Photo Gallery: Backpacking the John Muir Wilderness

By Michael Lanza

Want to know where I shot the mountains photo in the banner across the top of The Big Outside? It was in Granite Park in the John Muir Wilderness, 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 the photos below, 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 every year).

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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?”

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

This blog and website is my full-time job and I rely on the support of readers. If you like what you see here, please help me continue producing The Big Outside by making a donation using the Support button at the top of the left sidebar or below. Thank you for your support.




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3 thoughts on “Photo Gallery: Backpacking the John Muir Wilderness”

    • 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.