Stubblefield Canyon Clouds, Yosemite National Park Banner reading, "Tahoe to Whitney" for the High Sierra trail guide. Piute Peak, Seavy Pass, Yosemite.
Mount Lyell and Mount Maclure rise above end of Lyell Canyon.
Stubblefield Canyon Clouds
High Point of Mount Lyell and its twin teeth on far Right rise above top end basins of Lyell Canyon.
Piute Peak, Seavy Pass

 

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Trail Segment
John Muir Trail

BACKPACKING
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

 

Tuolumne Meadows
Up
Lyell Canyon
to the
Ireland Lake Trail Junction

 

Accessing
Rafferty Creek and Ireland Creek
Trails
to
Vogelsang High Sierra Camp

 

 

Trail Section
John Muir Trail

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow

 

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40 Days to Whitney

Introduction Tahoe to Whitney

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Trail Guide
INDEX


JMT-PCT
Tuolumne Meadows

to
Reds Meadow
Trail Guide
NORTH


TYT-PCT
Glen
Aulin

to
Tuolumne Meadows
Trail Guide
SOUTH
WEST


JMT
Tuolumne
Meadows
to
Yosemite
Valley
Trail Guide
JMT-PCT
SOUTH


JMT-PCT
Ireland
Creek
to
Donohue
Pass
7.5
Topo
Map


Tuolumne
Meadows
MAP

30 min
Trails
Map


Tuolumne
Meadows
&
Central
Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds
Meadow


MILES
and
ELES
TOPO MAP INDEX

Tuolumne
Meadows
to
Reds
Meadow

Resupply

North

Tuolumne
Meadows

South
Reds
Meadow

Forest
&
Parks
Permits


Toiyabe
&
Stanislaus
&
Yosemite

Sierra
Weather

North
Yosemite
Weather

  Southwest
Lyell Canyon, Ireland Creek
to
Vogelsang High Sierra Camp
             

 

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Donohue Pass

South
on the
John Muir Trail

 

Tuolumne Meadows
8591
feet of elevation
Donohue Pass
11040
feet of elevation

Climbing
2449 feet
over
12.69 miles

 

 

Maps & Miles

Miles

Trail
Section

John Muir Trail

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow Pack Station

34.25 miles

 

 

PCT

27.63 miles

 

 

River Route

26.74 miles

Trail
Segments

John Muir Trail
&
PCT

South
Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Rafferty Creek trail junction

2.07 miles

 

JMT-PCT

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Ireland Lake trail junction

6.24 miles

 

JMT-PCT

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Donohue Pass

12.69 miles

 

Maps & Miles

Region
MAP

Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

Mile
&
Elevations

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 

South
MAP

Merced Lake
to
Lyell Canyon to Island Pass
15 minute topo hiking map

 

 

30 min
MAPS

30 min Map
With
TRAIL GUIDE PAGE LINKS


Central Yosemite

30 min Map
With
DETAILED MAP LINKS

Central & South Yosemite

 

 

Backpacker Resources
and
Hiker Information

Though this trailads.

Backpacking Trail Information

Index
top

Miles, Elevations, & Maps

 

 

 

Tuolumne Meadows Facilities Map

 

 

 

Lembert Dome

 

 

 

Zero Point:
Post Office, Store, & Grill

 

 

 

End of Campground Road

 

 

 

Trail Junction
JMT South end of Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Boundary

 

 

 

Trail Junction
Bridge to Tuolumne Lodge, the HSC

 

 

 

Trail Junction
Rafferty Creek junction

 

 

 

Trail Junction
Ireland Creek, Ireland Lake, to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp

Central Yosemite Backcountry

Weather and Road Information

 

Below find the closest Ground Stations, Point and Regional Forecasts near Tuolumne Meadows.

Satellite and Radar Imagery provides Long Range and Regional overviews.

Check out the Ground Reporting Stations for real-time current snow and temp data.

Yosemite Weather Forecast

NWS
Yosemite to Kings Canyon Forecast

NWS
Tuolumne Meadows

 

Regional Forecasts

NWS
Regional Forecast
East Sierra

NWS
Regional Forecast
Northwest Sierra

Emigrant Wilderness & North Yosemite
Regional Weather Information
All High Sierra Weather Resources
Real Time Ground Reporting Stations

North of Yosemite

Sonora Pass reporting station

Leavitt Lake reporting station

Horse Meadow Reporting Station

South of our Position

Tenaya Lake

Tuolumne Meadows

Tioga Entry Station

Northeast

Slide Canyon

All
Ground Reporting Stations

MesoWest
N Calif Stations

Calif Snotel

Note that the ground reporting stations above are North and South of our position backpacking across the North Yosemite backcountry.

The reason is that there are no automated reporting stations in the North Yosemite Backcountry.

These reporting stations are given to ascertain snow conditions and temps at various altitudes and aspects of exposure.

Human Measured Stations

Wilma Lake

Road Conditions

Caltrans Hwy 108

Caltrans Hwy 120

Big View
Radar

North California Radar

Big View
Space

Western US Satellite

 

Check this Out

All High Sierra Weather Resources

High Sierra Fire and Smoke Information

 

> Forum <

Lakg the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

 

Start Point
Short Sections Ahead
Here at, "Mile Zero," at the Tuolumne Meadows Store, Post Office, and Cafe we are beginning our next section of the John Muir/Pacific Crest trail hiking South from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney, the relatively short section from Tuolumne Meadows South to Reds Meadow. In fact, the next three sections of trail to our South are each fairly short, and each begins and ends with a resupply stop. This can have significant implications for the character of our trip. This spacing imparts flexibility.

Fast & Slow
Some of you high-mileage long-distance backpackers will skip one or even two of the resupply spots along this stretch. Typically, strong and fast-moving PCT hikers will skip Vermilion Valley Resort, and maybe even Reds-Agnews Meadows, too. Their focus on time, speed, and efficiency inspires many of the more highly-motivated and strong PCT hikers to only make the very minimum stops necessary. Many don't stop until they've hiked at least 75 miles. Many will run 150 miles between stops, as necessary. I've seen quite a few PCT hikers make the 150 miles from Tuolumne Meadows to Lake Tahoe over the years.

Other less time and speed conscious hikers, like me, will use these ample resupply resources from Tuolumne Meadows to Muir Ranch to enhance our hikes by slowing them down even further, allowing us to explore even more of the surrounding terrain.

I believe there is time for everyone to do everything. A time for fast, and time for deep.
You've just got to know what time it is for you, to get your trip right.

Tuolumne Meadows Facilities
Tuolumne Meadows Store, Post Office and Grill by Ansel.
Tuolumne Meadows Store, Post Office, and Grill by Ansel, AKA markskor.

Short, Sweet,
&
Well Supplied
This upcoming bounty of having 4 closely-spaced resupply stops ahead of us offers some nice advantages. The run of resupply stops to our South is composed of Tuolumne Meadows, Mammoth Lakes, Vermilion Valley, and Muir Ranch all coming in quick succession. This number of facilities along this short of a length of the Sierra Crestline allows us to concentrate much more deeply on the surrounding terrain, rather than our normal reality of the distance between each set of resupply spots determining our daily mileage requirements.

Think about it. 75 miles between resupply spots demands 15 mpd to make it in 5 days. 30 miles between them means we can hike it in two days, and still easily carry food for two extra days of scrambling. We have options.

The longer distances between resupply spots demand high daily miles with a strong pace, while this close spacing between resupply spots means that we can slow down a bit, and use our "carrying capacity," to carry a couple of "extra" day's food to support exploring the surrounding terrain more deeply, if we are so inclined. I am. The South Sierra is amazing.

Scrambling Heaven
These short distances between resupply spots across our next three sections of trail from Tuolumne Meadows to Muir Ranch allows us to pack more food for the shorter distances across each of these sections between resupply points, which gives us the time to establish ideal campsites off the line of the main routes. These camps support a couple of days of scrambling and exploring as we cross each of these next three short sections along the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails.

You can put yourself into one of the most beautiful places on Earth, then just sit there for a day or two and watch it carefully. Or fish. Or scramble.

Do IT Your Way
Fisherfolks can fish. Those of us who like to stare at the mountains, forests, and skies can do so without interruption for extended periods of time. Scramblers will scramble... It takes a lot of work, planning, and work to get out here at all, to one of these remote, secluded campsites along the Sierra Crestline, even offset a bit from the John Muir Trail. I want you to fully enjoy it, once you do get here, to have the time to find and really enjoy your own ideal reality, be it fishing, scrambling, or staring.

Sigh. For me that sometimes means driving ever onward, following the call of the trail.

Define Luxury
BACKCOUNTRY LUXURY
Instead of packing food to assure we can cover a given, "distance," between resupply, this upcoming line close-spaced resupply facilities give us the luxury of packing food to support, "time," time without the necessity of traveling an excessive "X" number of miles per day, down the Sierra Crest. This is a fundamental form of backcountry luxury!

Explorama
This next section of trail from Tuolumne to Reds Meadows contains many areas that deserve as much scrambling and exploration as we can possibly spare. Climbing Ritter, the terrain around Donohue Pass, the amazing moss gardens of Upper Rush Creek, and the run of "alien-like" terrain running from Island Pass wrapping around the backside of Thousand Island Lake over to Catherine Lake on the backside of Banner Peak all come to mind as excellent candidates for extensive exploration and scrambling as we hike through this short, but awesome section of trail.

There are lifetimes of exploration surrounding this next short section of our trail.

Amazing Arenas
Each of these next three sections of the Tahoe to Whitney Trails offers amazing arenas for extra exploration along our long hikes.

Beyond Reds
The next section of trail South from Reds Meadows to VVR contains the Alternative Route hiking into VVR via Fish Valley. This route requires we make a nice two-day visit to Iva Bell Hot Springs before hiking over Goodale Pass to walk into VVR. I rate Iva Bell as the finest hot springs site in the High Sierra. It is wonderful.

A SPECIAL ZONE
This level of resupply support is not available North or South of this run of resupply spots along the John Muir Trail. I figure they are a testament to the enduring popularity of the John Muir Trail and the High Sierra Mountain Range, generally. It's a special place.
The close proximity of these next four resupply spots can allow us to slow down and explore the surrounding environment and terrain deeply, even as we maintain the basic outlines of our long-distance backpacking schedule as we hike from Tahoe to Whitney.

I always "pencil-in" one or two "extra" nights in each of these 3 sections, than would be required by the mileage separating each of the resupply spots between Tuolumne Meadows and Muir Ranch. This is not nearly as possible North and South of this run of resupply stops.

Long & Hard
North of Tuolumne Meadows we find the long, hard 75 miles of trail to Kennedy Meadows Pack Station. I believe the trails from Tuolumne Meadows to Kennedy Meadows are the hardest sustained section of trail along the Sierra Crest. South of Muir Ranch we find the 130 mile run of the John Muir Trail South to the Whitney Portal presents a classic challenge of balancing difficult high altitude High Sierra trails against pace, food, energy, and time requirements. Each an exquisite challenge.

These long, hard sections of trail to the North of Tuolumne Meadows and South of Muir Ranch are each going to work and challenge us hard. That is good. That is even more reason to take advantage of these shorter sections of trail between Tuolumne Meadows and Muir, to really enjoy the different approaches differing levels of logistical support afford. To take the time and enjoy delving into the depth and details of aspect of the High Sierra experience when you can.

PLANNING
Back to Tuolumne Meadows
Despite the fact we can get to Reds Meadow in two nights (For you speed-hikers, I also have a 1-night to Agnew plan, following the shorter-distance of the River Trail at the end...), we're packing three nights of food out of Tuolumne Meadows.
First, we're going to spend one night at the isolated lake under the Southwestern Flank of Donohue Pass. Then we're going to spend two nights near Island Pass. This will allow us to dedicate the whole third day to approaching and scrambling Banner Peak.

Planning the Tahoe to Whitney
(Tahoe to Whitney, JMT-PCT Hiker PLANNING ASSUMPTION: 15 MPD)

We'll get into Reds early on day four, rather than early on day three, but we'll have seen a whole lot more, and a whole lot of new territory that we'd never see if we did not slow down to scramble around a bit.

Tuolumne Meadows
to the
John Muir Trail
After bidding farewell to the various crews manning Tuolumne Meadows we're cutting down the path on the East side of the Store to find our way over to the campground road, then East up to the Tuolumne River, where we find the campground road South, to our Right along the furthest Eastern end of the Tuolumne Meadows car campground along the Tuolumne River. At the end of the campground road we find signs indicating the trail continuing a tenth of a mile South to the John Muir Trail.

The John Muir Trail
At this JMT junction on the Southeastern-most edge of Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness cutout we find signs pointing North and South down the JMT, including references to the two trails (out of Lyell Canyon) leading South over the Cathedral Range to Yosemite Valley via Merced Lake and River through Central Yosemite. Those are both fine routes, both being "variations" of the return leg of, "The Golden Triangle" route around the Heart of Yosemite.

Golden Triangle Discussion

Our goal today is to follow the John Muir Trail out of the South end of Yosemite via Donohue Pass into the Ansel Adams Wilderness on our way to our next resupply spot at Reds Meadow and Mammoth Lakes. Well, we want to figure it all out, anyway...

Local and Long Loops
SOUTH
out of
Tuolumne Meadows
Our other options hiking the John Muir Trail South out of Tuolumne Meadows are short backpacking loops out to and through the Tuolumne Pass or Evelyn Lake trails to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, then taking the other trail back to Tuolumne Meadows.

Our longer loop option would be to hike all the way down to Yosemite Valley via Vogelsang, then back to Tuolumne Meadows via the John Muir Trail. That's the Golden Triangle, but in the opposite direction I typically hike it. I'm doing it as I hike from Tahoe to Whitney, so I run it North to South...

Miles South
from
Tuolumne Meadows


JMT SOUTH

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Footbridge
to
Tuolumne Lodge


1.43 miles

JMT SOUTH

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Rafferty Creek Trail Junction

2.07 miles

Tuolumne Pass,
(from JMT)


4.76 miles South

KEY
POSITION
South


Vogelsang Junction
to
Ireland Lake

JMT SOUTH

Tuolumne Meadows

to
Vogelsang-Ireland Lake Trail Junction

6.24 miles

JMT SOUTH

Tuolumne Meadows

to
Donohue Pass

12.69 miles
Access,
History,
and
Perspective

History
of
Yosemite
JMT

Tuolumne Meadows

to
Reds Meadow
34.25 miles

 


Maps and Miles

Tuolumne Meadows Hiking Map
15 minute topo hiking map
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 

30 min Map
With
TRAIL GUIDE PAGE LINKS


Central Yosemite

30 min Map
With
DETAILED MAP LINKS

Central & South Yosemite

 

 

 

Comments

 


Hiking Southbound
TYT-PCT

into
Tuolumne Meadows Main Backpacker Facilities

Layout and Location
Also See
Tuolumne Meadows Resupply Page
&
Tuolumne Meadow Permits

Hiking South into the Tuolumne Meadows Store, Grill, Post Office and resupply point. The question is, which way are we going to hike on the JMT?

Behind the Store is the main road in the Tuolumne Meadows Campground.

To
Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker Camp
We will cut to the Left around the store towards the Backpackers Camp to camp a night or two here in Tuolumne Meadows, or on our way to find the Southbound John Muir Trail.

To
Cathedral Lakes
We will cut to the Right around the store to follow the Campground Road down behind the Store to where we first find the trail to Lake Elizabeth, then the John Muir Trail to Cathedral Lakes on our way down into Yosemite Valley.

We want to be on the guide page following the JMT route from Tuolumne Meadows to Cathedral Lakes and Pass on our way following the JMT "backwards" down to Yosemite Valley.

This Page Below
South JMT to Donohue Pass
on our way to
Reds Meadow
The map below shows how us backpackers continuing South onto the Southbound JMT off of the Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite Trail can find our way from the Store-Grill-Post Office to the Backpacker's Camp and further on to the John Muir Trail running off the Southeastern-most end of the Tuolumne Meadows Campground Road, because we're headed South up Lyell Canyon following the combined routes of the JMT-PCT South to Reds Meadow.

Classic Long Distance
Hiking Options
out of
Tuolumne Meadows
These two Tuolumne Meadows Car Campground Maps below show the relationships between our backpacker facilities and the TYT-PCT trail North towards Lake Tahoe, the JMT-PCT South towards Mount Whitney, and the "Northbound" JMT route to Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley.

 

TUOLUMNE MEADOWS FACILITIES

Map showing relationship of our position to the North and Southbound route of the John Muir Trail.

Map showing relationship of our position to the North and Southbound route of the John Muir Trail.

Though I note "PCT & TYT" on the bottom of the map above, the actual route of the PCT deflects around the whole Grill, Store and Post Office Facilities as shown on the map below. On the map above I took the liberty of showing how a PCT hiker would break off the line of the PCT for the most direct access to the camping, food, and resupply facilities at Tuolumne Meadows.

There is no reason at all to swing through the Tuolumne Lodge on the route of the PCT unless you really want to, or are going to eat and stay there. Very few PCT hikers use their facilities. Most PCT hikers use the Backpacker's Camp and resupply through the Post Office.

The only time I hike up to Tuolumne Lodge is when I want to sneak into their shower facilities, and the only time I do that is when I manage to come up with a towel.

SUPERSIZE THE MAP!

 

If we are Southbound onto the John Muir Trail we have a couple of ways to get to the John Muir Trail, depending on if we are staying a couple of nights in the backpacker camp. I am.

Here's a better map, but upside-down from my North to South way of looking at things.

We hike South into the upper-Left corner of the map, breaking off the PCT to cross the bridge at Soda Springs. On the far side of the bridge we follow the trail to the Tuolumne Meadows Facilities. From there we hike to the Backpacker's Camp, after a hot hamburger and cold beer!

Our position in the Backpacker's Camp puts us close to the resumption point of our hike South to Mount Whitney, but now we are trading-in the end of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail for the beginning of the John Muir Trail, but only after resting and resupplying for a day or two at Tuolumne Meadows.

Detailed map of Tuolumne Meadows Federal Facilities.
Map credit to NPS for both Maps above

 

RESUPPLY & PERMITS
We've got guide pages covering Tuolumne Meadows Resupply and Permits

Tuolumne Meadows
Backpacker Resupply
Tuolumne Meadows
Permits

 

 

Miles and Elevations
Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley
Miles and Elevations

 

Miles and Elevations
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 


Comments and questions
about Tuolumne Meadows resupply and permits are solicited.

Tuolumne Meadows Resupply Forum
Comments & Questions
Tuolumne Meadows Permits
Comments & Questions

 

Winter is Coming

Tuolumne Meadows store after being made ready for Winter Closure.

Tuolumne Meadows store after being made ready for Winter Closure.

Tuolumne Meadows Resupply Page


Lembert Dome
Climbing, Tuolumne Meadows, and Culture

Lembert Dome in dark shadows and bright lights during a Fall sunrise.

Lembert Dome in dark shadows and bright lights during a Fall sunrise.

An Evening View of Lembert Dome.

I climbed the brightly-lit face. I should say I was talked into climbing it by a noted smart-ass climber who figured he'd see if I was worth hanging out with. Jeeze, I was backpacking through on TW hike number two or three.

I met the kid in the TM parking lot very early in the morning. I was waiting to eat, and he to pay for his day's climbing (food and gas) with his bounty of recycled bottles and cans. I was commenting on him drinking too much, judging by his recycling, and he started to explain that he was a climbing bum, and...

...and hey, he realized he was talking to a smartass backpacker screwing with him. But I was looking at Lembert Dome, and not being a hiker, asked, "can you climb that?"

He had climbed El Capitan a few times, having just finished a big, multi-day, two-dude "expedition" style El Cap climb. He was pumped up and ready to go.

His response was, "can you?"

Well, hell, I don't know, but I did know that my big mouth had just roped me into climbing Lembert Dome.

"I'm a backpacker."

"You want to climb it..." "do you think you can..," and, "aw, yeah, come-on, I'll show you how, Sammy Shannon asked me, while evaluating me, while himself deciding if he should walk me up Lembert Dome. Jeeze, I think to myself, it does not look too bad...

So I ended up following Sammy walking up the steepest section of the Southwester-most Flank of Lembert Dome.

Sammy picked a line from the furthest bottom-Left of the long, well-lit granite shoulder from where it's obscured by forest up to the small stand of trees we can see halfway up to the top on the far-Right of the image. Getting from the bottom up to the trees was the hard part. After that it was easy.

It was not easy to get there. I was wearing my heavy hiking boots, and I had not a clue about climbing. I learned an incredible amount of things about friction, flakes, traction, and gravity that day. And much more the next, when Sammy "geared me up," and brought be rock climbing in Tuolumne Meadows.

A Good Tool in the Belt
These climbing experiences learned from the climbing inhabitants of Tuolumne Meadows made me a much better backpacker by adding a huge amount of technical knowledge of evaluating exactly how much traction is or is not available on Sierra Surfaces, and how to properly access it. I am not a climber unless I have to be. Basic climbing skills and technology are good to have for advanced scrambling, route-finding, and cross-country backpacking.

That's what I got for screwing around with a climber...

 

Learn
Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite is an ideal location for backpackers to learn the principals, physics, and practical applications of the climbing arts, from climbers. Climbers have a lot of information, and I encourage backpackers to hang out with them and learn as much as possible.

This knowledge will make you a better backpacker.

Climbers and Climbing Culture in Tuolumne Meadows

 

Trail Culture

2016 at Tuolumne Meadows

 


Mountain Safety

Summer Thunderstorms in the Sierra Nevada

 

High Sierra Mountain Safety News & Topics

 

Tuolumne Meadows Hiking Map
15 minute topo hiking map

 

Top of Page


 

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow
This section of our hike South from Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow begins hiking South on the combined routes of the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails out of the Tuolumne Meadows Post Office, Store, and Grill Facilities.

That's Mile Zero.

We cut South along the path around the East end of these facilities to the paved Car Campground Road, then make our way Southeast to the end of the campground road along the Tuolumne River. Here we find signs and a footpath to the John Muir Trail on the Southeast end of the Tuolumne Meadows Car Campground.

Campground Maps
Check out the Tuolumne Meadows Campground Maps above to find this route from the Post Office to the backpackers Camp, to the JMT-PCT routes.

Trail Junction

 

EAST SIDE
of
Tuolumne Meadows
Car Campground


END
of the
Tuolumne Meadows
Car Campground Road

to the
John Muir Trail

 

Maps & Miles

Map
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

Mileage
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 

30 min Maps

30 min Map
With
TRAIL GUIDE PAGE LINKS


Central Yosemite

30 min Map
With
DETAILED MAP LINKS

Central & South Yosemite

 

 

 

Location
South End
of
Easternmost Campground Road

 

.51 miles
South of Tuolumne Meadows Post Office-Store-Grill

.1 mile
South to John Muir Trail on East End of Tuolumne Meadows

 

 

Page Index


End of Campground Road
to
Southbound JMT
(Tuolumne River is to our East-Left)

Trail from Tuolumne Meadows car campground to the Southbound John Muir Trail in Lyell Canyon.

End of Campground Road 2202

Hiking .2 of a mile South off the end of the paved campground road brings us to the
John Muir Trail.

The reference to Vogelsang is Southbound on the JMT-PCT into Lyell Canyon, from where we can access Yosemite Valley. The Sunrise citation points us North towards Yosemite Valley on the John Muir Trail route to the Valley.

Though either direction on the JMT out of Tuolumne Meadows can bring us to Yosemite Valley, our destination is Southbound towards Reds Meadow.

Tuolumne Meadows Hiking Map
15 minute topo hiking map
Central Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

 

Tahoe to Whitney Videos
YouTube
Tahoe to Whitney Videos
YouTube Playlists

 


Trail Section Forum

Trail
Segment Forum
Comments

 

Page Index

Top of Page


To the John Muir and Pacific Crest
Trails

Path to John Muir Trail from end of Tuolumne Meadows campground road.

One-tenth of a mile from the end of the paved campground road to the John Muir Trail at the Tuolumne River.

Technically, the Pacific Crest Trail bends around the Tuolumne Meadow Car Campground and Facilities, instead passing through the Tuolumne Lodge, the High Sierra Camp.

Here on the South end of Tuolumne Meadows the PCT turns East to cross the Tuolumne River .92 of a miles South of our position here. The PCT crosses the bridge to pass through the Tuolumne Lodge, the High Sierra Camp, before passing under Lembert Dome on its way into the North Yosemite Backcountry.

Its route bypasses the Store, Grill, and Post Office facilities!

On the other hand, the John Muir Trail bends around the Southern Boundary of the Tuolumne Meadows "wilderness cutout," also bypassing the main Post Office, Store, and Grill facilities. Let alone the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers Camp.

That's a shame, because the first thing every backpacker wants is to access these facilities. And also, because we meet some very cool folks from around the world, the whole US of A, and from all over California at Tuolumne Meadows Facilities and its backpacker's camp every year!

Both the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails bend around the most important facilities at Tuolumne Meadows for long-distance backpackers, being the Post Office Resupply point, the store, grill, and backpackers camp.

Check the Tuolumne Meadows Trail Maps below for details, and the facilities map above, too, because just about every hiker on the John Muir or Pacific Crest Trail, in either direction, is faced with the question of, "How the Hell do I get to my resupply at the Tuolumne Meadows Post Office, access the Store for all their tasty treats, and the Tuolumne Grill for breakfast pancakes and frosty-freeze cones?

Oh, and find the Backpacker's Camp, too?

Those are the real questions PCT & JMT hikers have approaching Tuolumne Meadows, and the questions we answer here.

One of the goals of this guide is to show hikers on both the PCT and JMT how to best and most quickly access rest and resources at each resupply spot. No messing around, no wasted time or energy.

How to get in and out without problems, despite how far away from our necessary resources the route of our trail goes!

Tuolumne Meadows Hiking Map
15 minute topo hiking map
Central Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

 

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John Muir Trail
North & South

The
Southbound
John Muir Trail
from the
South End
of
Tuolumne Meadows

SOUTHBOUND
This is where all Southbound John Muir Trail hikers who resupplied through the Tuolumne Meadows Post Office resume the JMT.

Northbound
This is where all Northbound hikers on either the Pacific Crest or John Muir Trails intent on using the Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker's Camp and Post Office resupply facilities exit the wilderness area and enter the paved roads of Tuolumne Meadows facilities zone, here getting onto the end of the car campground road.

I find a few hardcore PCT hikers always cross the bridge (.82 mile South) to follow the "official" route of the Pacific Crest Trail to the Tuolumne Lodge. Once they get there they find out their resupply, the store, and grill are all back across the Tuolumne River.

I suggest Northbound hikers avoid breaking off to the Tuolumne Lodge unless you have a specific reason to go there, such as a dinner reservation (required), or have reserved one of their tent cabins (required). Other than those, you will find no services for backpackers at the Tuolumne Lodge, and will soon be hoofing it down to the most excellent backpacker supplies and services at the
Tuolumne Meadows Post Office, Store and Grill.


Maps & Miles

Map
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

Mileage
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 

30 min Maps

30 min Map
With
TRAIL GUIDE PAGE LINKS


Central Yosemite

30 min Map
With
DETAILED MAP LINKS

Central & South Yosemite

 

 

 

Location
John Muir Trail
&
Yosemite Wilderness Boundary

South Bank of the Tuolumne River

 

 

.61 miles
South of Tuolumne Meadows Post Office-Store-Grill
End of the TM Car Campground road.

.82 mile
South down John Muir Trail to the bridge North to Tuolumne Meadows High Sierra Camp

 

 

Page Index


Wilderness Boundary
into
Lyell Canyon
Southbound Yosemite Wilderness boundary into Lyell Canyon.

Southbound Yosemite Wilderness boundary into Lyell Canyon.

Well, the trail South from the end of the paved car campground road actually tees-out onto the John Muir Trail here. The Southbound John Muir Trail continues South, to our Left, down Lyell Canyon, while the Northbound JMT turns West, our Right, to stay in Yosemite Wilderness just on the South side of the Southern wilderness boundary of the Yosemite Facilities-Highway 120 wilderness "cutout."

The facilities maps above shows the route of the JMT around the South end of Tuolumne Meadows, while the PCT wraps around its North and East.

Open up the Tuolumne Meadows 15 minute map along with the 30 minute Central Yosemite map when you review this section of our route to get the wide and narrow contexts.

Tuolumne Meadows Hiking Map
15 minute topo hiking map
Central Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

 

 

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John Muir Trail
Southbound
Up
Lyell Canyon
(PCT-JMT)
and to
Yosemite Valley

via
Vogelsang
new sign
Modern Trailhead Miles Post at Lyell Canyon on the John Muir Trail in Tuolumne Meadows.

Modern Trailhead Miles Post at the mouth of Lyell Canyon on the John Muir Trail in Tuolumne Meadows.

The first distance, 6.8 miles cited above refers to the route up to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp by turning South up Rafferty Creek and passing through Tuolumne Pass. We also look at Tuolumne Pass from the four-way trail junction in Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.

From that four-way junction in Vogelsang I count 19.85 miles down to Happy Isles Trailhead (scroll up) in Yosemite Valley via Fletcher Creek, which puts our miles to Yosemite Valley at 26.07 total via Fletcher Creek from our position above, rather than the 27.5 cited above, which I figure is the distance hiking the other route from Vogelsang HSC over Vogelsang Pass to Merced Lake.

JMT Junction to Yosemite Valley
via
Vogelsang
So from here at the red sign to the Rafferty Creek trail junction is 1.46 miles, then 4.76 miles from there to Vogelsang HSC via Tuolumne Pass, for a total of 6.22 miles, and 26.07 total miles to Yosemite Valley via the Fletcher Creek route.

 

Mileage Disparity
The 11.9 miles cited above is the distance South down the combined John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails to the Southern Yosemite Boundary running across Donohue Pass. I have this distance measured out at 12.08 miles, for a difference of .18 miles between mine and Yosemite's figures across this span of trail.

 

 

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Yosemite Valley
Tuolumne Meadows into Lyell Canyon
MILES and ELEVATIONS
A "Must" Read
About
Miles and Elevations
in the
High Sierra

 


Old Trail Sign
South JMT
up
Lyell Canyon

Trail Miles on old steel sign pointing South up Lyell Canyon on the John Muir Trail.

Trail Miles on old steel sign pointing South up Lyell Canyon on the John Muir Trail.

 

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North

John Muir Trail
down
Lyell Canyon
route to

Yosemite Valley

The John Muir Trail on the Southeast edge of the Tuolumne Meadows car campground.

"BACKWARDS"
JOHN MUIR TRAIL
Reaching the John Muir Trail on this far Eastern edge of the Tuolumne Meadows Car Campground reveals the miles sign for the "classic" route of the John Muir Trail down to Yosemite Valley.

Here the John Muir Trail towards Yosemite Valley bends around the South edge, the Southern boundary of the Tuolumne Meadows Facilities "cutout" of the Yosemite Wilderness. The actual route of the JMT stays in the Yosemite Wilderness along the South edge of this boundary, as we can see on the map.

Tuolumne Meadows Hiking Map
15 minute topo hiking map

Since most John Muir Trail hikers are coming out of the Yosemite Valley they cut out of the Yosemite Wilderness into the Tuolumne Meadows Facilities on the Western edge of the Tuoluimne Meadows Car Campground (guide) near the Visitor Center.

Virtually everyone hiking the John Muir Trail stops at Tuolumne Meadows to resupply.

 

Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker Resupply Facilities & Services

 

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Now begins our 12.08 mile hike to the Yosemite Boundary crossing Donohue Pass by hiking the first 8.51 up the relatively flat floor of Lyell Canyon to the point where we begin to climb.

Page Index

Hiking South
up
Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River

Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River.

Hiking the John Muir Trail up Lyell Canyon.

 

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Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River
The Lyell Canyon of the Tuolumne River.

Continuing South up Lyell Canyon on the John Muir Trail.

 

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John Muir Trail
North & South

 

Trail Junction
Bridge over Tuolumne River
to
Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

on the

John Muir Trail

Maps & Miles

Map
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

Mileage
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 

30 min Maps

30 min Map
With
TRAIL GUIDE PAGE LINKS


Central Yosemite

30 min Map
With
DETAILED MAP LINKS

Central & South Yosemite

 

 

 

Location
John Muir Trail
South Bank of the Tuolumne River
at the
Bridge
over the Tuolumne River

 

1.43 miles
South of Tuolumne Meadows Post Office-Store-Grill

.6 mile
East on Pacific Crest Trail over bridge to Tuolumne Meadows High Sierra Camp

 

 

Page Index


East over Footbridge
to
Tuolumne Lodge

Pacific Crest Trail across the Tuolumne River to the Tuolumne Lodge.

The distance following the Pacific Crest Trail East across the Tuolumne River to the Tuolumne Lodge.

Most Northbound Pacific Crest Trail hikers continue North on the John Muir Trail to the end of the car campground road, and down that road to pass through the Tuolumne Meadows Car Campground to the Post Office, Store, and Grill facilities.

The typical Northbound Pacific Crest Trail hiker spends the night in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers Camp, as does the typical Southbound hiker on the John Muir Trail/

Some hikers on both routes do hike up to the Tuolumne Lodge, where tent cabins can be rented, if available, and "family-style" dinners had, if there is an open seat at one of their "family-style" tables.

 

Tuolumne Meadows High Sierra Camp
AKA
The Tuolumne Lodge

 

 

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South on the John Muir Trail
from the
Tuolumne Lodge Footbridge Trail Junction

South on the John Muir Trail from the bridge to the Tuolumne Lodge.

South on the John Muir Trail from the bridge to the Tuolumne Lodge.

JMT
Donohue Pass 11.3 miles

But these are not all miles South on our combined routes of the John Muir-Pacific Crest Trails. The mileages on the sign above also reflect a route down to Yosemite Valley through the Heart of the Central Yosemite Wilderness.

To Yosemite Valley
The distance to Yosemite Valley cited above is via the upcoming trail turning South up Rafferty Creek to get to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp via Tuolumne Pass, and subsequently down Merced Lake. We could lengthen this route to Yosemite Valley a bit further by hiking to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp via the trail up Ireland Creek to Vogelsang HSC, which brings us much further South up Lyell Canyon before turning up for Vogelsang, than the trail up to Vogelsang via Tuolumne Pass and Rafferty Creek.

This detailed map below covers the route from Lyell Canyon via Evelyn Lake to Merced Lake via Vogelsang:

 

Merced Lake to Lyell Canyon
15 minute topo hiking map

 

Our other route through Tuolumne Pass is better covered by this large scale map, which also shows the remainder of trail from Merced Lake to Yosemite Valley:

 

30 min Map
Central Yosemite

 

Here's the index for the trail guide covering those routes via Vogelsang to Yosemite Valley:

Yosemite Valley to Lyell Canyon via Vogelsang

 

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North
on the
John Muir Trail

from
Yosemite Lodge Footbridge
North on the John Muir Trail towards Tuolumne Meadows from the bridge to Tuolumne Lodge.

North on the John Muir Trail towards Tuolumne Meadows from the trail junction for the Pacific Crest Trail's footbridge Northeast to the Tuolumne Lodge.

1.0 miles North on the JMT to the Tuolumne Meadows Car Campground.

3.6 miles to hike around the South end of Tuolumne Meadows to the trail South up to Elizabeth Lake.

10.9 miles North on the JMT to Sunrise High Sierra Camp from here.

From this point we continue hiking South on the JMT-PCT, up Lyell Canyon,

 

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Minor Creek North
of
Rafferty Creek

Rafferty Creek in Lyell Canyon.

We find the minor creek pictured above just a short ways North of the Rafferty Creek trail junction, just before we encounter the Rafferty Creek trail junction.

It was pooling in Lyell Canyon on its way to the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River.

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John Muir Trail
North & South

Rafferty Creek Trail Junction
on the

John Muir Trail

This Rafferty Creek trail junction offers Yosemite Valley bound backpackers their first, and most direct route to the Valley. It offers local backpackers the option of hiking a backpacking loop counter-clockwise out of Tuolumne Meadows to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, finishing the loop by dropping back into Lyell Canyon via Ireland Creek.

Trail Guide at Vogelsang

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp Main Trail Junction

 

Smart long distance backpackers on the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails will note all these salient facts for potential future use on return trips to explore all this more deeply.

 

 

Maps & Miles

Map
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

Mileage
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 

30 min Maps

30 min Map
With
TRAIL GUIDE PAGE LINKS


Central Yosemite

30 min Map
With
DETAILED MAP LINKS

Central & South Yosemite

 

 

 

Location
John Muir Trail
South Bank of the Tuolumne River

 

2.07 miles
North down Lyell Canyon to the Tuolumne Meadows Post Office-Store-Grill

.64 mile
North down Lyell Canyon to the bridge leading to Tuolumne Meadows High Sierra Camp

 

 

4.17 miles
South up Lyell Canyon to the
Ireland Creek trail to Vogelsang via Evelyn Lake.

10.62 miles
South up and out of Lyell Canyon climbing to Donohue Pass
.

 

 

Page Index


Off the
John Muir Trail
hiking
South Up Rafferty Creek

Trail up Rafferty Creek to Tuolumne Pass from Lyell Canyon.

Trail up Rafferty Creek to Tuolumne Pass and Vogelsang just (.74) beyond, from Lyell Canyon.

At
Vogelsang High Sierra Camp
We can figure out our miles to all sorts of potential destinations, once we get up to the
four-way trail junction in Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.

 

Miles to Vogelsang from Yosemite Valley

 

Here's how I have it:

We are 2.07 miles South of the Post Office.

This trail up Rafferty Creek crosses 4.76 miles from this junction to Tuolumne Pass.

It is .74 of a mile from Tuolumne Pass to the main junction in Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.

 

TOTAL
7.57 miles from Tuolumne Meadows Post Office to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp via Tuolumne Pass.

 

Trail to Tuolumne Pass and Meadows from Vogelsang High Sierra Camp

 

 

 

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Trail North
JMT-PCT
Back to Tuolumne Meadows
Wilderness Boundary

Distance sign at Rafferty Creek to Tuolumne Meadows down Lyell Canyon.

1.4 miles North on the John Muir Trail to the Wilderness Boundary at the Tuolumne Meadows Car Campground.

We can see a very faded Pacific Crest Trail emblem above the miles plate.

Behind Us:
Hiking South on the JMT
Our next landmark will be 4.17 miles South of this Rafferty Creek trail junction up Lyell Canyon to where the trail to Ireland Lake and Vogelsang High Sierra Camp breaks off to the Southwest to climb out of Lyell Canyon to the Cathedral Crest.

 

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Hiking South
Rafferty Creek Footbridge
Rafferty Creek bridge in Lyell Canyon along the unified John Muir & Pacific Crest Trails.

Looking South
Rafferty Creek bridge in Lyell Canyon along the unified John Muir & Pacific Crest Trails.

Upward Bound
Now we follow the placidly bending course of the JMT-PCT as it follows the gradually ascending trail through the expansive meadows and nubs of forest decorating the almost-flat floor of Lyell Canyon as we push up to the very top-end of the canyon floor, where our long, gradual ascent up the Lyell Canyon turns into the seriously difficult climb up to Donohue Pass.

Miles to Climb Point

But for now, and until we reach the end of the flat floor of Lyell Canyon, we have a nice, almost-flat gradual ascent hiking South up Lyell Canyon. This is easy hiking.

 

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John Muir Trail
Mount Dana
Southeast
from
North End Lyell Canyon

Mount Dana from the North end of Lyell Canyon on the John Muir Trail.

We are essentially looking diagonally to our Southeast across the open mouth of Lyell Canyon.

That means this is our last view of Mount Dana to the Southeast from the North end of Lyell Canyon. Our view of Mount Dana will be obscured as we push deeper up into Lyell Canyon under the line of the Kuna Crest.

We get another, last look at Mount Dana just after we cross over Donohue Pass, then scramble up the South end of the Cathedral Crestline above the two hidden lakes we've scrambled off the John Muir Trail to explore and camp beside.

 

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Looking East across
North End of Lyell Canyon

Looking across the North end of Lyell Canyon,

Bending Lyell Canyon
South beyond the Rafferty Creek trail junction the Southbound line of Lyell Canyon, which runs just a bit South of East below the Rafferty Creek trail junction, narrows and bends decisively to the Southeast.

In the image above we are at that bend in Lyell Canyon, looking across this narrow point of Lyell Canyon as the course of the canyon bends Southeast.

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looking Southeast
North End Kuna Crest

Looking South down Lyell Canyon at the North end of the Kuna Crest.

Entering Lyell Canyon on very overused trail.
Looking South down Lyell Canyon at the North end of the Kuna Crest.


Marmot in the Meadow
Yellow Bellied Marmot checking us out as we hike up Lyell Canyon.

Wildlife
Yellow-bellied Marmot in Lyell Canyon meadow.

Small Mammals Forum, References, and Identification

Living Things Forum

 

All High Sierra Identification Guides & References
(Scroll Down)

 

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Trail
Tuolumne River in Lyell Canyon with Kuna Crest rising in background.

We're hiking South to the next major bend in Lyell Canyon, where it bends almost directly South once we hike past the Ireland Lake trail to Vogelsang.


On the Trail
David and Sarah Razor hiking North to Tuolumne Meadows down Lyell Canyon.

We hike South into the Northbound team of David and Sarah Razor hiking from Agnew Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows, then looping back, somehow. That's the plan!


View Southeast
Donohue Peak
Triple Junction

Donohue Peak at the distant South end of Lyell Canyon.

Donohue Peak at the distant South end of Lyell Canyon.

The Sierra Crestline is running North-South along the crest of the Eastern Valley wall, as the Kuna Crest, to our East, Left in the image above.

The Crestline of the Cathedral Range makes its arcing bend, wrapping around the Watershed of the Merced River, to our West, to our Right along the top of the Western Wall of Lyell Canyon in the image above.

In front of us the line of the Sierra Crest runs across Donhue Peak before it descends to Donohue Pass, before climbing West to intersect with the South end of the Cathedral Crestline just South of Mount Lyell, where the Sierra Crestline meets the North end of the Ritter Range and the South end of the Cathedral Range at Rodgers Peak.

We are at the point three classic High Sierra mountain ranges intersect crossing Donohue Pass.

We hike South up Lyell Canyon to finally climb up very close to the point where these three daughter ranges of the greater Sierra Nevada Crestline converge: The Kuna Crest of the main Sierra Crestline runs into the bottom of the Cathedral Range, where the Sierra Crestline continues South along the top of the Ritter Range.

This is the best map for that region:

Central & South Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

So, the location of our PCT-JMT crossing Donohue Pass lays just a short distance to the Right of the base of the Western Flank of Donohue Peak shown above, along that run of the Sierra Crestline, composing a low point along the Sierra Crestline just East of the point where three mighty components of the High Sierra Mountain Range converge.

That point, being Donohue Pass, is a short distance out of the Right side of the image above of Donohue Peak above.

 

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Refreshing
Water & Light
Show
Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River

Sparkling waters of Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River.

Translucent distortions

It seems the water is also in on this "Range of Light" thing.

Sparkling waters of the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River.

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Riders
Riders in Lyell Canyon.

Horseparty riding from Vogelsang to Tuolumne Meadows.

I'm pretty sure it's Vogelsang they are coming from, 'cause the horsepackers were bringing back both camper supplies and empty stock from resupplying a High Sierra Camp.

Along the way hiking out of Yosemite Valley to Merced Lake I noted the horsepackers resupplying the Merced Lake High Sierra Camp, informing me the Yosemite Valley horsepacking station was resupplying Merced Lake, with the Tuolumne Meadows horsepacking station servicing Vogelsang.

So I figured these folks were coming out of Vogelsang.


South-Southeast
Donohue Peak and Pass from Lyell Canyon.

Donohue Peak and Pass from Lyell Canyon.

Donohue Peak and Pass from Lyell Canyon.
We've hiked South up Lyell Canyon far enough that the cleft in the Cathedral Range cut by Ireland Creek running up to Ireland Lake, then up and over to Evelyn Lake and onto Vogelsang High Sierra Camp is opening up to our Right, our Southwest.

Beyond the gash in the Cathedral Range running up to Ireland Lake we can see Lyell Canyon bending to the South around Potter Point, which is rising out of the Right edge of the image above. (Southwestern edge of the image).

Straight ahead and a bit to the Left, the Southeast, we can see the hulking mass of Donohue Peak, and off to its Right we can see the low, faint rise on the furthest distant Sierra Crestline where our combined John Muir and Pacific Crest Trail routes depart Yosemite over Donohue Pass into the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Donohue Pass is located to the Right, to the Southwest of both the massive bulk of Donohue Peak, and to the right of the low rise we see on the furthest line of the Sierra Crestline in the furthest distance.



A Closer Look
at
Donohue Pass
to our
South-Southeast

A close look at the terrain at the top of Lyell Canyon from the Ireland Lake trail junction along the John Muir Trail.

Taking a closer look at the low rise along the Sierra Crestline in the center of the second image above. (We also get a look at that mound of granite from below the footbridge.)

The combined route of the JMT-PCT runs around the base of the Right flank of that low rise we can see at the furthest distance in the middle of the image, in the middle of the distant crestline crossing the image. Donohue Pass is located at the base of the Right Flank of that low rise. As we trace out the apparent crestline running West (Right) from the low rise we can see a dark mass jutting up on the far Right of the image. That is just below Peak 12356, which is a short distance down the Southeastern bending curve of the Cathedral Crestline from Lyell Peak. Peak 12356 caps the South end of the Cathedral Crestline it shares with Mounts Lyell and Maclure.

So, our trail proceeds up the floor of Lyell Canyon past the upcoming Ireland Lake-Vogelsang trail junction to depart the John Muir Trail for the hike up to Ireland Lake and/or Vogelsang, or we stay on the Southbound JMT-PCT following the bend in Lyell Canyon up to the end of the floor of Lyell Canyon.

Approaching the end of Lyell Canyon we begin getting some pretty good views up at the South end of the Cathedral Crestline where the Sierra Crestline running off the South end of the Kuna Crest merges back in, tying-in the line of the Sierra Crest between the Cathedral and Ritter Ranges.

We're crossing over to the East Flank of the Sierra through Donohue Pass.

East Flank Ahead
The last time hikers on the PCT route were on the East Flank was before crossing Dorothy Lake Pass into Yosemite. The last time we saw the East Flank if we hiked down to Tuolumne Meadows on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail was when we were in the Lake Tahoe Basin. We'll only be on the East Flank as we hike through the Rush Creek Watershed between Donohue and Island Passes.

It's pretty freeking amazing up there at the top of Rush Creek.

We climb out of the South end of the flat floor of Lyell Canyon, still following the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River up, now climbing steeply, until we bend hard to the East, to make our way around the Right flank of that low rise in the center-Left of the image above, which marks the location of Donohue Pass.

We can also bend our route climbing to Donohue Pass to target local peaks.

Turning West out of the Tuolumne River up the Maclure Creek approaches the Maclure Glacier and Peak, while continuing up above the John Muir Trail on the Lyell Fork approaches Lyell Peak and Glacier.

The JMT up Lyell Canyon is the main approach route for climbers targeting Mounts Lyell and Maclure. The other way in is through June Lake up Rush Creek and over Donohue Pass.

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View Almost Directly
South
Potter Point and Amelia Earhart Peak

Potter Point and Amelia Earhart Peak in Yosemite National Park.

TRAIL SOUTHWEST
A Potential Loop back to Tuolumne Meadows

Trail up to Ireland Lake trail junction, then on to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.
From Vogelsang we return to Tuolumne Meadows via Tuolumne Pass.

2012 above, 1999 below.

Potter Point and Amelia Earhart Peak, Yosemite National Park from Lyell Canyon.

Our view directly South is dominated by Potter Point backdropped by Amelia Earhart Peak, both descending off the line of the Cathedral Crest, which is rising to our South-Southwest and West, generally. The Cathedral Range is the Western wall of Lyell Canyon from Tuolumne Meadows down to Donohue Pass.

We're approaching a trail junction with a trail leading up alongside Ireland Creek climbing up along the Western base (the Right side) of that ridge we see above running down from Amelia Earhart Peak to Potter Point. That trail runs up to Ireland Lake, which is hidden in a fine basin nestled in below the visible flank of Amelia Earheart Peak we see above.

Bypassing the Ireland Lake Basin on that trail leads us "the long way," up to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp from Tuolumne Meadows. This route above gives us a third route to access the Merced River and the trails down into Yosemite Valley, other than the route of the John Muir Trail over Cathedral Pass, and the route through Tuolumne Pass via Rafferty Creek.

Now we've found the route over the Cathedral Range via Ireland Lake to Vogelsang, seen above.

Third Route to Yosemite Valley
This route described above would be our third and longest way to hike down to Yosemite Valley from Tuolumne Meadows, because this route hikes a ways South up Lyell Canyon before turning Southwest.

Local Yosemite Backpacking Loops
From Vogelsang we also have the option of hiking North through nearby Tuolumne Pass and down along Rafferty Creek back into Lyell Canyon to the Rafferty Creek trail junction with the JMT. That point is just 2.07 miles South of Tuolumne Meadows Car Campground, which would be the return leg of a pretty nice backpacking loop out of Tuolumne Meadows to Vogelsang via Ireland Lake.

So many trails, so many options, so little time!

 

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Marmot Activity
A marmot in the forest area around Ireland Creek in Lyell Canyon.

A marmot in the forest area around Ireland Creek in Lyell Canyon.


Marmot Closeup
Marmot Moment.

Marmot Moment.

 

 

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Bit of Forest along the Meadows
Trail through the edge of forest along the edge of Lyell Canyon's meadows.

Trail through the edge of forest along its sloppy interface with Lyell Canyon's meadows.

 

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So Many Forms of Beauty
Up Lyell Canyon

So very relaxing while being so strenous.

So very relaxing while being so very strenuous.

 

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So Many Forms of Beauty
Down Lyell Canyon

Looking down Lyell Canyon approaching Ireland Creek.

So very relaxing while being so very strenuous.

Well, this is not so strenuous, being "Easy 2" trail.

 

The Trail Rating System

 

Trail Section Forum

Trail
Segment Forum
Comments

 

Page Index

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John Muir Trail
North & South

 

Ireland Creek Trail Junction
on the

John Muir Trail

Here we find a trail leading Southwest up along Ireland Creek, first to a trail breaking off the main trail to find the end of the surprisingly expansive basin wedged-in under Parsons and Amelia Earhart Peaks holding Ireland Lake.

Continuing to follow the main trail past the Ireland Lake junction climbs us out of the basin holding Ireland Lake continuing toward the Cathedral Crest beyond an unnamed lake, then around Evelyn Lake before it finds the Tuolumne Pass gap, where we cross the Cathedral Crestline above and to the Southeast of Tuolumne Pass approaching Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.

Our hiking options from here at this JMT-Ireland Lake trail junction are to continue Southbound on the combined routes of the JMT-PCT up Lyell Canyon, to turn Southwest for the hike up to Vogelsang on the Cathedral Crestline via Ireland Creek, or turn around and go back to Tuolumne Meadows, which the page above amply covers.

 

Trail Guide Pages
Southwest & South

Southwest
to
Vogelsang

South
to
Donohue Pass

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp
to
JMT-PCT Lyell Canyon

Ireland Lake Junction
to
Donohue Pass

 

Vogelsang HSC is situated in a picturesque location towards the Southern end of the crestline of the Cathedral Range of Yosemite National Park.

Donohue Pass is our Gateway into the Ansel Adams Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest.

 

Merced Lake to Lyell Canyon to Island Pass
15 minute topo hiking map

 

Map
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

Mileage
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 

30 min Maps

30 min Map
With
TRAIL GUIDE PAGE LINKS


Central Yosemite

30 min Map
With
DETAILED MAP LINKS

Central & South Yosemite

 

 

 

 

Location
John Muir Trail

Ireland Creek
&
South Bank of the Tuolumne River

 

SOUTH

 

OF

4.17 miles
South of the Rafferty Creek trail junction

5.6 miles
South of the Yosemite Wilderness Boundary at TM Car Campground

6.24 miles
South of Tuolumne Meadows Post Office-Store-Grill

 

 

TO

6.45 miles
South to Donohue Pass
.

28.01 miles
South to Reds Meadow, JMT ROUTE

 

 

SOUTHWEST

6.09 miles
Southwest to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp
.

25.94 miles
Southwest to Yosemite Valley via Vogelsang HSC & Merced Lake

 

 

Page Index


Southwest
Second Vogelsang Junction
Ireland and Evelyn Lakes to Vogelsang

Miles sign at the trail junction leading to Vogelsang HSC via Ireland and Evelyn Lakes.

Miles sign at the trail junction leading to Vogelsang HSC via Ireland and Evelyn Lakes.

Our last option up to Vogelsang was back at the Rafferty Creek trail junction. That route through Tuolumne Pass is much more direct than this option.

 

Trail Section Forum

Trail
Segment Forum
Comments

 

Page Index

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North
John Muir Trail
down
Lyell Canyon
to
Tuolumne Meadows
Wilderness Boundary

Miles back to Tuolumne Meadows boundary from the Ireland Lake trail junction in Lyell Canyon.

One of the three trail signs at the Ireland Creek trail junction along Lyell Canyon leading Southwest to Ireland and Evelyn Lakes on the way up to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.


Trail

 

End of this Trail Guide Page
at
Ireland Creek Trail Junction
on the

John Muir Trail



Options

 

North
JMT-PCT to Tuolumne Meadows
The Page Above

 

Trail Guide Pages
South
&
Southwest

South
to
Donohue Pass

Southwest
to
Vogelsang

Ireland Lake Junction
to
Donohue Pass

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp
to
JMT-PCT Lyell Canyon

 

 

30 min Maps

30 min Map
With
TRAIL GUIDE PAGE LINKS


Central Yosemite

30 min Map
With
DETAILED MAP LINKS

Central & South Yosemite

 

 

 

Page Index

Next

Hiking
The JMT-PCT
Southern Exit from Yosemite

Lyell Canyon to Donohue Pass.

The John Muir Trail

North
Back to Tuolumne Meadows
UP THIS PAGE

 

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North: Glen Aulin to Tuolumne Meadows                                                        South: Donohue Pass

Backpacking
The Heart of Yosemite National Park

The Golden Triangle

Yosemite is a large National Park that I break down into North, Central, and South regions for the convenience of the Long Distance Backpacker.

We hike into the most Northwestern region of Yosemite through Bond or Dorothy Lake Passes on the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trails, respectively. To our East-Northeast are the Hoover Wilderness Trailheads, to our South-Southwest lays the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River.

We arrive at roughly the center of the Sierra Nevada arriving at Tuolumne Meadows. Here the end of our Tahoe to Yosemite Trail down the Sierra Crest is supplanted by the John Muir Trail heading South along the Sierra Crest from Tuolumne Meadows.

Since I consider everything South of Tuolumne Meadow to be the South Sierra, our explorations of the center of Yosemite will be quite limited. Unless we take an alternative route that will run us down to Yosemite Valley, first backwards on the John Muir Trail to Yosemite Valley, then back up to the JMT at the point 5.6 miles South of Tuolumne Meadows where we will resume our Southbound hike on the JMT through the Ireland Creek trail junction in Lyell Canyon.

That would be the Golden Triangle Route. Hiking the Golden Triangle Route in conjunction with, or I should say in addition to our hiking into Yosemite across the North Yosemite Backcountry, and our hiking out of Yosemite through Donohue Pass will give us a fairly broad and deep view of this magnificent park on our way down the Sierra Crest from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney.

Otherwise, we are just trading in the end of Tahoe to Yosemite Trail in Tuolumne Meadows for the route of the John Muir Trail moving South down Lyell Canyon as described on the page above.

 

THIS PAGE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION: STAY TUNED FOR MUCH MORE!

COME ON BACK NOW, 'YA HEAR?

 

 

7.5 Map:
Tuolumne Meadows Region

 

30 min Maps

30 min Map
With
TRAIL GUIDE PAGE LINKS


Central Yosemite

30 min Map
With
DETAILED MAP LINKS

Central & South Yosemite

 

 

Miles and Elevations

 

 

Comments

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Backpacking Trail Guide

PCT-TYT North

Glen Aulin
to
Tuolumne Meadows

 

Southwest to
Yosemite Valley
:
JMT

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Cathedral Lake

Compass and map directions are the best.

Backpacking Trail Guide

JMT
South

Ireland Lake Junction in Lyell Canyon
to
Donohue Pass

 

Southwest to
Yosemite Valley

via Merced Lake

Lyell Canyon
to
Vogelsang High Sierra Camp

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Backpacking Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

Your Guide to the High Sierra Crest, including the Tahoe to Yosemite, Pacific Crest, and John Muir Trails

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