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John Muir Trail: Northbound to Yosemite National Park

From $4,895

  • Hike through the Sierra Nevada (with full mule support) on one of the world's most scenic wilderness trails on this exclusive MTS expedition, honored with Outside Magazine’s
  • See California’s high Sierra at its finest with mountains and verdant meadows filled with wildflowers—hailed by Travel + Leisure as one of the “50 Great American Adventures”
  • Descend from the Pacific Crest into the Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite—one of the most iconic crown jewels of the National Park Service
  • Travel + Leisure hailed this trip as one of the “50 Great American Adventures,” and National Geographic Adventure featured it on their list of “top ten trails on the planet,” calling it “one of the most beautiful trails in the world”!
  • Learn trailside lore, flora, and fauna from your MTS professional mountaineer guides

Any hike on the epic John Muir Trail is a real adventure. Set in California’s stunning Sierra Nevada, this northbound half of the John Muir Trail begins in Lake Florence and ends in the beautiful Tuolumne Meadows of Yosemite National Park—an iconic voyage through three national parks and several nature preserves. Travel + Leisure hailed it as one of the “50 Great American Adventures.” MTS has developed this unique itinerary with full mule support; it is unlike any other trip available. Every day, enjoy challenging hikes through the high Sierra, while remaining light on your feet with nothing but a daypack while our professional packer and team of mules charges ahead with the heavy load to set up camp for your arrival at the day’s end. Your expert, MTS mountaineer guides will fill invigorating days on the trail with in-depth knowledge of the flora and fauna, and entertain you with plenty of trailside legends of the other great explorers and trail blazers who walked before you. And once you’ve earned your stars traveling northbound, you’ll be ready to take on the southbound trek—MTS’ ultimate challenge!

NOTE—this trail does not include the climb of Mount Whitney. If you are interested in the "southbound" half that does include the climb, see our award-winning trip The John Muir Trail - Southbound.

Day 1: Travel to Fresno, California

Travel to Fresno, California, and arrive at the Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel adjacent to the Fresno air terminal by 5:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., the guides will have a welcome dinner and orientation talk. We’ll also do a final gear check and discuss the details of the trip.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel

Day 2: Sallie Keyes cut-off

Meet at 7:00 a.m. after a hotel breakfast on your own. We then drive about three hours to Florence Lake where we’ll meet the horse-packer and mules to off load our gear. We’ll then begin the first leg of the trip, which starts with a ferry ride across Florence Lake (7,325') into the John Muir Wilderness. Today’s hike will be a mild 6.2 miles with a 400-foot elevation gain to the junction of the John Muir Trail at the Sallie Keyes cut-off.

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 3: Rosemarie Meadow

Hike 10 miles over our first pass, Selden Pass (10,880') to Rosemarie Meadow, past the picturesque Sallie Keyes  Lakes, which were named after Sallie Keyes Shipp, the daughter of the principal owners (and sheepherders) of  Blayney Meadows from 1890-1940. An aspen tree in the meadows is rumored to still have her name carved in it.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 4: Mono Creek

Today’s hike is 11 miles downhill (except for a stout, but brief uphill climb of Bear Ridge) to Quail Meadows and into the Mono Creek Drainage at 7,870'. Mono Creek, named after the Mono Indians, drains from the nearby Mono Divide, first crossed on August 2, 1864, by the Brewer party of the Whitney Survey. Mono Creek serves as a main artery in the California watershed.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 5: Chief Lake

Another uphill day of 8 miles to Chief Lake over Silver Pass (10,880') across the Silver Divide, named in 1907-09 by the USGS survey from Theodore S. Solomons’ 1896 map of the area. Solomons gave the creek its name because of its silvery appearance. We’ll get our first of two food drops here.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 6: Duck Lake

Just over 11 miles of up and down hiking takes us past Tully Hole and Purple Lake to our camp at the Duck Lake junction (9,600'). Tully Hole was named after Gene Tully, who was one of the original 60 rangers of the US Forest Service. He helped rid Yosemite National Park of sheep from 1905-07. Tully Hole was where he rested his stock during his six-week patrols of the mountains. One of today’s highlights is a lunch stop at the picturesque Lake Virginia.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 7: Red’s Meadow

It’s 11½ miles of cruising to Red’s Meadow in the Mammoth area, where views of the Minarets and Mount Ritter and Banner Peak will last a lifetime. The Ritter range was named after famous geographer Karl Ritter. John Muir made the first ascent in October 1872 and his account of the climb is legendary to mountain climbers. Here we’ll meet our second food drop and be treated to a natural hot spring-fed shower.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 8: Shadow Creek

Today we enter the Ansel Adams Wilderness, named after the famous photographer and conservationist who took all those iconic photographs of the West. Highlights include the unique Devil’s Postpile National Monument. It’s an 11-mile hike to Shadow Creek, our next camp, where we'll spend the next two nights—tomorrow is a layover day to photograph, fish, hike, or just relax.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 9: Layover day

Today is a well deserved layover day in the heart of John Muir Trail country to photograph, fish, hike, wash socks, and just plain “hang out.”

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 10: Upper Rush Creek

A 10-mile hike takes us through the famous “postcard” John Muir Trail country of Garnett, Waugh, and Thousand Island Lakes. Hike over Island Pass (10,205’) to our campsite on Rush Creek.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 11: Lyell Fork

Hike 12 miles over towering Donahue Pass (11,050') beneath the highest peak in Yosemite (Mt. Lyell at 13,114’) and down to the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park. Donahue was a sergeant in the cavalry and the peak and pass were named after him by Lt. McClure in 1895, when Donahue made the first ascent.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 12: End trek – Return to Fresno

Hike the remaining 6 miles along the John Muir Trail and finish our long journey in  Tuolumne Meadows, where our shuttle will meet us with cold drinks and a fresh lunch. After lunch the shuttle will take us back through Yosemite Valley before returning to the Piccadilly Inn in Fresno for a celebration dinner and a good night’s sleep.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel

Day 13: Depart

Today you’ll take the free airport shuttle to the terminal to catch your flights, which can be scheduled to depart at any time.

Jul 24, 2016 - Aug 05, 2016

pricing

2015 prices
$4,895 (11-12 members)
$5,095 (9-10 members)
$5,395 (7-8 members)
$450 single supplement

2016 prices
$4,995 (11-12 members)
$5,195 (9-10 members)
$5,495 (7-8 members)
$500 single supplement

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Camp

Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel

A superb full service hotel for business and leisure travelers alike, Piccadilly Inn Airport offers a combination of comfort, convenience and style with 185 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites. Experience a refreshing change of pace in our outdoor pool, set in a lush tropical setting. Or work off some energy in our fitness center and then relax in our heated outdoor spa.

  • Hike through the Sierra Nevada (with full mule support) on one of the world's most scenic wilderness trails on this exclusive MTS expedition, honored with Outside Magazine’s
  • See California’s high Sierra at its finest with mountains and verdant meadows filled with wildflowers—hailed by Travel + Leisure as one of the “50 Great American Adventures”
  • Descend from the Pacific Crest into the Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite—one of the most iconic crown jewels of the National Park Service
  • Travel + Leisure hailed this trip as one of the “50 Great American Adventures,” and National Geographic Adventure featured it on their list of “top ten trails on the planet,” calling it “one of the most beautiful trails in the world”!
  • Learn trailside lore, flora, and fauna from your MTS professional mountaineer guides

Any hike on the epic John Muir Trail is a real adventure. Set in California’s stunning Sierra Nevada, this northbound half of the John Muir Trail begins in Lake Florence and ends in the beautiful Tuolumne Meadows of Yosemite National Park—an iconic voyage through three national parks and several nature preserves. Travel + Leisure hailed it as one of the “50 Great American Adventures.” MTS has developed this unique itinerary with full mule support; it is unlike any other trip available. Every day, enjoy challenging hikes through the high Sierra, while remaining light on your feet with nothing but a daypack while our professional packer and team of mules charges ahead with the heavy load to set up camp for your arrival at the day’s end. Your expert, MTS mountaineer guides will fill invigorating days on the trail with in-depth knowledge of the flora and fauna, and entertain you with plenty of trailside legends of the other great explorers and trail blazers who walked before you. And once you’ve earned your stars traveling northbound, you’ll be ready to take on the southbound trek—MTS’ ultimate challenge!

NOTE—this trail does not include the climb of Mount Whitney. If you are interested in the "southbound" half that does include the climb, see our award-winning trip The John Muir Trail - Southbound.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Travel to Fresno, California

Travel to Fresno, California, and arrive at the Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel adjacent to the Fresno air terminal by 5:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., the guides will have a welcome dinner and orientation talk. We’ll also do a final gear check and discuss the details of the trip.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel

Day 2: Sallie Keyes cut-off

Meet at 7:00 a.m. after a hotel breakfast on your own. We then drive about three hours to Florence Lake where we’ll meet the horse-packer and mules to off load our gear. We’ll then begin the first leg of the trip, which starts with a ferry ride across Florence Lake (7,325') into the John Muir Wilderness. Today’s hike will be a mild 6.2 miles with a 400-foot elevation gain to the junction of the John Muir Trail at the Sallie Keyes cut-off.

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 3: Rosemarie Meadow

Hike 10 miles over our first pass, Selden Pass (10,880') to Rosemarie Meadow, past the picturesque Sallie Keyes  Lakes, which were named after Sallie Keyes Shipp, the daughter of the principal owners (and sheepherders) of  Blayney Meadows from 1890-1940. An aspen tree in the meadows is rumored to still have her name carved in it.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 4: Mono Creek

Today’s hike is 11 miles downhill (except for a stout, but brief uphill climb of Bear Ridge) to Quail Meadows and into the Mono Creek Drainage at 7,870'. Mono Creek, named after the Mono Indians, drains from the nearby Mono Divide, first crossed on August 2, 1864, by the Brewer party of the Whitney Survey. Mono Creek serves as a main artery in the California watershed.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 5: Chief Lake

Another uphill day of 8 miles to Chief Lake over Silver Pass (10,880') across the Silver Divide, named in 1907-09 by the USGS survey from Theodore S. Solomons’ 1896 map of the area. Solomons gave the creek its name because of its silvery appearance. We’ll get our first of two food drops here.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 6: Duck Lake

Just over 11 miles of up and down hiking takes us past Tully Hole and Purple Lake to our camp at the Duck Lake junction (9,600'). Tully Hole was named after Gene Tully, who was one of the original 60 rangers of the US Forest Service. He helped rid Yosemite National Park of sheep from 1905-07. Tully Hole was where he rested his stock during his six-week patrols of the mountains. One of today’s highlights is a lunch stop at the picturesque Lake Virginia.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 7: Red’s Meadow

It’s 11½ miles of cruising to Red’s Meadow in the Mammoth area, where views of the Minarets and Mount Ritter and Banner Peak will last a lifetime. The Ritter range was named after famous geographer Karl Ritter. John Muir made the first ascent in October 1872 and his account of the climb is legendary to mountain climbers. Here we’ll meet our second food drop and be treated to a natural hot spring-fed shower.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 8: Shadow Creek

Today we enter the Ansel Adams Wilderness, named after the famous photographer and conservationist who took all those iconic photographs of the West. Highlights include the unique Devil’s Postpile National Monument. It’s an 11-mile hike to Shadow Creek, our next camp, where we'll spend the next two nights—tomorrow is a layover day to photograph, fish, hike, or just relax.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 9: Layover day

Today is a well deserved layover day in the heart of John Muir Trail country to photograph, fish, hike, wash socks, and just plain “hang out.”

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 10: Upper Rush Creek

A 10-mile hike takes us through the famous “postcard” John Muir Trail country of Garnett, Waugh, and Thousand Island Lakes. Hike over Island Pass (10,205’) to our campsite on Rush Creek.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 11: Lyell Fork

Hike 12 miles over towering Donahue Pass (11,050') beneath the highest peak in Yosemite (Mt. Lyell at 13,114’) and down to the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park. Donahue was a sergeant in the cavalry and the peak and pass were named after him by Lt. McClure in 1895, when Donahue made the first ascent.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 12: End trek – Return to Fresno

Hike the remaining 6 miles along the John Muir Trail and finish our long journey in  Tuolumne Meadows, where our shuttle will meet us with cold drinks and a fresh lunch. After lunch the shuttle will take us back through Yosemite Valley before returning to the Piccadilly Inn in Fresno for a celebration dinner and a good night’s sleep.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel

Day 13: Depart

Today you’ll take the free airport shuttle to the terminal to catch your flights, which can be scheduled to depart at any time.

Camp

Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel

A superb full service hotel for business and leisure travelers alike, Piccadilly Inn Airport offers a combination of comfort, convenience and style with 185 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites. Experience a refreshing change of pace in our outdoor pool, set in a lush tropical setting. Or work off some energy in our fitness center and then relax in our heated outdoor spa.

Dates and Pricing

Jul 24, 2016 - Aug 05, 2016

pricing

2015 prices
$4,895 (11-12 members)
$5,095 (9-10 members)
$5,395 (7-8 members)
$450 single supplement

2016 prices
$4,995 (11-12 members)
$5,195 (9-10 members)
$5,495 (7-8 members)
$500 single supplement

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Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure