John Muir Trail: Northbound to Yosemite National Park | Mountain Travel Sobek

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John Muir Trail: Northbound to Yosemite National Park

Trip Length 13 days

From $5,095

  • Hike 103 miles on one of the world's most scenic wilderness trails and experience California’s Sierra Nevada at its finest
  • Traverse mountain passes through several protected areas, including the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness areas
  • Descend from the Pacific Crest to Yosemitie's Tuolumne Meadows, where the river meanders through one of the largest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada
  • Learn about flora, fauna, and local lore from your expert MTS guides—and travel light with full mule support

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. Along the way you'll traverse mountain passes through several protected areas, including the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness areas—totaling 103 miles through one of the most scenic mountain ranges in the world!  The scenery of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks, countless lakes, huge granite walls, and rich meadows is unsurpassed. While the hiking is tough, with lots of elevation changes to test your legs and lungs, you'll be traveling light with nothing but a day pack. Our team, aided by full mule support, will charge ahead to set up camp in time for your arrival. Expert MTS guides will fill invigorating days on the trail with in-depth knowledge of the flora and fauna, and entertain you with plenty of local legends about the great explorers who first blazed trails in the Sierras. 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
  • Accommodation: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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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 food drop and be treated to a natural hot spring-fed shower.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation: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 15 - 27, 2018

Aug 05 - 17, 2018

pricing

2018 prices
$5,495 (6+ members)
$550 single supplement

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MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel — Fresno

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 103 miles on one of the world's most scenic wilderness trails and experience California’s Sierra Nevada at its finest
  • Traverse mountain passes through several protected areas, including the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness areas
  • Descend from the Pacific Crest to Yosemitie's Tuolumne Meadows, where the river meanders through one of the largest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada
  • Learn about flora, fauna, and local lore from your expert MTS guides—and travel light with full mule support

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. Along the way you'll traverse mountain passes through several protected areas, including the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness areas—totaling 103 miles through one of the most scenic mountain ranges in the world!  The scenery of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks, countless lakes, huge granite walls, and rich meadows is unsurpassed. While the hiking is tough, with lots of elevation changes to test your legs and lungs, you'll be traveling light with nothing but a day pack. Our team, aided by full mule support, will charge ahead to set up camp in time for your arrival. Expert MTS guides will fill invigorating days on the trail with in-depth knowledge of the flora and fauna, and entertain you with plenty of local legends about the great explorers who first blazed trails in the Sierras. 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
  • Accommodation: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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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 food drop and be treated to a natural hot spring-fed shower.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation:MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

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
  • Accommodation: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.

lodgings

MTS Camp — John Muir Trail Northbound

Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel — Fresno

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 15 - 27, 2018

Aug 05 - 17, 2018

pricing

2018 prices
$5,495 (6+ members)
$550 single supplement

Activity Level Strenuous
Trip Length 13 days

From $5,095

Interested in this adventure? Take the next step and book it!

Got questions?

Call us at 1-888-831-7526
or click here!

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure