SECTION HIKES & ALTERNATIVES 2020-02-08T03:55:24-05:00

JMT section hikes

For those who have a limited amount of time to hike on the trail (or those who couldn’t get a permit to hike SOBO from Yosemite), section hiking the trail is a great option. There are a number of trailheads south of Donohue Pass that connect to the JMT and are easily accessible through public transportation. The following trails are all within Inyo National Forest, and allow hikers to head north or south on the JMT. Please note that if you go south on the JMT from one of these trailheads, you will likely need to exit at Horseshoe Meadow via either Cottonwood Pass trail or Cottonwood Lakes trail (because it is very difficult to get a permit for exiting Mt. Whitney). Permits can be reserved at

Trailhead JMT mile marker Length (miles to connect to JMT) Transportation Quota
Rush Creek

(Rush Creek AA05)

40 7 YARTS

(bus stops at trailhead)

Shadow Creek

(Shadow Creek AA07)

49 4.5 Red’s Meadow-Devils Postpile shuttle

(get off at Agnew Meadows bus stop)

Devils Postpile (NOBO only)

(John Muir Trail North of Devils Postpile AA10)

59 less than a mile Red’s Meadow-Devils Postpile shuttle

(get off at Devils Postpile or Red’s Meadow)

Devils Postpile (SOBO only)

(John Muir Trail South of Devils Postpile AA15)

59 less than a mile Red’s Meadow-Devils Postpile shuttle

(get off at Devils Postpile or Red’s Meadow)

Red Cones – Mammoth Pass

(Red Cones – Mammoth Pass AA16)

62 3.2 Lakes Basin Trolley

(get off at Horseshoe Lake)

Duck Pass

(Duck Pass JM01)

71 5.6 Lakes Basin Trolley

(get off at Lake Mary)


High Sierra Trail (HST)

The High Sierra Trail, which begins at Crescent Meadow (in Sequoia National Park) and ends at Whitney Portal, is a great option for those who have a limited amount of time and want to hike to the top of Mt. Whitney. The trail (from Crescent Meadow to Whitney Portal) is 72 miles long and takes about a week to complete. Getting to the trailhead is easy if you use the Sequoia Shuttle, which goes from Visalia to Sequoia National Park ($20 round-trip). Once you arrive at the park, you can take the free Sequoia National Park shuttle to pick up your permit in Lodgepole and then get back on the shuttle to go to the trailhead at Crescent Meadow. Hikers may apply for a permit starting March 1st, and it can take up to two weeks to hear back from the wilderness permit office after sending your application. When filling out your permit application, select ‘High Sierra’ (Crescent Meadow) as your entry trail, and ‘Whitney Portal’ as your exit trail. If you fail to get a permit starting at Crescent Meadow, you can choose Alta trail as an alternative starting point (it connects to the HST at mile 5.8). Permits can be picked up at Lodgepole Visitor Center (open 7am-3:30pm, closed 11am-12pm for lunch) the day of your trip, or from 1pm or later the day before. Make sure to bring your itinerary with you because you must state where you plan to camp each night before the rangers will issue your permit (you are not required to follow this plan, they just want to have a general idea of where you plan to go). Before starting your hike, be sure to give yourself some time to check out the sequoia trees!

Important Links:


The Mt. Whitney High Country Trail Map shows the whole trail.

Big SEKI Loop (BSL)

This loop passes through some of the best scenery of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and was created as an alternative to the JMT. It is 154 miles long and is completely on maintained trails. Getting a permit is easy, and there are no crowds to contend with. Since the BSL is a loop, there is a lot of flexibility regarding where you start, and there are several places where you could exit early if necessary. The creator of the BSL suggests starting (and finishing) your hike at Roads End. However, if you need to use public transportation, you should start the hike at Crescent Meadow or Alta trailhead (take Sequoia Shuttle to Sequoia National Park) and connect to the BSL at Bearpaw Meadow (this will add around 12-13 miles to your trip).


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