Camping Gear

Photo Gallery: Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail

Posted On February 19, 2017 at 4:09 am by / Comments Off on Photo Gallery: Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail

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.

Get a sampler of this backpacking trip of a lifetime in the photo gallery below. Then 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.”


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On the JMT overlooking the Cathedral Range, Yosemite.
Heather Dorn on JMT below Cathedral Peak, Yosemite.
Banner Peak, Thousand Island Lake, John Muir Trail, Ansel Adams Wilderness.
Hiking to Silver Pass, John Muir Wilderness.
Soaking feet, Silver Pass Creek, John Muir Wilderness, High Sierra
Marie Lake, near Selden Pass
Marie Lake, near Selden Pass.
View from JMT at Mather Pass, Kings Canyon N.P.
Lake Marjorie, Kings Canyon N.P.,
Hiking to Glen Pass, Kings Canyon N.P., High Sierra
Descending south from Forester Pass, Sequoia N.P.
Dollar Lake, Sixty Lakes Basin, Kings Canyon N.P.
Mark Fenton at Trail Crest on Mt. Whitney.


One key to finishing and enjoying the 211-mile JMT (221 miles including the descent off Mount Whitney, which is not part of the JMT) is keeping your pack weight as light as possible. See my tips on ultralight backpacking.

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


Get the right pack for you. See my “Gear Review: The 10 Best Packs For Backpacking

and my “5 Tips For Buying the Right Backpack.”


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.


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. Get email 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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