2020 has been an odd year, even for backpacking. I had planned a couple of PCT sections trips this year. The first was for sections A & B in California. Unfortunately, I had to cancel that trip as it was in late April and California was just going through one of its lockdown periods. The second trip was for the North Lake South Lake loop. This was for the start of July and for a while it was definitely touch and go. It was not until the start of June that Inyo National Forest starting issuing permits again. The Covid situation made planning for this a little more logistically challenging.

Muir Hut
Muir Hut

The North Lake South Lake loop traverse through some of the most stunning scenery in the Sierra. This climbs through three mountain passes above 11’000 feet, Piute, Muir, and Bishop. Atop of Muir Pass if the famous Muir hut.


Planning for this trip was started as soon as it was possible to reserve a permit. Permits for sections of the JMT are often quite difficult to come by, so as soon as the permits were available I was online to make the reservation. Luckily I managed to snag a spot for leaving on the 5th of July.

A note on the permits for this trip – you actually have to do quite some research before applying for the permit. The permit application itself requires not only the start date but the intended itinerary including proposed camping locations. Even though this trip goes from Inyo National Forest into Kings Canyon National Park – you only need the permit from the agency where you enter. Additionally for this trip, because it‘s in California, you need a California Wildfire Permit (if you are going to use a stove). Plenty of time to gather those before the trip.

Trip Details

Viewranger Data

You can find this hike and download the route here.

Here’s the 3D Flyover of this route.


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