John Muir Trail: Day to Day Plan

The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”
― John Muir


— What to Expect in This Post —

  1.  Trail Talk – A little background of day-to-day plans and what might change it
  2.  Day to Day Plan A – The plan if Yosemite Valley opens by our start date of August 8, 2018 (Ferguson Fire we may need to go to Plan B)
  3.  Day to Day Plan B – The plan if our trailhead is not accessible
  4.  Resupply Points – Just a quick excerpt on where we will be resupplying depending on our routes
  5.  Other Day to Day Plans – These are some of the day-to-day plans I was reading about before picking out how we wanted to potentially do it – check them out!
  6.  Locate Us – I have set this up for family and friends to follow along; you’ll be able to see us on a map and how we are doing.
  7.  Guest Artist  – This is actually my sister and she has some products that are available to buy; reason I am adding this here is because she just did artwork of Yosemite. Check her out! @twintedinc on Instagram and Twinted Shop Page.
  8.  Gear Picks – Some gear favorites that I’ll be taking on the trail

— Trail Talk —

So we sent our resupply last week and I just tracked it this morning and the 5 gallon buckets were delivered to the P.O. Box at Florence Lake; this one is for our Muir Trail Ranch resupply. If you are just tuning in, this coming Wednesday August 8th I will be embarking on one of the biggest challenges I have ever done in the outdoors; I will be hiking the trail. I’ve set up a John Muir Trail Page for those of you who would like to follow the whole process.

A couple fires in the area, may put us in a bind and we will have to change our day-to-day plan so I’ve put together quick daily plans if we will be able to start in on the official Happy Isles (HI) Trailhead or have to start out of Tuolumne Meadows. Unfortunately due to the fire near Yosemite Valley, we probably will not be starting on our trailhead reserved.

What does this mean? This means all HI permits are cancelled. What do we do now? Well our plan is to go to Tuolumne Tuesday night and try for permits first thin Wednesday. It isn’t 100%, but the lady on the phone did say they have had no problems with shortage. We weren’t supposed to arrive to Tuolumne Meadows until Friday anyways, so we’ll just try again the next day if we need to. I guess we just have to leave it up to chance at this point; which I am ok with.

Let’s see if we stick to any of the plans below after we finish the trail!



— Day to Day Plan A —

If Yosemite Valley does open we will stick to our original plan of going an average of 11.6 miles per day; of course there will be up and downs, but we have picked out spots that are around that mileage. I have a feeling we won’t stick to these as much depending on the terrain, how we feel, smoke (especially in the beginning of the trail) and the other things that can slow you down 🙂

Day Trail Junction or Landmark Total Miles Day Miles Elevation End Elev + Elev –
1 Happy Isles to Forsythe Trail Jct 8.7 8.7 8,150 4,115 0
2 Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker Camp * ^ 23.9 15.2 8,700 1,700 1,150
3 Lyell Headwaters 34.8 10.9 10,200 1,500 0
4 Ediza Lake Trail ^ ^ 47.6 12.8 9,050 1,450 2,600
5 Red’s Meadow * 57.3 9.7 7,600 850 2,350
6 Purple Lake 70.7 13.4 9,900 2,500 200
7 North Fork of Mono Creek ^ 83.5 12.8 8,900 2,200 3,200
8 Italy Pass Trail 95.5 12 9,250 2,700 2,300
9 Muir Trail Ranch * ^ 106.4 10.9 8,400 1,620 2,470
10 Colby Meadow 118.4 12 9,800 2,000 600
11 Helen Lake ^ 128.7 10.3 11,595 2,650 810
12 Deer Meadow 142.7 14 8,700 700 3,595
13 Bench Lake Trail ^ 156.2 13.5 11,000 4,380 2,080
14 South Fork Trail ^ 166.8 10.6 8,500 1,100 3,600
15 Bubbs Creek Trail ^ 180.1 13.3 9,600 3,480 2,380
16 Shepherd Pass Trail ^ 192.1 12 10,930 3,600 2,270
17 Guitar Lake 205.7 13.6 11,600 1,200 530
18 Mt. Whitney Summit/Outpost Camp 219 13.3 10,600 2,900 3,900
19 Whitney Portal (we may finish Saturday) 222.4 2.4 8,360 0 2,240
  •  * = Resupply
  •  ^ = Pass we need to climb

— Day to Day Plan B —

So worst case, Yosemite Valley is still close and we will begin out of Tuolumne Meadows. This was a last-minute put together plan that I for sure know we will butcher out there. I just tried to keep the mileage to where we can potentially have a little more time to ourselves here and there.

Day Trail Junction or Landmark Total Miles Day Miles Elevation End Elev + Elev –
1 Tuolumne Meadows to Lyell Headwaters 10.9 10.9 10,200 1,500 0
2 Garnet Lake ^ 20.8 9.9 9,680 1,450 1,970
3 Red’s Meadow * ^ 33.4 12.6 7,600 900 2,980
4 Duck Creek 44.4 11 10,100 2,500 0
5 Goodale Pass Trail 54.4 10 10,300 1,600 1,400
6 Bear Ridge ^ 67.2 12.8 9,950 2,850 3,200
7 Muir Trail Ranch * ^ 82.5 15.3 8,400 2,070 3,620
8 Evolution Meadow 91.5 9 9,200 1,400 600
9 Evolution Creek 101.6 10.1 10,400 1,650 450
10 LeConte Ranger Station ^ 111.1 9.5 8,700 1,555 3,255
11 Palisades Lakes 121.8 10.7 10,650 2,650 700
12 Lake Marjorie ^ 133.8 12 11,200 2,630 2,080
13 South Fork Trail ^ 142.9 9.1 8,500 900 3,600
14 Kearsarge Pass Trail ^ 154 11.1 10,800 3,480 1,180
15 Forester Pass ^ 163.2 9.2 13,200 3,600 1,200
16 Wallace Creek 175.2 12 10,400 0 2,800
17 Guitar Lake 181.8 6.6 11,600 1,200 0
18 Whitney Portal 198.5 16.7 8,360 2,900 6,140
  • * = Resupply
  •  ^ = Pass we need to climb



— Resupply Points —

The following are the resupplies we will be doing for the trail. The only difference between Plan A and B is that we might start from Tuolumne Meadows, so no need for us to drop off the 3 day resupply there we’ll just pack that in our packs instead of the 2 day that was for Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows.

Resupply Point Distance miles from Happy Isles Distance off trail Distance miles from Whitney Portal
Tuolumne Meadows Post Office 22 miles .75 miles 199 miles
Red’s Meadow Resort 60 miles .5 miles 161 miles
Vermillion Valley Resort 88 miles 5 miles 133 miles
Muir Trail Ranch 111 miles 1.5 miles 111 miles

*Elizabeth Wenk’s John Muir Trail Book has all the resupply points available in case you need food or supplies earlier. We are writing some of these down, but it’s pretty easy to find these on the John Muir Trail Map Pack.

  1. Tuolumne Meadows Post Office (3 day resupply)
  2. Red’s Meadow Resort (4 day resupply)
  3. Muir Trail Ranch (9-10 day resupply)

This Saturday before we leave, we will head up into Mammoth Lakes and spend a couple of days there relaxing. We will go ahead and drop off our Red’s Meadow Resort resupply that weekend. See more on my resupply plans on my last post: John Muir Trail: Resupply Time.



— Other Day to Day Plans —

Before picking our day to days I read a lot about how people set theirs up; there is literally no right and wrong way. Do your own trail; so I’m pretty sure even though we have our goals written down, doesn’t mean we’ll follow it exactly. Here are some good reads on how other people did their mileage on the JMT.


— Locate Us —

During our hike you may wonder how we are doing; well I’ve set up a page that you can locate us on a map and see where we are on the trail. We use the Garmin In Reach Explorer + that you can buy on either REI or Amazon.

outdoor gear

Locate Us


— Guest Artist —

My sister and I have been working a new company (Twinted Inc.) that showcases her art that she then turns into a product all on her own. Her latest project has come just in time for when I start the journey on the John Muir Trail. In order Picture 1 is a photo we took years back in the winter time, Picture 2 is a photo of her pencil drawing, Picture 3 is the drawing put to life after her retracing it on the computer.

If you are interested in buying “yosemite down below” please let me know or click on Twinted Inc’s Shop and purchase your desired apparel. Please Contact Twinted if you would like to talk further on your own custom design.


— Gear Picks —

  1.  Tent Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 3 Person Backpacking Tent: We’re going to test this out on the trail and let you know how we liked it. Two of us and it should fit all our gear; already liking how lightweight it is and the space! Also, put it up in our backyard last week and it was very easy to put up.
  2.  Sleeping Bag North Face Unisex Cat’s Meow: I’ve had this for over 5 years. The link is something similar to the one I have as it weighs just about 2.2 lbs. 20 degree bag should be enough for the John Muir Trail.
  3.  Sleeping Pad Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Ultralight Foam Backpacking Mattress– : Last couple of hikes we’ve been using this without the blow up and honestly it’s very comfortable. We’ll see after 19 days on the trail. You can also use it outside the tent while you are cooking or to lay on a rock outside the tent when you are resting.
  4.  Pillow Sea To Summit Aeros Pillow Premium– : I swear by this pillow. Ever since I got it, I have used it on every trip even took it to Switzerland on one of our hut to hut trips.

— Check Out My John Muir Trail and Blog Updates —


— Check Out What’s in My Backpack —


— Check Out Some Grub Ideas for the Trail —


— Follow @beyondlimitsonfoot on Instagram —

Let's Hear from You

%d bloggers like this: