The John Muir Trail

Through the Californian Sierra Nevada

eBook Options

Purchase an eBook to download and read this guide straight away. There are options for desktop and mobile devices as well as dedicated eBook Readers.

Google Play

Google Play Books available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS

Google Play


Kobo eReader devices plus Kobo App available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS



Kindle Reader devices plus Kindle App available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS

5 Mar 2015
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm

Delivery & Returns

Free 1st Class postage on UK orders. European postage from £2 per item. Worldwide postage from £3 per item. If you're not happy with your purchase for any reason, we'll give you a full refund.
More information...

Guidebook to walking the John Muir Trail through California's High Sierra from Yosemite (El Capitan and Half Dome) to the summit of Mount Witney. The 216 mile hike is split into 21 daily stages, with full information on preparation, permits, wilderness, bears, water and trekking skills. Part of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Seasons Seasons
August is best, July normally fine but late snow may be a problem
Centres Centres
Starts Yosemite and finishes at Whitney Portal; Tuolmmne, Vermilion Resort and Muir Trail Range along the way; access through San Francisco or Los Angeles
Difficulty Difficulty
spectacular, remote and risks of poor weather; backpacking throughout, carrying all required food; tough trekking but no route-finding difficulties; beware of bears!
Must See Must See
Yosemite (rock walls of El Capitan, Half Dome etc), King's Canyon and Sequoia national parks, Anselm Adams wilderness, Mount Whitney
5 Mar 2015
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
  • Overview

    The John Muir Trail (JMT) is a world-famous trek and North America's best known walking trail. It runs for 216 miles through California's Sierra Nevada mountains, from Yosemite Valley (El Capitan and Half-Dome) to the summit of Mount Whitney (14,496ft), the highest peak in the US outside Alaska. It also makes up part of the epic Pacific Crest Trail which runs the length of the Rockies through Canada and the US.

    All you need to know to plan and prepare for your trip is contained within this guide, from obtaining trekking permits to buying trek food and forwarding food caches along the trail. Abundant advice is given on such topics as dealing with inquisitive bears, coping with altitude, negotiating river crossings, as well as tips on booking transport to and from the trailheads and on what equipment to take. In addition there is a detailed description of the flora and fauna of this remarkable region.

    The walking trail, which is named after the great 19th-century Scottish naturalist, conservationist and writer John Muir, is entirely through the unspoilt wilderness of the American West and passes through three national parks: Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Information includes:

    • advice on preparation, including trekking permits, food caches along the trail and how to deal with bears and river crossings
    • variants and escape routes, camp sites, bear box locations and resupply points
    • ascent, descent and distance tables for all stages
  • Contents

    John Muir
    Parks along the JMT
    The Pacific Crest Trail
    Using this Guide
    Planning your Trip
    Flights to California
    Public Transport to and from the Trailhead
    Booking Accommodation
    Food Supplies
    General Fitness and Trail Fitness
    Health and Medical Considerations
    Water Purification
    Coping with Altitude
    Dealing with Bears
    River Crossings
    Other Natural Hazards
    Low-Impact Trekking and National Park/Wilderness Regulations
    Camp Routine
    Time Difference
    Public Holidays in the US
    The Natural World by Dr Charles Aitchison
    Geology of the Sierra Nevada
    Vegetation and Flowers on the John Muir Trail
    Birds of the John Muir Trail
    Mammals along the Trail
    Day 1 Yosemite Valley (Happy Isles) to Half Dome Trail Junction/Sunrise Creek and the Ascent of Half Dome
    Day 2 Half Dome Trail Junction/Sunrise Creek to Sunrise High Sierra Camp
    Day 3 Sunrise High Sierra Camp via Cathedral Pass to Tuolumne Meadows
    Day 4 Tuolumne Meadows to Upper Lyell Canyon
    Day 5 Upper Lyell Canyon via Donohue Pass and Island Pass to Thousand Island Lake
    Day 6 Thousand Island Lake to the Devil’s Postpile
    Day 7 The Devil’s Postpile via Reds Meadow to Deer Creek
    Day 8 Deer Creek to Tully Hole/Cascade Valley Junction
    Day 9 Tully Hole/Cascade Valley Junction via Silver Pass to Edison Lake
    Day 10 Edison Lake to Rosemarie Meadow
    Day 11 Rosemarie Meadow via Seldon Pass to the Muir Trail Ranch
    Day 12 Muir Trail Ranch to McClure Meadow
    Day 13 McClure Meadow via Muir Pass to Unnamed Lake North-East of Helen Lake
    Day 14 Unnamed Lake North-East of Helen Lake to Deer Meadow
    Day 15 Deer Meadow via Mather Pass to Kings River
    Day 16 Kings River via Pinchot Pass to Woods Creek
    Day 17 Woods Creek via Glen Pass to Vidette Meadow
    Day 18 Vidette Meadow via Forester Pass to Tyndall Creek
    Day 19 Tyndall Creek to Guitar Lake
    Day 20 Guitar Lake via Mount Whitney and Trail Crest to Trail Camp; and the ascent of Mount Whitney
    Day 21 Trail Camp to Whitney Portal

    Appendix A Camping Areas on the JMT
    Appendix B Ranger Stations along the JMT
    Appendix C Escape Routes on the JMT
    Appendix D Bear Box Locations on the JMT
    Appendix E Mountain Passes and Peaks on the JMT
    Appendix F Useful Addresses and Websites in the UK and US
    Appendix G Bibliography
    Appendix H Trail Summary Table

  • Maps

    There are several maps that cover all or part of the John Muir Trail. The United States Forestry Service produces a number of ‘Wilderness Maps’ which are useful, covering the JMT outside Yosemite. The John Muir/Sequoia–Kings Canyon Wilderness Map and the Ansel Adams Wilderness Map are the most useful sheets.

    There are several maps available locally which cover the Yosemite National Park. The Inyo National Forest Map is another possible map, and covers the whole area through which the Trail passes. These maps are easily obtainable in the US, but less so outside the country.

    The best maps both for planning in the UK and use on the JMT in America are contained within the John Muir Trail Map-Pack: Tom Harrison’s Maps. The Map-Pack consists of 13 colour topographical, shaded-relief maps depicting the John Muir Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and numerous side-trails. Campgrounds, ranger stations and information centres are also shown. The maps run from Whitney to Yosemite Valley (sheet numbers 1 to 13), so walkers following the route in this guidebook will use them in the order Sheet 13 to Sheet 1. The sheets required for each stage of the hike are given at the beginning of each daily stage in the route guide section of this book. For further information on Tom Harrison’s maps go to

    Tom Harrison’s John Muir Trail Map-Pack is usually obtainable in Britain from retailers such as The Map Shop in Upton-upon-Severn and Stanford’s in London, Bristol and Manchester (see Appendix F). The Map-Pack is rather expensive, particularly when purchased in the UK, but it is the author’s recommended map for the JMT. The maps are clear and easy to use – although the contour lines are at 80ft intervals.

    Navigation along the John Muir Trail is generally easy, far more so than a route across the Scottish Highlands, for example, and more straightforward than many long-distance routes in Europe. With use of the Tom Harrison maps and this guidebook the trail of the JMT should never be in doubt.

  • Updates
    Receive updates by email
    Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction
    We do not yet have any updates available for this book

    We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our contact form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).

  • Reviews
    We do not yet have any reviews for this book

    If you would like to send us a review then please use our contact form. They will be published here shortly.

  • Downloads

Alan Castle

Alan Castle has trekked and cycled in over 30 countries within Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Australasia. A member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild, he has written 18 guidebooks, several on long-distance mountain routes in France. An erstwhile national secretary and long-distance path information officer of the Long Distance Walkers Association, Alan now lives at the foot of the Moffat Hills in Scotland.

View Guidebooks by Alan Castle