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HomeAdventure15 Perfect John Muir Path Campsites – Bearfoot Principle

15 Perfect John Muir Path Campsites – Bearfoot Principle

Most of the people take about 3 weeks to hike the John Muir Path, this means that you’ll get to experience 20+ nights of epic alpine tenting. Lots of the JMT is above the tree line and also you’ll have nightly alternatives to set your self up for improbable sunsets, moonrises, Milky Techniques, and sunrises. Water for cooking and ingesting is all over the place and flat, established campsites are abundant, particularly if you happen to’re prepared to hike a part mile or extra off the primary hall.

Don’t concern about mapping out the place you will camp every night time, as a result of your tempo will alternate right through your hike, however there are a couple of memorable puts you’ll need to purpose for in case your legs are prepared and sunlight is for your aspect. Right here’s an inventory of one of the crucial perfect John Muir Path campsites that you simply’ll need to have for your radar as you propose your path.

This weblog publish used to be firstly written by means of BFT Founder, Kristen, who hiked the John Muir Path Southbound in 2014. It used to be up to date in 2022 by means of Mary Caperton Morton of The Blonde Coyote who hiked the John Muir Path Northbound in 2020. It comprises probably the most not too long ago to be had knowledge.

1) Decrease Cathedral Lake (SOBO Mile 17)

This Yosemite lake is unbelievable for a couple of causes. First, get quintessential perspectives of needle-sharp Cathedral Height which on a peaceful day paperwork a great mirrored image within the lake. Then, if you happen to stroll out to the West finish of the lake, you’ll be able to watch the sundown over Tenaya Lake within the Valley underneath.

*Observe: Decrease Cathedral Lake is positioned about 1/2 mile off of the John Muir Path and calls for a brief aspect path.

Cathedral Lakes Campsite on the John Muir Trail

2) Thousand Island Lake (SOBO Mile 43)

There aren’t slightly 1,000 islands in Thousand Island Lake however there are sufficient islands to make this lake one of the crucial picture-perfect postcard-worthy scenes of the JMT. The most efficient perspectives and campsites are alongside the north aspect of the lake, the place you’ll have uninterrupted perspectives around the water towards 12,936-foot Banner Height.  Bear in mind that a couple of older, unofficial websites are inside 200 ft of the lake, too as regards to the lake for as of late’s Go away No Hint requirements. They’re flat and glance inviting, however please pitch your tent at a website online above the coastline (just like the campsite underneath).

A person sips out of mug looking out at 1000 Islands Lakes on the John Muir Trail from their campsite
Picture credit score: Mary Caperton Morton

3) Garnet Lake (SOBO Mile 45)

There’s a reason why this lake used to be certainly one of Ansel Adam’s favourite puts to {photograph}. Banner and Ritter Peaks emerging within the distance, wonderful swimming, and dozens of tree-covered islands dotting the lake make it one of the vital extra recognizable lakes within the Sierras.

Garnet Lake on the John Muir Trail

4) Lake Ediza Junction (SOBO Mile 47)

If you’re available in the market you’ll begin to see that the afternoon solar is a vital part of an amazing campsite and a couple of websites across the Lake Ediza junction be offering simply that. Past Lake Ediza, you descend right down to Shadow Lake, which is lovely, however shady because the title implies. So prevent right here and delight in the ones rays till the solar units in the back of the jagged ridge to the west. Whilst the creek will be too shallow to swim in, photographers will love the morning mirrored image of the mountains within the creek.

Lake Ediza Junction camping on the John Muir Trail

5) Minarets Lake Loop (SOBO Mile 47) 

For a shockingly scenic bonus JMT aspect challenge that starts on the Lake Ediza Junction, believe mountaineering the Ediza and Minaret Lakes Loop, which makes a semi-circle off the JMT between the Ediza Junction and Johnston Meadow. We loved one of the vital perfect John Muir Path campsites between Cecile and Minaret Lakes. This 8.5-mile loop doesn’t upload any important mileage to a JMT hike (you’ll be skipping an 8.1-mile phase between Shadow Creek and Johnston Lake) and the perspectives of the enduring and spiky Minarets around the prime lakes basin are certainly definitely worth the detour.

A man makes food next to his tent on the Minarets Lake Loop on the John Muir Trail
Picture credit score: Mary Caperton Morton

6) Virginia Lake (SOBO Mile 72)

We didn’t keep right here as a result of we idea it used to be too early to prevent for the day, so we had a pleasant lengthy lunch, did some swimming, and persisted on. As we left the lake, a deep sense of remorseful about began to sink in, and we agreed that we must’ve camped right here. At the west aspect of the lake, there are dozens of flat and personal spots to arrange store that offer simple lake get admission to and lovely perspectives.

Lake Virginia camping on the John Muir Trail

7) Vermillion Valley Hotel (SOBO Mile 88)

In 2020 when Mary hiked the JMT, the ferry throughout Lake Edison wasn’t working so she needed to hike 13 miles off-trail to get to and from Vermillion Valley Hotel. By way of sheer good fortune, she confirmed up on BBQ night time and the scrumptious sizzling meal, sizzling showers, laundry, hiker field resupply, and camaraderie with different hikers made the detour price each step. VVR’s old-time normal retailer and tent tenting house isn’t barren region tenting, however it’s going to fill your canteen in additional techniques than one so we needed to come with it in our favourite JMT campsites.

*Observe: As of 2022, the ferry is again in provider and most often runs from July to October.

A BBQ grill full of meat and veggies at Vermillion Valley Resort camping and resupply on the John Muir Trail
Picture Credit score: Mary Caperton Morton

8) Endure Creek (SOBO Mile 96)

You come across Endure Creek after an extended sizzling, dusty hike up and over Endure Ridge, and whilst you after all succeed in Endure Creek’s idyllic swimming holes, you’ll be death for a spot to chill off. So take a dip and loosen up the remainder of the day at the large flat granite boulders which might be scattered right through the center of the cascades.

Bear Creek camping on the John Muir Trail

9) Marie Lakes (SOBO Mile 99)

The campsites at Marie Lakes are smack dab in the course of a type of iconic granite lake basins created by means of the long-lost glaciers of the Sierra. Right through the ultimate glaciation, an enormous mass of ice sat on this bowl between 10,898 foot Selden Move and the 13,075-foot Seven Gables. All that weight gouged out the smattering of depressions that at the moment are the Marie Lakes, Medley Lakes, and 3 Thousand Islands Lakes. Surrounded by means of lakes you’ll be handled to a fantastic lightshow at the water and a silvery granite skyline at each first light and sundown.

Sunset at Marie Lakes on the JMT
Picture Credit score: Mary Caperton Morton

10) McClure Meadow (SOBO Mile 119)

The night time we spent in McClure Meadow came about to be a complete moon, and staring at the moonrise above Evolution Basin used to be one of the crucial impressive issues I’ve noticed in my lifestyles. There may be a pretty meandering creek the place you’ll be able to watch the sundown and soak your sore ft.

McClure Meadow on the John Muir Trail

11) Evolution Basin and Darwin Bench (SOBO Mile 122) 

Evolution Lake is every other improbable John Muir Path campsite, the place Mary and her mountaineering spouse stuck a number of Golden trout. After putting in place camp and striking our meals they hiked as much as Darwin Bench, a dangling lakes basin that overlooks Evolution Basin. This used to be a impressive spot to understand the ghosts of glaciers previous that after overtopped all however the very best peaks within the Sierra. 

A NEMO Hornet 2 backpacking tent set up at Evolution Lake on the John Muir Trail
Picture credit score: Mary Caperton Morton

12) Lakes North of Pinchot Move (SOBO Mile 159)

Not like different spaces at the path, the mountains round Pinchot Move are ruled by means of neon purple hues that remove darkness from all the way through the alpenglow hour. There are a number of remoted lakes to choose between, so have your select and experience the ones beautiful colours.

7 - Pinchot Pass

13) Center Rae Lake (SOBO Mile 172)

Center Rae Lake will be one of the vital busier campsites you come upon at the path, however it’s for a reason why. Superior swimming, iconic peaks like Fin Dome and the Painted Woman, and one of the crucial maximum supreme first light reflections make it price striking up with a small crowd.

8 - Rae Lakes

14) Bighorn Plateau (SOBO Mile 196)

Bighorn Plateau gives unheard of perspectives of the night time sky, and it’s additionally the place you get your first glimpse of Mt. Whitney. Being on a flat expanse totally above the treeline, Bighorn Plateau is a smart position to observe some night time pictures. Alternatively, you must handiest camp at the plateau if the sky is apparent. Getting stuck up there in a thunderstorm is not just unsightly however may also be very unhealthy.

Mt. Whitney from Bighorn Plateau on the John Muir Trail
Mt. Whitney from Bighorn Plateau | Picture Credit score: Mary Caperton Morton

15) Above Guitar Lake (SOBO Mile 206)

The whole lot I learn main as much as my hike used to be that Guitar Lake used to be the ultimate position to get water ahead of heading as much as Mt. Whitney. In consequence, that’s the place most of the people spend their ultimate night time at the path. Simply ahead of Guitar Lake, we ran right into a ranger who instructed us that if we stored going a few 1/2 mile above Guitar Lake there have been a sequence of small unnamed lakes, so we made up our minds to test it out. It ended up being the most efficient resolution.

Guitar Lake will get chilly and shady early within the afternoon, however the small lake above it presented solitude, late-day solar, and a fantastic view of the solar environment in the back of Guitar Lake. We couldn’t have requested for a greater option to spend our ultimate night time at the John Muir Path.

10 - Above Guitar Lake

>> See our whole John Muir Path archive

Do you’ve any questions on tenting at the JMT? What are your favourite John Muir Path campsites? Tell us within the feedback!

Hiking the John Muir Trail means 20+ nights of epic camping. Here are the 15 best campsites on the John Muir Trail you won't want to miss.

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