Explore the most popular backpacking trails in John Muir Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 days ago

Just hiked it on 5-20-18 with my dog. There is clear trail for about 1/4 mile if your lucky enough to find that section. After that it’s pretty much snowpack the whole way. Lots of postholing. Snowshoes recommended. Pretty much guessing where the trail was and made plenty wrong turns. Ended up following some ski tracks and made it to Barney. All the lakes were still frozen and made for some gorgeous views. Skelton from above was by far my favorite view. Mid thaw, valley down below, mountains to the right, beautiful! The snow made it tough but well worth the effort. Got to watch some backcountry skiers come down one of the mountains above Barney too. Awesome!

Did this last Sunday with great snow conditions above iceberg lake. The route provides a great mixture of scrambling, route finding, technical and highly technical sections. The 400 ft above the notch was turned into an exposed class 4 because of the fresh snow from the night before and icy rocks. Awesome route!

Whitney in May is totally where it's at. I climbed it on a Saturday with a group of 3 in one day and maybe 10-15 other folks made it to the top. The lack of crowds was fantastic and it was a load of fun. Be prepared for snow and ice and it's good to have crampons and an ice axe for going up (and glissading down) the chute. We left at 4am, summited at 11:30 and got back at 5pm and it was great but did make very good time. If you're somewhat less experienced, of recommend leaving an hour earlier but it's really not too bad of a hike. During be summer months, I think it's akin to San Gorgonio just shifted up a few thousand feet (which does make a big difference) and during the winter, it's a perfect place to work on beginner mountaineering skills. Overall, a fantastic mountain and the tallest in the lower 48!!!

Just finished this hike last Saturday. We camped at the Outpost camp Friday night and headed for the summit at 5am Saturday. We reached the summit around noon, with clouds rolling in, just in time to start heading down before the weather got bad.

Conditions were generally good, with snow cover starting around 11k feet.

It honestly lives up to hype with the sights to see. It is a challenge despite what other reviews might say. It’s continuously uphill and the altitude climb can really get to you (nausea, dizziness, and headaches). It takes about 2-3 hrs to get to the first lake depending on how many times you stop to rest. Bring lots of water/snacks and come prepared for a nice challenge. You’ll be sore but if you can push through it then it’s worth it. Lakes are beautiful blue green water and the views truly are breathtaking.

Did this monster hike in one day (July, 2013’) instead of backpacking it in.
This is definitely for experienced hikers...if you are prepared and if you are an avid hiker this trail is for you!

Gorgeous hike! Stunning vistas. When we started the gate wasn’t open, but it is now. Lucky hikers can park and start right at the trailhead!
We had hiking shoes and were fine, but micro spikes would have worked well today, -still large spots with snow, though melting quickly. Snowshoes as you get deeper would surely come in handy. We turned back 3 miles in (we started late) but I imagine our shoes would have taken us all the way. Just be careful as the snow is melting and it’s easier to fall through.

Hiked this trail with a group of 13 people in 5th grade in 2015. Took 8 days and was the most amazing experience of my life. I do not like the views from the day trip as it is way more difficult and not as beautiful. It is a brutal way to take in the elevation. I strongly suggest doing the full long trail. I will be going back this summer. It is a mind blowing experience and if a 5th grader can do it, you can too.

Mt Whitney in spring. Enough said.

I hiked this trail 5 times as part of John Muir Trail and few other times just for Mount Whitney. I like it in winter or early spring. I always hike it in one day. I like the views from the Trail Crest, the Marmors and the summit. I don’t like the switchbacks when there are crowds.

Many times, in winter only, solo most times, once with friends

First attempt may 5th 2017. Left at 3am for a one day climb but 3 miles in the trail disappeared. Continued climbing up another 3 miles weather started getting bad, extreme high winds and 2 ft of snow dropped that day. Decided to go back to base camp disappointed we couldn't continue. 1 guy was found dead that previous week and a couple went missing that same weekend. It can be dangerous during snow season but easy during summer. You always have to make the right calls to stay alive. I plan on going back and finish the hike.

9-29-18

Left the portal at 4am with a flashlight,as the batteries were dying the sun was rising! Don’t know if this is some kind of close to record time but I was back down at the Portal by a quarter to 2.
I was in my forties and super fit(USCF rider)
In any case it was a spectacular hike...recommend it to anyone who loves majestic views.Just get yourself in some kind of shape....it will be much more enjoyable.

we did this in ice and snow in 2k17. it was an awesome challenge and we completed it in one day from the Whitney trailhead. The switchbacks were closed due to snow so we had to climb the chute, that was the best part other than the summit. I'm doing it twice this year! This place is amazing, truly.

backpacking
3 months ago

Camped overnight at Barney.

Like Mr Dave I did this hike when I was 19 or 20! We went up in 1 day stayed in lone pine as well what a wonderful place! You defiantly should bring a water purifier and I would suggest stopping at the first camp to acclimate. I may have to try the lottery to see where I stand at 44 years old- cheers to all!

fishing
4 months ago

Hiked this trail early October. Tough fishing at Duck Lake but awesome scenery.

Truly a "gem" of a hike - the views are spectacular! Starting at 10K, but not a lot of elevation gain in the hike. Did this over the summer, but created my account in January, so we did NOT go in the winter!

Great hike! The road to the trailhead is closed due to snow 1.3 miles short of the trailhead. Luckily others had hiked before us so the snow was slightly packed out. When my gps said we were .8 away from gem lake the footprints stopped. The snow was now too deep, in my opinion, to posthole for another mile and it was getting late so we turned around. Still a beautiful hike!

I am an old man now and have not done this in a long time, longer than I care to admit. Fees, permits, reservations were not required, you need to check into that these days.
Went up and down it numerous times in one day in my 20's I still could

I recommend doing Whitney it’s worth all the hard work. I hiked Whitney from the backside while hiking the JMT

We went up to Bishop for a night with our pup two weeks ago and decided to try our hand at this trail—glad we did. Every turn gave you a new breathtaking view of snow tipped mountains and several lakes. We even saw a few people playing ice hockey on a frozen lake! We aren’t experienced hikers, but the intensity of the trail was doable with a few breaks along the way. Due to a flare up of an old back injury, we turned around with a mile left before the turnaround, unfortunately. It took us about 4 hours for 5.5 miles and the views and experience were definitely worth putting in the miles!

What a beast! Yet this hike is also the most rewarding and my all time favorite hike to date. It is best to hike this one over multiple days of possible, preferably over three days so the 11 mike decent after a 5 mike ascent doesn’t kill you. Overall I cannot wait to get back to this mountain sometime next year.

Coming down is harder than going up.
:)

This hike is amazing. The hike down is even more amazing. Worth the drive and I would love to do it again. I brought my 7 year old daughter and she didn’t give up, but she is used to hikes like this and we took breaks.

Two of us did this trail on 10/20/17. 2 nights 3 days.

When we started at the trailhead about 10:30 in the morning. There was a strong wind blowing at near 70 miles an hour. We knew the winds were supposed to die down in the afternoon.

It took us about 6+ hours to make it to Sawmill lake were we camped. Only had about an hour of daylight left to set up. Very nice camp. Next time I’ll bring my tarp and hammock instead.

Next morning we packed just the essentials and went out on a day hike trying to summit Colosseum. Late start and a bunch of time loss navigating kept us from summiting the mountain.

Third day we packed out thinking it would be an easy trek mostly downhill. It wasn’t easy.

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