Sep 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm #1307718
Thinking about doing this hike later this month… Problem is, we only have one car. Is there a shuttle service here to get back to the starting point trail head? Or, do most people bring two cars with them to do this trip..Sep 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm #2025219
I did this loop in August 2011, and I had only one car. I parked near North Lake, and I figured that I would finish at South Lake after four or five days. I had been told that there was plenty of traffic coming and going at South Lake, so hitching a ride should not be a problem.
Mid-day on the fourth day, I walked down from Bishop Pass and reached South Lake. I had a sign (RIDE?) on the back of my topo map, so I positioned myself at the exit of the South Lake parking lot. It was amazing how many drivers shook their head as they drove past me. After I waited for hours and hours, one driver gave me a lift downhill to the Highway 168 junction. It was getting into the evening hours, so I had to hurry things along, so I started walking uphill toward Lake Sabrina from there. Another driver gave me a lift uphill to the North Lake turnoff. From there, I walked uphill to North Lake to my car.
The morale is, don't count on any quick hitchhiking.
–B.G.–Sep 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm #2025222
@rosyfinchLocale: the mountains
I hitched it… didn't take long. got rides all the way back to North Lake…
Had no sign. Just stuck out my thumb…
Guess it all depends on if you hit it right… and smile.
BSep 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm #2025223
@rosyfinchLocale: the mountains
No shuttle that I know of. Might try contacting Parcher's Resort. Maybe they have an employee that would like to make a few extra bucks…
Bill DSep 16, 2013 at 5:40 pm #2025252
@bookLocale: Northern California
I've had pretty good luck hitching back to my car twice on this loop. I think a good strategy is to somehow indicate that you're only going a short distance. One time I used a sign that read "my car is at south lake" which both indicated that I wasn't going far and that I owned a car, despite my scruffy appearance. Also, locals "got" that I was doing a loop.
But there are no guarantees…Sep 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm #2025258
@amrowincLocale: Southern California
Hitching is cheap and would be my choice. The later in the year the less traffic but I suspect you'll get picked up by someone. There are shuttle services if you don't want to wing it.
Go here for info on shuttles etc. http://climber.org/data/shuttles.html
Have a great trip.Sep 17, 2013 at 6:53 am #2025392
Thanks for the feedback guys… I was a bit worried about hitching due to the late season and the fact we will be popping out mid week. Seems like the best alternative.Sep 18, 2013 at 7:21 am #2025756
One other question: Whats the typical time taken to do this trail? We have 5 days, but the first day would be a late start ( around 11 or so), and the exit day we have a 7 hr drive back to the bay area… Seems like that might be a cram?Sep 18, 2013 at 8:45 am #2025776
Bob said "The morale is, don't count on any quick hitchhiking." Boy, do I ever know that! Last summer I did the loop solo. I came out at North Lake Saturday morning about 10:30 am and was able to hitch a ride to Highway 168. I figured it would be no problem to hitch a ride to the turn off to South Lake. I ended up walking all the way past the little town of Aspendell (probably 3 miles) and finally got a ride to the turn off. I then had a number of cars pass by as they turned on to the little road. Finally, I just stepped in front of a truck and as they were telling me why I couldn't get a ride I jumped into the back of the truck!
Coming off a trail and then having to hike down an asphalt highway in the sun is not my idea of fun! I could not believe how people just cruised on by. Sometimes, I stood way out in the lane to get their attention, but, they just drove right on by. It looks a lot easier when you are looking at it on a map.
I've done this trip 2 times. Once solo, another with all of my kids and some friends. Solo, I started at 6:30 pm the first day, Wednesday, from South Lake, stayed at Long Lake with hard rain from 3:00 to 6:00 am. Rain stopped and I headed out about 7:00. Beautiful day until about 3:00 when it started raining and hailing at Big Pete Meadow. When I got to Little Pete I decided not to go over Muir and was glad I did. The next morning it was clear and I got up early and hiked over the pass and made it to Muir Trail Ranch (a bit off the North Lake / South Lake Loop) to sit in Blaney Meadows. The next morning I hiked up and over Paiute. Spent the night at the lake closest to the pass. Out Saturday am.
With my family, we left the South Lake trailhead at 2:00 pm and camped on the other side of Bishop Pass as my daughter in law had an IT band inflammation which made she and my son turn back the next morning. The next day the 6 of us hiked down Dusy, to Le Conte, over Muir and camped at Evolution Lake. The next day we hiked from Evolution lake down the canyon and then up Paiute about 3/4 of the way. We were out Saturday at about 11:00 am. So, it can be done in 3-4 days and days would be great.
Also, I have hiked it both times from South Lake. I think doing it from North Lake would be nicer for 2 reasons: 1. Once over Paiute the trail is pretty easy down to the bottom of the canyon. 2. I think it is a better way to see Evolution Valley. When we hiked the JMT a few years ago we stayed at Colby Meadows in Evolution Valley. It's quite beautiful.
We packed a mule train and told them our route and they said, "so, you're doing it the hard way".
Let me know if you have any other questions. It's a beautiful hike and you get to see some of the most memorable parts of the JMT.
ScottSep 18, 2013 at 10:11 am #2025803
"I ended up walking all the way past the little town of Aberdeen (probably 3 miles)"
Aspendell, not Aberdeen.
–B.G.–Sep 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm #2025867
Aspendell – Aberdeen
Yea, I was so irritated by the time I got there I couldn't see straight (even though I've been by it a number of times).Sep 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm #2025868
At the last time that I hiked over Bishop Pass going eastbound, I met a hiker who lived in Aspendell. She said that she hikes from South Lake up to the pass and back every day. Good Grief! That will keep you fit.
–B.G.–Sep 19, 2013 at 10:23 am #2026122
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
I think I'll be leaving North Lake over the Lemarcke (sp) Col on Friday 09/27. Maybe five days back in Evolution Valley, so forth.
DuaneSep 19, 2013 at 10:40 am #2026134
" Finally, I just stepped in front of a truck and as they were telling me why I couldn't get a ride I jumped into the back of the truck!
Coming off a trail and then having to hike down an asphalt highway in the sun is not my idea of fun! I could not believe how people just cruised on by. Sometimes, I stood way out in the lane to get their attention, but, they just drove right on by. "
Getting a ride is Not an entitlement, it is a gift.
Thanks to you a few drivers will probably never pick up a hitcher ever.Sep 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm #2026167
Duane said: "I think I'll be leaving North Lake over the Lemarcke (sp) Col on Friday 09/27. Maybe five days back in Evolution Valley, so forth.
We hiked that earlier in the year. Over Lamarck Col and then up and over Alpine Col. and out Paiute. Alpine Col is a bit of a slog over large boulders on both sides of the pass along both lakes.
I would like to do it the way you are doing it by spending sometime in the Darwin Basin and Evolution. Real pretty country.
ScottSep 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm #2026170
Or, better yet…
Start from North Lake, over Piute Pass, over Alpine Col, southbound, then cut back east over Echo Col.
I found the high part of Piute Pass to be reasonable when I was there last month. However, the bottom part of the trail on the west side gets a bit ugly (loose gravel and steep trail). So, escaping that with the Alpine Col alternative makes some sense.
The country may be pretty, but this is not the best season to see it.
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