Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail in the Fall

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail in the Fall

Viewing 8 posts - 26 through 33 (of 33 total)
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    Brad Branan


    Locale: Northern California

    Wow. I can’t believe you did it in October. I had a hell of a time with Forester Pass in June! I too had to go cross country, basically rock scrambling more than half the way up. I think it took eight hours to do the two miles or whatever it is. I think next I do the JMT I may go when you did. I like the idea of less crowds. It was slammed with people when I did it two years ago.

    Jörgen Johansson
    BPL Member



    Hi Brad,

    My guess is that Forester is much more difficult in June. And the fall in the mountains is always great. The air is fresh and you can see forever.



    Cameron M
    BPL Member


    Locale: Los Angeles

    Thanks to Jorgan for such a well done and enjoyable article! Earlier October is indeed a great time to be on the JMT.

    My position on the snow is that a close-to-trailhead trip in September with a good trail such as the Cottonwood Lakes is not very risky even for beginners. A local told me that his rule of thumb was that the FIRST storm is usually not that big of a deal, and it is the second storm usually in mid-October that really dumps a lot of snow and that might be a huge problem for the less experienced. Regardless, it is a remote wilderness and I agree with Billy on his cautioning the less prepared and the less experienced hikers. They could be locked in for days with the wrong equipment and navigation skills could be harshly tested.

    John Phillips
    BPL Member


    I hiked the JMT about 8 years ago and have been up Mt Whitney 9 times from 6 trailheads. Thanks for a great article and pics that took me back to wonderful, wonderful Sierra miles!

    Jörgen Johansson
    BPL Member



    Thank you, John. Since I wrote the article I have been back to the Sierras and the JMT half a dozen times. Except for some day hikes, always in October. A perfect time in the most beautiful mountains I have seen.

    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wine Country

    From someone who has hiked in the Sierra for the last fifty years, I’ll add my perspective.

    >> Yosemite National Park does not allow overnight parking on Tioga Pass after October 15, because they are concerned that any cars there might end up spending the entire winter trapped in the snow. Highway passes often close for a few days well before this due to a snowstorm.

    >> Because the winter snowpack melts out over the course of the summer, even after a single storm, high passes n the Sierra are likely to have much more snow in early June than in October.

    >> It is possible to get hammered by storms on any date in the Sierra.  The storms in July tend to be rainy thunderstorms, but don’t overlook the pleasure of quarter-sized hail above timberline for a few hours.

    >> Yes, we give a lot of attention to weather reports–and even moreso in the fall.

    >> Yes, we often find that conditions vary from the weather reports.

    >> As in any good mountain region, prepare for the worst conditions, and delight in the case that you don’t encounter them.

    BPL Member


    Seems like perfect time! That weather and conditions!

    BPL Member


    Great report. I have done JMT twice (summer) and it’s calling my name again every time I read about it .

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