Hiking the JMT this Season

All federal lands through which the John Muir Trail travels are now open, subject to regional conditions and limitations. Before starting your hike, confirm that your permit is valid and current (unexpired) and that you are in compliance with each region’s particular requirements. Typical parking and shuttle service may be problematic. Here is a brief update with web site links for your reference.

Yosemite is open by reservation only with limited services and facilities. Walk-up wilderness permits are not available in the park. Instead, wilderness permit reservations are available online using a two-week lottery. Existing wilderness permit reservations for trips originating in Yosemite are still valid. Tioga Road is now open.  Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) is running regularly scheduled routes into Yosemite National Park for those with wilderness permits and reservations. Passengers are required to wear a face mask while onboard the busses and it is encouraged to make ticket reservations online due to reduced bus capacity.
For more info:
Yosemite Park Info
Yosemite Wilderness Permit Info

The Parks are open—no reservations required. Some restaurants and markets are temporarily closed until further notice. Reservations for overnight wilderness permits will be required ahead of park entry, no walk-up permits will be available this summer. Existing wilderness permit reservations are not canceled. No wilderness permit stations will be open.
For more info:
SEKI Parks Info
SEKI Wilderness Permit Info

The Whitney Portal area was evacuated in response to the June 24th earthquake near Lone Pine, CA and subsequent rockslide at Whitney Portal. The Whitney Portal emergency evacuation will be lifted and Horseshoe Meadow Road will re-open on July 2nd by 5:00 pm. The southern area of Whitney Portal is still showing instability in the rockslide area and this area will remain closed. Permits for the Mt. Whitney Trail will begin being issued on July 3rd. 

The Inyo National Forest will be providing wilderness permits through a virtual process. The remaining “walk-up” permits may be reserved through starting up to 14 days in advance of the date of a wilderness trip. If you already have a permit for Mt. Whitney, please note that permits are currently being canceled one week in advance of the hiking start day. Mt. Whitney is a high use trail and where rescues and recoveries are common. Devils Postpile National Monument and Red’s Meadow Road will open on Friday, June 26. However, the Red’s Meadow Shuttle Bus service will not operate this year. Rangers will carefully manage access to the Red’s Meadow Valley by monitoring parking lots and stopping vehicle access to the valley once lots are full. Visitors with wilderness permits will need to carefully plan since holding a wilderness permit does not provide an exception to enter the valley if parking is not available. Be prepared to hike the additional miles from the US Forest Service Gate at Minaret Vista down Red’s Meadow Road to the JMT trailheads. This is a steep descent of 3.5 miles to Agnew Meadows and 8.5 miles to Red’s Meadow Resort.

For more info:
Inyo National Forest info
Inyo Permit Info

Forest officials have extended temporary closures of various developed recreation sites. The orders do not close trails, trailheads, and general forest areas; these areas remain accessible for public use.
For more info:
Sequoia National Forest Info
Sequoia Permit Info

JMT Hiker Resources

Well-prepared hikers are the happiest and safest! Below are links to useful information for planning your John Muir Trail hike. Whether you want to know about snowpack conditions or get some helpful tips on preventing blisters, you will find it all below. If you would like to add any information, please contact us.

Planning your hike

Useful advice and resources from other JMT hikers.

Help provide valuable information to share about hiking the JMT.
Register for the JMT Hiker Survey BEFORE you take your hike.
Promptly when you finish, log back on and fill in all the details of your hike.

Learn from past JMT hikers. Read JMT Hiker Survey reports​ from prior years.

Share your ​trip plans​ and find others who will be hiking at the same time

Share rides & shuttles to your start or finish points. Borrow/lend bear canisters.

A wealth of information from Elizabeth Wenk (JMT guidebook author and valued JMTF board member). Contains information on waypoints, maps, stream crossings, alternates, and bailouts.

A collection of public information about hiking the JMT.
Includes maps and details on planning, packing, terrain, and safety.

JMT Conditions

What it is like on the JMT right now?
These current trail conditions will help you plan and be prepared.

2019 Crowdsourced snow line elevation reports

The 2019 report for stream crossings will be similar to Elizabeth Wenk’s 2017 report

​2019 Snowmelt Conditions​ will be similar to this report from 2017

Sierra Passes and ​Fords report (PDF Download)

JMT Permit Info

Make sure you have all the correct permits for your hike. You will need a wilderness permit to hike the JMT. These permits are in high demand. Make sure to plan well in advance.

Southbound from Yosemite:
You’ll need a permit from Yosemite National Park. These permits are processed via a lottery-system 24 weeks (168 days) before your start date. It is best to apply exactly 168 days in advance: JMT spots usually fill up on the first day reservations are available. Or you can try for last-minute availability in person at a permit station in the park the day before your trip.

Northbound from Mount Whitney:
You’ll need a permit from Inyo National Forest. You can apply for the lottery between February 1 and March 15. On April 1st, online reservations open for the few remaining spots. They do not have walk-in permits.

Official Yosemite permit information

Official Inyo/Mt. Whitney permit information

The Facebook and Yahoo JMT ​Permit FAQ​ on How to Get a JMT Permit

Advice on navigating the ​Inyo National Forest permit system

Campfire / stove permit​ (These are required with Inyo permits)

Yosemite trailhead availability report

Donohue Pass availability chart. An exit quota is in effect for JMT hikers exiting Yosemite over Donohue Pass.


Take care of yourself so you are able to enjoy the hike.
Here are some tips.

Foot Care​ on the JMT – Items to consider getting and why

Blister​ prevention and treatment

JMT ​Altitude ​Acclimatization Guide

JMT Guidebooks

Plan on hiking the JMT? We highly recommend picking up a copy of Elizabeth Wenk’s “John Muir Trail” Guidebook, hard copy or digital. The completely updated edition of this Sierra classic includes significant information found nowhere else. The new John Muir Trail meticulously describes the entire trail, its history, geology and Alpine biology, and is written for today’s hikers. The book includes GPS coordinates for every established campsite and junction, locations of bear boxes, and detailed maps of all key segments of the JMT.

“Wildflowers of the High Sierra and John Muir Trail” by Sierra expert Elizabeth Wenk includes photos and descriptions of approximately 300 species of wildflowers and flowering shrubs in the High Sierra. This concise guide differentiates between species using features easily identifiable to a non-botanist. Descriptions include the species’ common and scientific names, family name, growth form, flowering time, elevation range, region, specific locations on popular trails, and how to identify the plant using color, petal number, leaf shape, height, and more. It is a perfect companion for JMT hikers interested in identifying flowers that they are likely to see on the trail.