Looking for a great trail in John Muir Wilderness, California? AllTrails has 55 great hiking trails, trail running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Gearing up for a challenge? There are 33 hard trails in John Muir Wilderness ranging from 5.1 to 82.3 miles and from 4,606 to 14,475 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!





nature trips


bird watching


wild flowers



trail running

dogs on leash

dog friendly



horseback riding


no dogs

rock climbing

kid friendly

Went in mid May and there was way more snow and ice then we planned for. Went most way up the switchbacks(which were completely snowed over) before having to come back down. Amazing views not too busy. Definitely recommend doing it in 2 days if you can that way you can enjoy it more than just pushing to get up and back in a reasonable amount of time. Definitely planning to go again probably closer to August though ;)

Incredible trail and scenery and our group stayed for two nights with a day hike up to Mills Lake.

Definitely want to come back during summer or a fall color trip would be super pretty!! Beautiful area. Easy for the kiddos!

Excellent day hike. Blue lake shore line on the east side is a great stop. Flat smooth rocks at the waters edge make for perfect R and R. Soak up some rays, eat some lunch, and if it's summer take a dip in the chilly water.

I did this hike 20 something years ago and still can't stop thinking about the lakes and views. I am planning to do this again with my son. I was in great shape then, so I don't know if it will be hard this time around, but I do know it is worth it.

What an amazing and epic hike this is. Truly tests your willpower, lungs, and quads. Altitude can be an issue even for the most fit, so please make sure to practice altitude hikes before your trip and acclimate if at all possible! Will never forget this hike!

23 days ago

Very beautiful. I’ve done it twice and it’s one of my favorite!

1 month ago

This is a good beginner’s hike to introduce you to the elevation and the beauty of the John Muir Wilderness.
For this hike you will need to park in the North Lake Hiker Parking lot. Next follow the dirt road southwest to the North Lake Campground and once in the campground locate the trailhead next to the public restrooms.
This trail leads to Lamarck Lake also, but after about 0.75 mi. you’ll see the Grass Lake option on your left (south) and after .25 mi. you’ll arrive at the lake.
Along the way, enjoy the great experience of the wilderness as you pass rolling streams serenaded by swaying branches… a great introduction to the area!

This is a good hike,but be prepared. we hiked yesterday (8/1/18). We started at 1am and I would recommend starting between 12-1am (especially if you are planning on hiking at a 10 hour or slower pace!). The views are amazing and hiking with the moon is really cool. The way the weather is I would recommend leaving the top by 10. The 3.5 miles on the crest take a while and is dangerous when the storm starts. The last water is on switch back 23ish. It's good clean water right from a spring. If it rains the trail rivals any major water park. The trail will become a river. It rained while we were on the switch backs and you will get wet. The puddles are unavoidable. I had fun hiking and splashing on the way down in the rain. I loved this hike and would do it again.
This mountain is not a joke, if you are hiking do research, train before you go, and bring all the proper gear (a good rain coat) Be Safe and have fun.

Breathtaking, stunning, wonderful. Lake 2 is nice if you need to get back. Bring your camera!

Hard work for a Great view, winter conditions require you to bring show shoes and spikes once you near First Lake.

Did this back in August as part of the JMT to get our resupply. The pass can get challenging if you have 45lb packs on....otherwise a nice hike!

This was one of the best trails I’ve ever done. August 2017. Still holds true today.

One of our favorites. We have gone to third lake as a day hike and then 2 years later backpacked there and slackpacked to sixth. We lost the trail and never made it to seventh as there was a storm rolling in. Make sure to get your permit if you are overnight as we did get checked. Both trips were in July and beautiful. The first on the fourth we had patches of snow at third lake and the second at the end of the month no snow was left.

Hello all,
I am planning to do that trail on next Saturday (the 22nd), weather looks good to do it. I will drive down from Santa Cruz on Friday and start the hike on Saturday. I still do not know if I want to do it in one day or two days and sleeping at Trail Camp. I am looking for people to join me. Open to suggestion. Thanks. PM @ theoche_83@hotmail.com

2 months ago

I did a couple of nights on the trail and opted for the counterclockwise route from Black Lake to First Lake (~20 miles with all the side trips). Less crowded campsites are Fifth Lake and Summit Lake. Explored all the seven lakes including Black Lake and Summit Lake. Reserved permits are hard to come by, but easy to obtain walk-in permits in October

2 months ago

One of my favorite short trails! Gorgeous mountain and lake views with abundant water sources (passing through seven lakes in 3.5 miles)! Nice campsites along Heart Lake, Chickenfoot Lake and Gem Lake. Fishing is good in most lakes. Perfect for older dogs. Very crowded and hard to find parking during summer. Permits are hard to come by, but walk-ins are very doable.

Beautiful lake views as you go with stunning snow capped mountains in the distance. Truly an invigorating hiking experience!

2 months ago

We did it on October 19th 2018, there was snow on the trail so we had to use spikes. Since it was my first high altitude hike did the telescope peak in death valley day before to get acclimated. Trail is beautiful but you won't have lot of time to enjoy the views if u want to finish the hike on time. Started hike at 3:30am summited around 1 PM and finished it around 8:30pm. I carried 4 litter of water but hardly used 2 liters since I don't drink that much water on my hikes but would recommend carrying 4 liters. One of hiker from our team ran out of water ended up headind back since he couldn't find water on the trail.

2 months ago

Backpacked one night (Dec. 1-2nd). This was my third time on this trail. I was hoping to reach the top of the first lake, between the first and second, to get a good morning photo. I got a late start and the snow kept me from even making the first lake. I ended up camping at the Cabin and didn't have enough time to continue on. Can't say what the conditions are after the Cabin, but expect deeper snow. It was about knee deep in most places and deeper after the first falls. Its all fresh snow and soft.
Overall amazing trail in summer and winter. Temps were around 1-5F at night with a negative wind chill, but the wind died down. It was about 11F this morning around 8am. Nice easy hike down after plowing.

I was wearing outer shells and snow shoes. I'll post some pics. Happy backpacking.

Recent snowfall from Nov 29/30 will make your trek longer if you decide to do the full loop...not sure what the conditions look like as I only hiked a mile in to scope out the trail and will return in the spring! It is gorgeous. If someone does the full loop with the current snow let us know the conditions and time!

Pretty lakes & mountains with snow caps

2 months ago

Easy but beautiful trail. All I want to see is the second lake!

2 months ago

I LOVED this hike. It's about 11 mi round trip if you go to lakes 1-3. We went on November 23 which was the day after the first snowfall, and it was gorgeous -- I could see it getting slippery in certain places once the snow has a chance to melt and refreeze a couple of times. Nothing insurmountable, but hiking poles could be helpful in the winter.

As far as the level of hike -- I was bracing myself because people have been citing it as a pretty challenging hike, but there was not any particularly challenging moment -- the distance makes it tiring and by the end I was feeling my legs running out of steam, but neither my partner nor I are overly active (we've recently been doing a 2-3 mile hike maybe once a week and yoga maybe once or twice a week, in addition to daily walks with our dog) and it was totally doable with enough water, snacks, and layers. The way up is pretty consistently uphill, but you're not climbing boulders the whole time or anything; it's just a mountain!

Timing -- I think that for the average healthy person, 7-8 hours is probably a good amount of time to give the hike if you want to stop for photos, food, exploration. We left just before 8:30, got to the 1st lake around 11 AM, meandered to the 2nd and 3rd lakes and back to the 1st again, stopped for some food and chatting (and some dog play between our dogs and other awesome dogs on the trail), and were on our way down around 12:45, then back to the car by 3 PM.

I can't wait to come back and see how the lakes look in other seasons. Can't recommend this hike enough.

Stunning hike but we got a bit lost between Lakes 5-7 as the ground was covered in snow and we couldn’t find the trails (hiked November 24th). Might be advisable to turn around after lake 3 in snowy conditions if you’re not familiar with the route.

Wow. Did this a while back. Stayed the night at the trail head to acclimate, hit the trail the next morning. Setup camp at 10k feet or so and had terrible elevation sickness. Migraine from 3pm till the end of the next day (bottom of the mountain). Day 2 we hiked from 10k to summit and then all the way down. Though it was the worst hike ever, it was one of the best hikes ever! With so little light pollution, the stars at night are freaking amazing!

2 months ago

This was the perfect hike! A little challenging due to the distance and carrying about 25 pounds, but definitely doable. It was a gradual incline so nothing too brutal. After the first mile, you are walking next to a beautiful river the entire time. Got to see a waterfall, then Lon Cheney’s cabin, and then the lakes were gorgeous. We only made it to lake 2 due to time, but we will be back to do the entire thing. HIGHLY recommend, one of my favorite hikes.

Great out and back hike with beautiful views of both South Lake and Bull Lake. Bull Lake has a clear view of Chocolate Peak and was a great spot to stop for a snack before heading back. 7 year old was able to make it with some regular breaks on the way up.

Easy and stunning hikes. Mid November all the lakes were frozen too, hard enough to walk on when we were there. Can’t wait to go back and do the whole thing

Love the sierras.

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