Planning overview 2018-05-12T08:32:26-04:00

How to plan a hike on the JMT

1. Familiarize yourself with the trail. Elizabeth Wenk’s guide to the John Muir Trail is a great resource to get started.

2. Apply for a wilderness permit exactly 168 days in advance of your desired starting date. If you apply by fax, you are permitted to send your application 169 days in advance. Hellofax is a useful online faxing service which will keep re-sending your application if the line is busy (which is often the case).

3. Check your email to see if you earned a permit in the permit lottery (the permit office sends emails for both rejections and confirmations). You should apply for a permit every day (during the period you are available to start hiking), as it may take dozens of applications before you are successful. You will not be charged when your permit is rejected.

4. Figure out how you will get to Yosemite and depart from Whitney portal and make any necessary reservations.

5. Start creating your gear list for the hike. Make sure to gather all of the necessary items as early as possible so that you have enough time to test them out (and make any necessary changes). Weighing each of your items may help you figure out what you should change or leave behind.

6. Figure out your resupply strategy. Be sure to check each resupply point’s website to see updated information on how to send your resupply packages, and also figure out what food you would like to bring on the trail.

7. Purchase a map of the JMT, and be sure to create a list of lateral trails you could use in the event that you need to exit the JMT early. Also, learn how to use a compass if you don’t already know how to use one.

8. Use social media and forums to ask previous JMT hikers any questions you still have about your upcoming hike.

Couldn’t get a permit for a traditional SOBO hike of the John Muir Trail? Consider going NOBO or starting at an alternative trailhead.

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