Hiking the John Muir Trail

Happy Isles to Reds Meadow Hot Springs
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The John Muir Trail passes through what many backpackers agree is the finest mountain scenery in the United States. Some hikers may give first prize to some other place, but none will deny the great attractiveness of the High Sierra.

This is a land of 13,000-foot and 14,000-foot peaks, of soaring granite cliffs, of lakes literally by the thousands, of canyons 5,000 feet deep. It is a land where man's trails touch only a tiny portion of the total area, so that by leaving the trail you can find utter solitude. It is a land uncrossed by road for 160 airline miles from Walker Pass to Tuolumne Meadows. And perhaps best of all, it is a land blessed with the mildest, sunniest climate of any major mountain range in the world. Though rain does fall in the summer and much snow in the winter, the rain seldom lasts more than an hour or two, and the sun is out and shining most of the hours that it is above the horizon.

Given these attractions, you might expect that quite a few people would want to enjoy them. And it is true that some hikers joke about traffic signs being needed on the John Muir Trail. But the land is so vast that if you do want to camp by yourself, you can. While following the trail in the summer, you can't avoid passing quite a few people, but you can stop to talk or not, as you choose.

The maps associated with the book are revised U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps, corrected by Wilderness Press to show the situation as it exists. These maps incorporate more than 600 changes over the existing U.S.G.S. maps, making them the most accurate maps of the Muir Trail available anywhere.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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