffs.”— Xtreme Hiking
- Permits are required to run the JMT Trail. SOBO runners (departing from Yosemite NP) must apply 168 days in advance! NOBO runners (departing from Whitney Portal) can apply for a permit between Feb 1. and March 15.
- The NPS requires runners to use a bear canister on the JMT.
- A California Campfire Permit is required for all campfires, stoves, or lanterns
Runners will see the best of Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, Devils Postpile National Monument and the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The JMT will take you over six mountain passes with elevations over 11,000 feet with a total trail elevation gain of 47,000 feet! It is important to note that the typical runner will take around 21 days to complete the JMT as a through journey.
- JMT: Segment 1 - Happy Isles to Tuolomne Meadows
- JMT: Segment 2 - Tuolomne Meadows to Devils Postpile
- JMT: Segment 3 - Devils Postpile to Lake Edison
- JMT: Segment 4 - Lake Edison to Muir Trail Ranch
- JMT: Segment 5 - Muir Trail Ranch to Bishop Pass at LeConte Canyon
- JMT: Segment 6 - Bishop Pass at LeConte Canyon to Kearsage Pass Trail
- JMT: Segment 7 - Kearsage Pass Trail to Mt. Whitney
- SOBO Permits for the JMT can be reserved at yosemiteconservacy.org.
- A list of NPS approved bear canisters can be found here. These cansiters also keep marmots out - don't keep food in your pack or you'll find they'll destroy it.
- There are plenty of water sources along the JMT, bring a water filter or purifying system. Also, note that with the convenience of abundant water comes mosquitoes. Come prepared.
- Make sure to plan ahead for transportation. If you are traveling SOBO, it is suggested to park a car at Lone Pine and take the shuttle to Yosemite.
The John Muir Trail is the same path used to run to the top of Half Dome. Once the trail splits from the Half Dome route, the crowds become more manageable. It is not uncommon for runners to spend their first night around the Clouds Rest Trail cut off (about 7.5 miles from the valley floor) so runners might find this section impacted. Runners will encounter countless switchbacks on the JMT, but the trail is well maintained.
The Golden Staircase (around mile 145 headed SOBO) will present challenges. It is best to stay close to Deer Meadows (around mile 144) the night before you start your ascent up the Golden Staircase. As you climb the Golden Staircase, the full sun can be relentless as there is no shade in almost 2,000 feet of elevation gain in two miles. This section then leads to the top of Mather Pass. In all, the two combined require runners to make a 4,000-foot ascent with the highest point being just over 12,100 feet (top of Mather Pass).
If you are planning a through trip, resupplying will be required! Pacific Crest Trail Association does a great job listing the resupply options for the JMT. Both Red's Meadow and Vermillion Valley Resort offer fresh cooked meals and have small stores.
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Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite