Explore the most popular hiking 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.

Wow what a beast. Beautiful. Raw. Unforgiving. Warrior creators. Memory of a lifetime.

23 hours ago

I hiked this trail on 9/20/18. Beautiful weather. Not a cloud in the perfectly blue sky. Temperature was around 70 degrees. September is a great month to hike this area. Temperatures are perfect and there are no mosquitos!

I hiked this on a Thursday so it wasn’t very crowded. Moderate is a good rating for this trail. Several lakes and running water along the way to filter water. I had cellular service (AT&T) along most parts of the trail. A plus for those who want to send pictures to friends and family while you’re hiking. Amazing views and beautiful lakes. Definitely a must do trail.

1 day ago

Did this hike on Sept 3, 2018. It was one of the most picturesque hikes I’ve ever done. First and Second Lake were breathtakingly beautiful. Hubby and I turned around at Second Lake because storm clouds were headed our way and we didn’t want to hike back down in the rain in the dark. A few of our friends were able to get camping permits and stayed overnight to climb Temple Crag. They got up 6 pitches and came back down because storm clouds were approaching. Can’t wait to come back.

All fails at its best....posting reviews from people that didnt do the hike......turning back at lake 2 is
not what this hike is about....if you dont do the hike don't comment.....difference between turning back at lake 2 and completing the hike is about 1400 feet elevation gain....not for kids or quiters....if you do the hike, one of the best in the Eastern Sierra, but probably should be rated "hard" as you can see most people don't complete the hike.

Hiked to the glacier from 3rd lake on a recent backpacking trip in late August. We did not anticipate the amount of bouldering required at the last leg toward the glacier. At this point, the trail is no longer marked besides some cairns so be sure pay attention on your route so you can return the way you came. Be cautious following the rock cairns as people have put them off trail and we made the mistake of following some to basically a very steep rocky slope that my husband and I did not feel comfortable descending. Very easy to get off trail heading back down from the bouldering section so pay attention!! :) Otherwise, a wonderful hike with an amazing reward at the end. The glacier was stunning and a great back drop for a snack before heading back.

Group of 7 of us hiked on Sep 15, 2018. Started on the trail at about 1:15am and spent about 21+ hours. It is a challenging hike, both up and down. But it is well marked and you will have your destination (hut at the summit) in sight for a majority of the hike. We encountered strong wind gusts all the way up which made it a bit more challenging. Break the hike into five sections and should be less taxing mentally, section 1: trail head to lone pine lake, section 2: lone pine lake to outpost camp, section 3: outpost camp to trail camp, section 4: trail camp to trail crest and section 5: trail crest to the summit. Section 4 with the 99 switchbacks and Section 5 with the windows were the most challenging parts of the hike. Hiking in the dark with headlamps was no issue.

All in all, an awesome hike and highly recommend it. Happy trails!

My wife and I won an overnight lottery. We camped at Trail Camp and reached the peak on September 21, 2018. Could not have asked for a better weather day. So stunningly beautiful! Definitely train for this hike.

Did the hike back in August, the weather was perfect. Went all the way to 6th lake, wish I had got a overnight pass so I could enjoy the lakes more. Incredible views & when the wind blows just right you can feel the chill breeze from the glacier.

I did this hike on September 19th 2018. started at 4:35 am and reached the peak at noon. It's an extremely beautiful hike with lots of streams down lower and several lakes! this is one you must train for and try your luck with the lottery!

For those who’ve been on the trail recently, what are the weather conditions at the top of the mountain, ie lowest Temperature, wind speed, rainfall?

Amazing hike with beautiful hot springs and pools. The topo map shows six pools but we found 10. Keep to the main trail on the north side of the mountain beyond the end of what is shown in this app and you will see small side trails leading off to the south and southeast that go to the pools. Do not try to bushwhack through the heavy grass and brush; although you can get there that way it is much more difficult and unnecessary. The “King’s pool” at the very top has a stunning view and is worth the extra work to get up the steep hill.
There are well established campsites along the end of the trail and most are fairly close to the pools.
As others have mentioned the hike is longer than reported, according to our Fitbit and apps we hiked 12 to 13 miles each way.

Great quiet trail. Lots of climbing but not big steps. As mentioned river crossing earlier this year was impassable without literally swimming across a section higher up than the normal crossing. Late this season it was easy. Right now (mid September) it was pretty cool in the early afternoon, and zero bugs. Tom Harrison map says it is 11.2 miles round trip from the lodge to the lake. It used to say 7 something miles here. Now it says 8.3. Not sure what is correct, felt hard, but we got a late start and had to hike quickly.

6 days ago

The best hike ever. Very hard. And I if you think San Gorgonio is hard then you shouldn't go to Mt Whitney. I had an early start at 2am end up on summit at 9am. Clear sky a little windy but doable. Sunrise was amazing.Train for this hike,plan it smart.Be ready. Good luck.

loved the trail. It starts at high elevation, think about 9300 but didn't feel any different. The views are just fantastic. Blue lake is beautiful but had lots of people around. We went further to Dingleberry lake which was amazing and a lot less crowded(adding a little unintended detour on the way as well), clocked about 9.8 miles. It was too late to continue further to midnight lake but that is just another mile or so further for those who start out earlier than we did.

A second trip to this wonderful place is in store with the family. Went with the Fresno Fly Fishers for Conservation and this hike to long lake was awesome. Highly recommend for all ages.

Great trail. Went to Trail Camp. No summit due to high winds. This map appears to be wrong, though, as there is no identifiable trail to consultation lake where it shows one. Not sure how one would ever get to the lake from where this map shows

We really enjoyed this trail. If you're not in a hurry stop at all the lakes along the way, it's well worth it. We didn't find it too strenuous but we were only packed for a day hike.

A must for day hikers. The wind really kicked up today. Always bring a jacket. It was cold most of the day.

Hiked on 7 Sep. Started at Trailhead at 3:05 AM. Finished at Trailhead 7:55 PM. Weather: Low of 45, high of 60, sunny and very little wind (perfect)

Training: I live in Kansas so training at altitude is a bit problematic. I hiked a bit at RMNP a few months before to get a feel for altitude. Other than that I would hike locally but nothing over 10 miles. I used the stair master (3x week) for up to an hour and squatted (2-3x week). I got a pretty bad head cold two weeks out and shut down my training to get fully healed as a headcold at altitude could suck. My group went fairly slowly and I felt fully conditioned. A bit of soreness in my calves the next day but none in my quads or hammies.

Prep: We arrived two days prior and camped at Horseshoe Meadows two nights before. There was plenty of sites available and it helped us get used to altitude. The night before we camped at the trailhead. Again plenty of space in the walk up campground. Parking was tight but as the afternoon wore on and people came off of the mountain there was plenty. The store has any last minute things you need.

Actual Hike: Our group of five hit the trail at 3:05 AM. We took the old trailhead (located at the really big boulder on the far side of the parking lot road past the store). My pack (including poles, water and food) weighed in at 17lbs. Things were easy and we hit trail camp a bit after sunup. We refilled on water here. At trail crest we took a snack break and reached the summit about 11:30. We stayed for an hour. Some of the group was gassed from the way up and we traveled pretty slowly back down arriving back at the trailhead a bit before 8 PM. That means we had to finish by headlamp which was a bit off putting. Overall the trail was very easy to follow, between trail crest and the summit there are some rocky pieces but nothing that you can call scrambling. For hydration I used a 100 oz bladder and actually finished it between trail head and trail camp.

Equipment: Shoes- Garmont approach shoes, they performed like champs and provided great
traction on the rocky sections. Pack- Granite gear Leopard 46. Lightweight and performed as advertised. It was bigger than I needed but since I had to fly in it was my bag on the plane. Clothes- Silky poly pro top as base layer. Due to the warmth/lack of wind it was my only layer almost the entire time. It wicked the sweat well and I felt dry and comfortable. For my bottom layer I wore Prana stretch Zion pants and they were great as always . All the other clothes stayed in the pack. For navigation I used a paper map (1:64k) and a Garmin foretrex 301. The Garmin is old and you can't download maps to it so it sucked for establishing time/distance to travel due to all the switchbacks. As a work around I tracked elevation as my metric which allowed me to compare my real time elevation with upcoming landmarks.

What I would do differently next time: 1) Think out a better water resupply plan/method. Our group (5 people) had one filter. We filled at trail camp both coming and going and to fill five camel backs, put them back in the pack etc. took 30 minutes each time. 2) Rig my camelback on a side pouch on my pack. I saw someone near the end of the hike with that and saw how I could reduce the five minute process of installing and removing the camelback from the inside of my pack to a 30 second process. 3) Not bring poles. This is YMMV, but I am not used to poles and feel I have greater balance and mobility without them on the rocky portions. I dabbled with them on the way down starting at the switchbacks but gave them away to someone we came across who had twisted their ankle. My knees and legs felt fine both on the trail and the next day. Probably if I watch a youtube on how to use them and practice my attitude towards them will change.

Overall a great experience.

Definitely a difficult hike for me. I didn’t know what to expect from this hike and completely underestimated it. For starters, we did not bring enough food or water, as it took us nearly 3 1/2 hours to get to the lake. We drank from the fast-moving river and were fine.
Uphill climbing most of the way. It was about 85°-90° and once you start the climb up the face of the mountain, it is all direct sunlight so bring sunscreen.
From the top, it was another 30 minutes to the lake. I was beat! My husband was a great motivator and kept us moving. We made it to willow lake and it was beautiful. Marshy and spotted pools of water as the water level was fairly low. Were there Labor Day weekend and there was barely anyone else there which was nice.
The way back took us about an hour and a half and got back at dusk. If I were to do it again, I’d definitely better prepare ourselves and it would make a huge difference.

The next day we did north fork trail to the seven lakes and it was absolutely stunning. We were much better prepared and although moderately challenging still, we enjoyed every step of it.

12 days ago

Wonderful hike! Moderate uphill climb to the lakes, about 5.5 miles (11-12 total). Heavily shaded in most areas. We were plenty prepared with food and water, although, we did drink from the stream at vigorous areas and were fine. Ton of fish in the lakes. The first two lakes were gorgeous and barely anyone around! We did this hike Labor Day weekend and expected it to be heavily trafficked. We want to go back and get an overnight pass—absolutely breathtaking.

12 days ago

Loved this hike as well. My husband and I hiked with two kids in backpacks (ages 1.5 + 3.5) - 2nd lake was our lunch and turn-around spot. Everyone loved it and had a great time. We clocked 12 miles in our RT and it was 4 up for our crew and a pretty quick 2 down. Definitely take a filter for more water if you take littles. For perspective - we are in good shape and live at 6000k, pack weights were probably 30 and 50 lbs respectively. It was a big day - but so worth it.

One of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done! The beginning is a little rough because of how exposed you are, so I’d start early! I hiked it alone and felt totally comfortable! I cannot wait to go back and do the loop again! I would say it’s 14 miles.

This is stunner. I do it every time I visit the area. One of my very favorites. Word of caution for older hikers with bad knees, hips, etc, however. Allow extra time for return due to multiple "steps" as you approach trailhead. I did this hike again yesterday. I had no trouble with altitude since I live in the mountains. Took me three hours to reach Gem Lake including 30 min lunch stop at Long Lake. Took four hours to return from Gem Lake to parking area since I really had to take my time on the descent due to my bad knees. Probably best to allow 8 hours to be on the safe side. Best to get started early morning due to limited parking also. Bring hiking poles to save those knees! Those with no knee issues will complete this hike much faster though. Enjoy! It's a beauty.

Just beautiful! I think the mileage for this loop may be seriously off. We only went to the 2nd Lake and turned back around to return to Glacier Lodge but recorded over 12 miles in doing just that. I recommend lots of sunscreen and taking a water filter. If you run out of water, there’s tons of water along the way. I would love to return and backpack the lakes.

Awesome! The first 3 lakes are the most beautiful with the blue green color. The black lake was also really nice and peaceful. If you have the time and energy, I think it’s worth it to do the whole loop, because at the end you get a really nice view of the first and second lakes. We made it an all day adventure, and spent 10 hours on the trail taking nice breaks and napping. Next time I’d get an overnight permit and camp up there!

Did this trail on September 7th and had a wonderful time. We weren’t sure we’d be able to do it, considering the creek crossing. We followed the trail to 2 possible places to cross, and felt that they were too deep and fast moving. We scrambled over some boulders a little further up and found a better place to cross. It was just over knee high deep. We took our shoes off and crossed pretty easily. There’s a really nice overlook about halfway through the hike, and brainerd lake is really nice as well. We took our time, and stopped for lots of pictures, and we got back to trailhead after about 9 hours. The trail itself is very beautiful and pretty shady. If you’re in the area doing the upper fork to the lakes, I think it’s worth spending a day to also do the south fork. Sorry I accidentally deleted my map, but it showed that it was 11 miles round trip, I don’t know where everyone is getting 8.5!

Moderate is a fair rating for this trail. Decent inclines but spectacular views. Not too crowded and plenty of water around if you have a filter.

Everyone has said it all but an awesome hike, awesome place to camp and incredibly beautiful scenery everywhere along the way!

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