For the last few years, each summer, I’ve gone down to the Sierra Nevada for a hike. Last year we completed the North Lake South Lake loop and the year before we completed the Ten Lakes loop north of Tioga Pass. These all whetted my appetite for more hiking in the Sierra. This year I planned to hike the John Muir Trail (JMT). This is a much more ambitious hike, at least 212 miles, and one of the iconic thru-hikes in the US. The good news is we completed the JMT – entering at Horseshoe Meadows and hiking all the way to Happy Isles. Our 2021 JMT Northbound (NOBO) hike was probably one of the best hiking experiences I’ve ever had – a truly transformative experience.

This trip required a significant amount of planning – which started over six months ago. Some logistical challenges with travel. All definitely worth the effort. This is a longer trip report and will cover a lot of the planning and equipment discussions as well details of the hike itself.

JMT Planning

The JMT Hike

  • Hiking plan and logistics
  • Overview of our JMT Hike
  • Part 1 – Horseshoe Meadows to Rae Lakes
  • Part 2 – Rae Lakes to Muir Pass
  • Part 3 – Muir Pass to Vermilion Valley Resort
  • Part 4 – Vermilion Valley Resort to Donahue Pass
  • Part 5 – Donahue Pass to Happy Isles
  • Part 6 – Summary and statistics

What worked and what didn’t

  • JMT Gear List
  • What work and what didn’t

There was no doubt this was an exceptional experience. All the planning helped make the execution very smooth. There is something incredibly special about standing on Forester Pass and looking across a sea of mountain peaks and knowing you are about to undertake a journey across pass and through canyon through much of what lies in front.

If you ever have the chance to hike the JMT, either northbound (NOBO) or southbound (SOBO), take the opportunity.


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