Wanda Lake, John Muir Trail, Kings Canyon National Park.

Photo Gallery: Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

By Michael Lanza

The John Muir Trail is frequently referred to as “America’s Most Beautiful Trail,” and there may be no long backpacking trip that’s more spectacular, step for step, than a thru-hike of the JMT through California’s High Sierra. From Yosemite Valley to the summit of 14,505-foot Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park, you walk 211 miles past jagged peaks of clean, golden granite, through a constellation of sparkling mountain lakes and more waterfalls than anyone could name, and over numerous passes from 11,000 to over 13,000 feet.

See a sampler of this backpacking trip of a lifetime in this photo gallery.

Obtaining a permit for a JMT thru-hike can be as challenging as doing the hike itself, which normally takes two to three weeks. See my “10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit.”

But don’t underestimate the difficulty of hiking 221 miles (including the descent off Mount Whitney, which is not part of the 211-mile JMT) through remote wilderness. One key to finishing—and enjoying it—is keeping your pack weight as light as possible. See my tips on ultralight backpacking.

Read my story about my JMT thru-hike, which includes more photos, a video, and lots of tips on pulling off your own thru-hike of “America’s Most Beautiful Trail.”

See also all of my stories about adventures in California and in Yosemite and Sequoia national parks, and all of my stories about national park adventures.

And if you’re looking for gear for a JMT thru-hike or any trips, you definitely want to visit my Gear Reviews page.

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Do you like The Big Outside? I’m Michael Lanza, the creator of The Big Outside, recognized as a top outdoors blog by USA Today, a Trip Advisor site, and others. Subscribe for updates about new stories and free gear giveaways by entering your email address in the box at the top of the left sidebar or on my About page, and follow my adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

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3 Responses to Photo Gallery: Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail

  1. Aron   |  March 23, 2016 at 1:08 am

    Yeah, not what you can do, walk long, and have to endure the pain. However it is still worth it!

  2. Corey Beavers   |  March 22, 2016 at 11:36 am

    That is some really beautiful scenery there! Having never been out to CA, it looks like such a fantastic place for outdoor opportunity.

  3. Tricia @roadtriptheworld.com   |  April 6, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Thanks for your inspiration! Your pictures are absolutely amazing. It is definitely a dream of mine to hike the John Muir Trail.

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