John Muir Trail Data Book

John Muir Trail Data Book

by Elizabeth Wenk


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Mileages, Campsites, Resupply Data, and Essential Trail Information for the Entire John Muir Trail, from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney and onward to Whitney Portal

Whether you’re hiking the entire John Muir Trail or just sections of it, the first step of the journey begins with this book by Sierra expert Elizabeth Wenk.

This essential, cut-to-the-chase handbook to the 220-mile John Muir Trail, based on the comprehensive Wilderness Press guidebook John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America's Most Famous Trail, is packed with favorite features, including:

  • Comprehensive table of campsites along the trail
  • Elevation profiles for each section
  • GPS coordinates for trail junctions ,ranger stations, and more
  • Custom-made topo maps packed with relevant information
  • Cumulative distances along the trail given for both southbound and northbound
  • Pre-trip planning information about resupplies, transport, and permits
  • Labeled panoramic photos

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780899977706
Publisher: Wilderness Press
Publication date: 07/22/2014
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

From childhood, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Wenk has hiked and climbed in the Sierra Nevada with her family. Since she started college, she has found excuses to spend every summer in the Sierra, with its beguiling landscape, abundant flowers, and near-perfect weather. One interest lies in biological research, and she worked first as a research assistant for others and then completed her own PhD thesis research on the effects of rock type on alpine plant distribution and physiology. However, much of the time, she hikes simply for leisure. Obsessively wanting to explore every bit of the Sierra, she has hiked thousands of on- and off-trail miles and climbed more than 600 peaks in the mountain range. Many of her wanderings are now directed to gather data for several Wilderness Press titles and to introduce her two young daughters to the wonders of the mountains. For them as well, the Sierra, and especially Yosemite, has become a favorite location. Although she will forever consider Bishop, California, home, Wenk is currently living in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, Douglas, and daughters, Eleanor and Sophia. There she is working as a research fellow at Macquarie University and enjoying Australia’s exquisite eucalyptus forests, vegetated slot canyons, and wonderful birdlife—except during the Northern Hemisphere summer, which she continues to spend exploring the Sierra.

Read an Excerpt

The John Muir Trail (or, more simply, the JMT) is one of the world’s premier long-distance hiking trails. A little more than 220 miles in length, it traverses the spine of California’s Sierra Nevada, passing through superb mountain scenery. This is a land of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks, of soaring granite cliffs, of lakes by the thousands, and of canyons 5,000 feet deep. The trail passes near roads only in Tuolumne Meadows and Devils Postpile, otherwise winding through remote mountain landscape. Part of the beauty of this long-distance walk is that the landscape continually changes as you travel from Happy Isles (in eastern Yosemite Valley) to Whitney Portal (west of the town of Lone Pine, in the Owens Valley). Each day you will find new wonders to captivate your attention—rounded domes in Tuolumne Meadows, volcanic features near Devils Postpile, magical hemlock forests near Silver Pass, dashing cascades along Bear Creek, the glacial landscape of Evolution Basin, the near-vertical peaks of the Palisades, carpets of alpine flowers around Pinchot Pass, spectacular lake basins such as the Rae Lakes, scattered foxtail pines on Bighorn Plateau, and of course the views from the summit of Mt. Whitney, California’s tallest peak. The Sierra is an especially lovely area for a multi-week hike, for it is blessed with the mildest, sunniest climate of any major mountain range in the world. Though rain does fall in the summer, it seldom lasts more than an hour or two, and the sun is out and shining most hours of the day. Most likely the greatest challenge you will face is the logistics of resupplying food because the southern 160 miles do not pass a road, and for the final 110 miles you do not even pass close to a food resupply “depot.” You are, of course, not the only person to have heard of these attractions and will encounter people daily, but the trail really is a thin line through a vast land; with little effort you can always camp on your own if you leave the trail.

Using This Book
This book is an abbreviated version of John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America’s Most Famous Trail, also published by Wilderness Press. This title includes only the data sections of its parent book, including tables with junction locations and distances between junctions, a table of campsite locations, topographic maps, and some basic information to help you plan your trip. If you are seeking a trail description, natural history of the region, possible side trips along the trail, or information on how to hike in the Sierra, I recommend that you purchase the thicker volume; if it proves to be too heavy for the trail, you can keep it for your library and carry a copy of this book.

The goal of this guide is to provide you with the data you need to design your own trip, in advance or as you walk. Some people hike only 7 miles a day while others happily cover more than 20. Some hikers complete the entire trail in one go, while others hike a section at a time. This book should cater to everyone, for it provides information on distances along the trail, established camping locations, stretches of trail with steep ascents and descents, and lateral trails that access the JMT. From there, you design the itinerary that best suits you.

The introductory material provides information on three essential topics: how to obtain a wilderness permit, how to get yourself to and from the two endpoints using either public transportation or a private shuttle, and how to arrange food resupplies along the trail. All the phone numbers and Web addresses required for your planning are supplied. Also provided are maps of Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and Lone Pine to orient you at trailheads.

Next are 17 topographic maps, onto which trail junctions and campsites (listed beginning on page 88) have been plotted.

The topographic maps are followed by the trail data. Mimicking the organization of the larger JMT book, the trail information is split into 13 sections, one for each of the river drainages through which the JMT passes. Each section includes a detailed elevation profile of the trail and a table listing major waypoints, including most trail junctions. Each entry includes the elevation, UTM coordinates, distance from the previous point, and cumulative distance from the JMT endpoints, here given as Happy Isles and Whitney Portal. Elevations, with the exception of those benchmarked by the USGS, have been rounded to the closest 10 feet. The UTM coordinates follow the North American datum 1927, as this is the reference system used on most USGS 7.5-minute maps (as well as the popular Tom Harrison maps). GPS devices and mapping software packages use NAD 1983 as a default, but the coordinates can easily convert between the two reference systems.

At the end of the book is a collection of panoramic photos as well as some extra data tables. The photos have been taken from atop passes, and many of the prominent peaks visible are labeled. Following the panoramas is a table listing established, legal campsites. For each campsite, information provided includes the cumulative trail distance, the UTM coordinates (again NAD 1927), a brief description, and whether camp res are permitted. This is followed by tables with emergency numbers for the jurisdictions through which the JMT passes and the locations of wilderness ranger stations in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, as well as a table with the locations of permanent food-storage lockers (colloquially known as bear boxes). The final table lists basic information on lateral trails feeding into the JMT, which is useful if you plan to section-hike the JMT or if you unexpectedly need to exit the wilderness and need to determine the most efficient way to exit.

And finally, I wish you a wonderful trip along the JMT. Enjoy the superb surroundings as you traipse along a trail that commemorates one of the world’s most influential conservationists.

Table of Contents


Planning Your Hike

Topographic Maps

Yosemite Valley to Whitney Portal

  1. Happy Isles to Tuolumne–Mariposa County Line
  2. Tuolumne–Mariposa County Line to Donohue Pass
  3. Donohue Pass to Island Pass
  4. Island Pass to Madera–Fresno County Line
  5. Madera–Fresno County Line to Silver Pass
  6. Silver Pass to Selden Pass
  7. Selden Pass to Muir Pass
  8. Muir Pass to Mather Pass
  9. Mather Pass to Pinchot Pass
  10. Pinchot Pass to Glen Pass
  11. Glen Pass to Forester Pass
  12. Forester Pass to Trail Crest
  13. Trail Crest to Whitney Portal


Ranger Stations and Emergency Numbers

Food-Storage Boxes (Bear Boxes)

JMT Lateral Trails

About the Author

Customer Reviews