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Favorite JMT spots
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Jeffrey McConnell
Favorite JMT spots on 04/06/2010 20:43:37 MDT Print View

I'm in the process of planning a JMT trip and was wondering if any of you have favorite spots along the trail, particularly for spending the night. I'm reading trail reports and all that, but thought I would ask here.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Favorite JMT spots on 04/06/2010 21:08:41 MDT Print View

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Evolution Lake258
Thousand Island lake, Banner Peak

The starting line

There are no bad spots anywhere on the JMT--Maybe the end (when the hike is over) heading down to Lone Pine...

Edited by Creachen on 04/06/2010 21:59:02 MDT.

Ed Engel
(Doorknob) - F

Locale: West of what you think is west
JMT on 04/06/2010 21:11:11 MDT Print View

For me no matter how many times I have done the trail there is something special about Marie Lake.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Favorite JMT spots on 04/06/2010 21:20:06 MDT Print View

The Muir Hut.


(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
my favs on 04/07/2010 00:03:49 MDT Print View

1. McClure Meadow
2. Top of Forrester Pass (almost home!)
3. Lyell Canyon (for cruising and some nice swim spots---just passing through though, very beary)
4. Palisade lakes

and some others that are mine alone!

the whole trail is amazing

two more:

5. top of Seldon Pass and high alpine meadow
6. Purple Lake and the high route getting there (stunning vistas)


Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
JMT on 04/07/2010 07:04:48 MDT Print View

My favorites:

Marie Lake (would've loved to camp there, but I was on my PCT thru-hike and had to do miles)
LeConte Canyon (reminded me of Zion National Park)
Forester Pass (probably the best view on the JMT)
Muir Pass (awesome early in the season when all you see is snow and rock)
Bubbs Creek Valley
South Fork of the San Joaquin River (you walk right along it for a few miles)

Jeffrey McConnell
great suggestions on 04/07/2010 12:22:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the great spots - keep them coming. Also, what is a good way to plan the trip based on pace? I would like to take around 2.5 weeks to complete the trail.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
JMT Favorites on 04/07/2010 13:19:58 MDT Print View

Too many favorites. However, your pace will dictate where you plan to camp. We did a 14 day trip last summer. I picked up an itinerary that I found on the web and changed it a bit. There are also two books out there that basically put people on a 21 day pace. The longer you are out there the more re-supplies you need to work out.

Anyway, make sure you get the Tom Harrison JMT map pack. I placed them in plastic covers and then used a dry erase marker to mark the route and possible distances per day and then went over it with my trip mates. When we got our trip all planned I took them out of the plastic and just marked right on the map. There were slight changes along the way but it kept us in sync.

Favorite spots were Dohahue Pass (the whole valley is amazingly beautiful), Thousand Island and Garnet are beautiful, Virginia Lake, Purple Lake, Rae Lakes, Forester Pass.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: great suggestions on 04/07/2010 14:02:14 MDT Print View

Jeffrey, 2.5 weeks is a good pace. That is in the ballpark of 13 miles per day, on average. I've seen some backpackers that got all tangled up, time-wise, with food resupply. Others I have known had simply said, "I'm just going straight through without resupply." I think that is a little risky for a first trip, but it might be reasonable later on.

You have to decide what you are trying to accomplish. For example, some hikers just plunge ahead, day after day, knocking out the maximum miles, and not really stopping to smell the roses. Others allocate themselves a minimum of one or two hours per day for sightseeing and photography. Still others take a zero day once per week. If you are hiking with others, try to get a group strategy on this before you start. Good luck.

Several years ago, I was on top of Mount Whitney, and one guy came up that last two miles at a furious pace. That was his tenth day out from Yosemite. No resupply. Solo tent. Only one hot meal per day. We walked down to Whitney Portal that day, and I gave him a ride back to the SF Bay Area. I think he had one twisted knee, and otherwise he did OK.


Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: JMT Favorites on 04/07/2010 14:03:45 MDT Print View

In trail order N to S

1) Garnet Lake
2) Tully Hole
3) Muir Trail Ranch (just because of the hot springs)
4) Evolution Lake (#1 overall)
5) LeConte Canyon
6) Forester Pass

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Just a thought on 04/07/2010 14:27:36 MDT Print View

Is this your first long-distance trip? If so, here's my suggestion: don't plan anything except an average miles per day and where you're going to resupply so you can figure out how much food you'll need. And for each resupply segment, take one extra day of food with you.

Why? Flexibility. Flexibility is the key to enjoying a long trip. You never know how you're going to feel on any given day or what parts of the trail you'll fall in love with. You may find the most perfect campsite ever three miles into your planned 13-mile day. Great--stay there! Why yoke yourself to a schedule?

And I know I posted my favorites above, but you really shouldn't listen to me or anyone else. I heard so much great stuff about Banner Peak and Thousand Island Lake before my hike. I found that entire area to be unappealing and uninteresting. I was happy to get past it. Your experience will be different! That's great--but let it be your experience, and figure it out as you go along. Don't listen to anyone else.

As long as you have enough food to get to the next resupply point, you can do whatever you want. How often do you get that opportunity in life? Embrace it.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
"Favorite JMT spots" on 04/07/2010 14:54:59 MDT Print View

Not to hijack Jeffrey's thread, but thanks for the great info from another hiker doing the JMT. Every comment and picture is so useful in planning and motivating!

I'm planning on a July 27/28 start date, depending on when I get a permit.

Jeffrey, are you heading out this year?

Jeffrey McConnell
trip plans on 04/07/2010 15:04:56 MDT Print View

This will be my first trip over 50 miles. It will be my first long trip as a lightweight backpacker. I've handled 12 mile days with a 50+ pound pack before (though I was dead tired by the end of the day), so I figure I can handle an avg. of 13 miles a day. I'm the type that does enjoy spending a little time for scenery and photography.

I think I'll resupply twice just to keep consumable weight down. I'd like to have a plan of where I think I'll be stopping, but I agree that on a long distance trip, it seems that flexibility will make the trip more enjoyable. For this thread, I was curious if there were any "must see" places. I'm still debating whether or not I want to go up half dome.

I'm planning for next year. Long trips like this take some coaxing of the wife. After a year, she'll want me to go just so I shut up about it. ;)

Edited by Catalyst on 04/07/2010 19:10:09 MDT.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Favorite Spots on 04/07/2010 15:06:21 MDT Print View

Never done half dome, but definitely do clouds rest if you dont.

I would personally skip 1000 island lake and keep going to Garnet lake, but that's just me.

Lake Virginia would make nice camping.

Silver Pass lake is a nice place to camp and the south side has a real "beachy" feel.

Marie lakes is a great camping spot.

Be sure to cross the river at MTR: nice (albeit sometimes crowded) camping, a little hot springs pool and a lake to swim in.

Evolution valley.

Neat landscape to spend time in on the north side of Muir Hut - but not necessarily great camping until Mcclure.

Camping after Mather pass can be a bit tricky for a few miles, as it is quite rocky.

When you get to rae lakes, it may be crowded, keep walking until you get to the north side of the lakes.

Nice camping a mile or two before forrester pass, on the way up.

Be sure to start up whitney (guitar lake or beyond), around 2 am so you're at the top at sunrise. best. thing. ever.

Edited by ChrisMorgan on 04/07/2010 15:09:34 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: trip plans on 04/07/2010 15:23:45 MDT Print View

"I'm still debating whether or not I want to go up half dome."

Half Dome has a killer view. In fact, a number of hikers have gotten too close to the edge on top and have lost their lives. However, for rational hikers who stay back away from the edge, the view is great. Going up the cable ladder for the last 200 yards to the top is frightening for the small percentage of hikers who have a fear of heights, or a balance problem, or bad footwear, or lack of thin leather work gloves. If you get onto the cable ladder early in the morning before the crowd gets there (9-10 a.m.?) it is good. If you get there in the middle of the crowd (12-2 p.m.) you may hate it. Don't forget the camera.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Favorite JMT spots on 04/07/2010 16:08:25 MDT Print View

Marie Lakes-A great area to camp..

(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
party time on 04/07/2010 19:12:36 MDT Print View

see you all out there this year. we have a July 27 start from Tuolumne....forth time down the trail and still every bit as eager and excited!


Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Favorite JMT spots on 04/07/2010 22:09:48 MDT Print View

Lots of camping options in Upper Basin

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Ah, but some of the highlights are just *off* the JMT on 04/08/2010 11:57:21 MDT Print View

Great question.

If I were to do the JMT over again, I'd take 21 days (or more - maybe even 4 weeks) so as to have time to (re)visit some of the really extraordinary places that are *just* offtrail. (If you hurry too much, you have no time for any of these places!)

Yosemite section: Half Dome or Clouds Rest

Tuolumne to Reds Meadow section: Ediza Lake and/or Minaret Lake. (In fact, I'd just leave the JMT at Ediza, climb the class-2 rock over to Minaret Lake, and hike from Minaret Lake back down to the JMT). Also, I'd like to check out Davis Lakes or some of the other stuff near Donahue Pass. Also, the world's most stunning meadow is west of Garnet Lake; you can leave the JMT at the northeast end of Thousand Island Lake, walk the lake to its east side, jump over the little pass to the Garnet Lake basin, and revel in the meadows/lakelets up there before following the north side of Garnet Lake back to the PCT.

Reds to Lake Edison: Duck Lake. I'd also like to explore the Silver Pass area; lots of lakes, and it's absolutely stunning there.

Edison to Mather Pass: Darwin Basin. Ionian Basin. Ladder Lake.

Mather Pass: Diversion to climb Split Mountain (a 14-er).

Mather Pass to Pinchot Pass: Bench Lake. Maybe the upper part of the Muro Blanco or the areas just to the north of that.

Rae Lakes area: Dragon Lake and Sixty Lakes Basin are just freaking gorgeous. Very quick to get to. Worth a very long stopover day to visit both. I've only been to the southern part of the Sixty Lakes Basin, but I'm told that the northern end (which comes to an abrupt dropoff) has a view to die for. In a very long day you can also hop over from Sixty Lakes Basin west into Gardiner Basin.

Kearsarge Pass: A very pretty, and (relatively) easy pass if you require a resupply exit from the JMT. Kearsarge Lakes are very scenic (though overused); Charlotte Lake is not scenic.

Forrester Pass to Whitney area: Diversion to either Lake South America area, and/or Wallace Lakes. Personally I don't find the JMT between Forrester and Whitney to be very interesting, so I'd do a diversion there for sure.

I did the JMT in 1999, but to this day remember every single place I camped, all 21 days. It's that memorable.


Edited by mariposa on 04/08/2010 12:01:02 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Ah, but some of the highlights are just *off* the JMT on 04/08/2010 12:19:20 MDT Print View

More just off the trail:
Blaney Hot Spring, near Muir Trail Ranch
Kern Hot Spring, along the Kern River s.w. of Whitney