By Michael Lanza
Sometimes it can seem like everyone who’s ever carried a backpack through mountains somewhere wants to thru-hike the John Muir Trail—especially when it comes time to apply for a JMT wilderness permit. And why not? “America’s Most Beautiful Trail” earns its nickname and ranks indisputably among “America’s Top 10 Best Backpacking Trips.” Consequently, few permits are harder to get; most people who enter one of the permit lotteries get rejected. This story explains the various ways to reserve a John Muir Trail wilderness permit—which you must do months ahead of your trip dates.