Granite Park, John Muir Wilderness, California.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking the John Muir Wilderness

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By Michael Lanza

Want to know where I shot the mountains photo in the banner across the top of The Big Outside? It was on a 32-mile traverse of one of the highest and most achingly gorgeous sections of California’s High Sierra, from North Lake, outside Bishop, to Mosquito Flat, between Bishop and Mammoth Lakes. My route linked up trails with long stretches of rugged cross-country hiking over lake-studded alpine basins and six passes between 11,150 and 13,040 feet, exploring corners of the Sierra rarely seen by people. John Muir himself would have been pleased, as I think you’ll agree after seeing this photo gallery from that trip.

Check out these photos (click on any photo for a full-screen slide show), then read my story about this trip for more photos and tips on how to pull it off yourself. The campsite in Granite Park, where I shot the banner photo for The Big Outside, graces my list of 25 favorite backcountry campsites (which I update yearly).

See all of my stories about the High Sierra and backpacking in California, including these three wilderness trips of a lifetime that are all on trail, and don’t present the navigational and terrain challenges of my traverse of the John Muir Wilderness: “Best of Yosemite, Part 1: Backpacking South of Tuolumne Meadows,” “Heavy Lifting: Backpacking Sequoia National Park,” and “Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail in Seven Days: Amazing Experience, or Certifiably Insane?

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3 Responses to Photo Gallery: Backpacking the John Muir Wilderness

  1. Kody   |  February 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Beautiful photos. Some of my family and I are planning on backpacking the whole thing in the near future. What was the highlight of this trip for you?

    • MichaelALanza   |  February 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Kody, well, besides it being really spectacular every step of the way, the sense of remoteness was quite unique. As I hope the story conveys, it was also a very difficult trip on the off-trail sections.

  2. Paul Leclerc   |  February 10, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Looks like I have another hike to add to my bucket list!

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