Waugh and Gem Lakes from Donohue Pass. Banner reading, "Tahoe to Whitney" for the High Sierra trail guide. Rock Bird, "mountain chicken," below Donohue Pass.
Last light on Koip Crest crossing Donohue Pass.
Waugh and Gem Lakes from Donohue Pass.
Last light on Koip Crest to NE as we're descending Donohue Pass South into Rush Creek Watershed.
Rock Bird, "mountain chicken," below Donohue Pass.

 

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Testing yourself and gear

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Favorite Gear

Gear Reviews

 

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Trail
Segment

Donohue Pass to Island Pass
&
The
Rush Creek Drainage

 

Combined
JMT
& PCT

Trail
Section

Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow

 

BACKPACKING
ANSEL ADAMS WILDERNESS
INYO NATIONAL FOREST

 

Hiking
The
John Muir Trail

South
to
Reds & Agnew Meadow Trailheads

 

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Resupply
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Food

 

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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


JMT-PCT

Lyell
Canyon

up to
Donohue Pass
Trail Guide
SOUTH
WEST


JMT

Island
Pass
to
1000 Is
Lake
Trail Guide
SOUTH
EAST


PCT
East
Route
to
Agnew
Meadow
7.5
Topo
Map


Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadows
MAP

30 min
Trails
Map


Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadows
MAP

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
&
Yosemite
&
Inyo

Sierra
Weather

North
Yosemite
Weather


John Muir Trail
DONOHUE PASS

11,040
feet of elevation

Donohue Pass
Big Pond

Donohue Pass Pond along the John Muir Trail between Yosemite and Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Climbing South along the combined route of the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails to the pond on the North edge of the great flat constituting Donohue Pass.

 

Hiking Maps

Ireland Creek to Island Pass
USGS 7.5 Minute Backpacking Map
Donohue Pass to Island Pass
USGS 7.5 Minute Backpacking Map

 

trail forum comments

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Page Index

Backpacking
to & from
Donohue Pass

The Southern Boundary of Yosemite,
The Northern Boundary of Ansel Adams Wilderness.

 

Map

Donohue Pass to Reds Meadow Hiking Map
Covering the JMT, PCT, & River Routes, with June Lake

 

Miles
&
Elevations

Trail
Section

Total
John Muir Trail

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow Pack Station

34.25 miles

 

JMT, PCT & RIVER TRAIL MILES

Tuolumne Meadows
JMT
to
Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

Resupply

 

Resupply
South

to
Reds Meadow
(under construction)

Reds
&
Mammoth Lakes
Resupply
(forum)

 

 

 

Resupply
North

to
Tuolumne Meadows
Resupply

 

 

 

Resupply
Northwest

to
Yosemite Valley
Resupply

 

 

 

Trail
Section

Total
John Muir Trail

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow Pack Station

34.25 miles

Trail
Segments

John Muir Trail
South from Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Donohue Pass

12.69 miles

 

Donohue Pass
to
Island Pass

4.67 miles

 

Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadow
JMT Route

21.56 miles

 

 

Miles
and
Elevations

3 Routes
Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

We have
Three Options
from
Thousand Island Lake
to
Reds Meadow

 

Route #1
East Wall
PCT Route
1000 Island Lake Trail Junction
to
Agnew Meadow

7.66 Miles
27.63 miles Total

 

Route #2
West Wall
JMT Route
Thousand Island Lake Trail Junction
to
Reds Meadow

15.17 Miles
34.25 miles Total

 

Route #3
Down the Middle
River Route
1000 Island Lake Trail Junction
to
Agnew Meadow

7.66 Miles
26.74 miles Total

 

 

Alt Routes East

June Lake Map

 

Donohue Pass

PCT-JMT
SOUTH
TO

...to Marie Lake trail junction
2.52
miles

...to Waugh-June Lake trail junction
3.25
miles

...to Davis Lakes trail junction
3.68
miles

...to Island Pass
4.67
miles

 

...to 1000 Island Lake Trail Junction
Triple Trail Junction

6.39
miles

 

Local
Route & Loops

To & From
Mammoth Lakes Trailheads
Backpacking Options

We have a number of local options tying Agnew and Reds Meadows together in big loops around the headwaters of the San Joaquin. We can start North from Agnew Meadows on the PCT, and turn South at the triple trail junction at Thousand Island Lake to return via the Southbound John Muir Trail. Or visa-versa.

We also have fantastic local backpacking loops South out of Reds Meadow & Mammoth Pass, but we will address those later, as we begin hiking South from Reds.

Here, the "local" long distance backpacker has entrance and exit options to our North in Yosemite, to our East through Rush Creek from June Lake, and to our South using Agnew and Reds Meadows.

Donohue Pass to Reds Meadow Hiking Map
Covering the JMT, PCT, & River Routes, with June Lake

 

Maps and Miles
SOUTH

of
Donohue Pass

Ansel Adams Wilderness

Three Main Routes

South of
Thousand Island Lake

1st
The Standard
JMT
Route to Reds Meadow
(see map & miles below)

2nd & 3rd
Options

We have optional routes along the

PCT Route (Miles)
or the
River Trail (Miles)
both to
Agnew Meadow

All are route options South of
Thousand Island Lake

 

ALL ROUTES
North Ansel Adams Wilderness

JMT, PCT & RIVER TRAIL
BACKPACKING MAP

Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadow
Hiking Map

15 minute topo hiking map

ALL MILES & ELEVATIONS
Donohue Pass to Reds Meadow

JMT, PCT & RIVER
TRAIL MILES

Tuolumne Meadows
JMT
to
Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

More
Local
Backpacking Options

East of Donohue Pass
lays
Rush Creek Trailhead
(see map below)

 

JUNE LAKE LOOPS

Here we have options to put together loops coming out of and back to the Rush Creek Trailhead through Agnew and Island Passes.

 

Regional Topo Map of the Terrain Below
30 minute

Southbound Map
Ansel Adams Wilderness Backpacking Map

Schematic trail map with miles and elevations of Rush Creek Trail.

Detailed Map of the Above
Donohue Pass to Reds Meadow

 

From the
Rush Creek Trail junction
on the
JMT-PCT
hiking
NORTHEAST
to the
Rush Creek Trailhead
on
Highway 158

8.26 miles

 

NORTH
of
Donohue Pass
to
Tuolumne Meadows
or
Yosemite Valley

Northbound we have two standard targets: Tuolumne Meadows along the Northbound routes of the combined JMT & PCT, or we can cross the Cathedral Range via Ireland Creek out of Lyell Canyon for the walk down to Yosemite Valley.

 

NORTHBOUND
Maps
& Miles

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

Miles North
Tuolumne Meadows
JMT
to
Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

Miles
Northeast

Yosemite Valley
to
Lyell Canyon
(via Vogelsang)

Miles and Elevations

 


LARGE SCALE MAPS
BOTH

South Yosemite
&
North
Ansel Adams Wilderness

Central & South Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

  Ansel Adams Wilderness
Inyo National Forest

30 Minute topo hiking map

Backpacker Resources
and
Hiker Information

Though this trailads.

John Muir & Pacific Crest
Backpacking Trail Information

This
Page Index
top

 

Ansel Adams
Wilderness

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
REGIONAL FORECAST
Yosemite to Kings Canyon Forecast

NWS
STATION REPORT
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

Central Yosemite
Hwy 120 Corridor

Tenaya Lake

Tuolumne Meadows

Tioga Entry Station

Northeast

Slide Mountain

Around our Position

Gem Pass

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Pass

All
Ground Reporting Stations

MesoWest
N Calif Stations

Calif Snotel

Not all of our reporting stations are in direct proximity to the area covered on this guide page.

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

That will help figure out the conditions in terrain with similiar aspect and elevation.

 

Road Conditions

Caltrans Hwy 120

 

Big View
Radar

North California
Radar

Big View
Space

Western US
Satellite

More Resources

 

All
High Sierra Weather
Resources

 

High Sierra
Fire and Smoke
Information

 

 

> Forum <
Backpacking Trails and Topics Forums

Lakg the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Comments


Donohue Pass
along the
John Muir Trail

 

Transitions

Crossing
Out of Yosemite

Long Distance Backpacker

Alternative Routes
North & Southbound
We may have arrived at Donohue Pass from Yosemite Valley by climbing up & over the Cathedral Crest into Lyell Canyon hiking a leg of the "Golden Triangle" route down to, and back out of Yosemite Valley, as we make a classic transition from the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail across the North Sierra to the JMT-PCT tracking down the Crest of the South Sierra. On the other hand, Yosemite Valley may be our destination hiking North from Donohue Pass.

We may be hiking South from Tuolumne Meadows along the standard route of the combined John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails, looking to our next resupply spot at Reds Meadow and Agnew Meadow, respectively, and maybe even a nice little stop-over in Mammoth Lakes for a couple of nights of extended rest, resupply, and recharge. Or we may be following the JMT-PCT routes North to Tuolumne Meadows on our itinerary.

In any case, our long distance backpacking objectives typically requires we cross Donohue Pass. Why Donohue Pass?

 

South End of Yosemite
Donohue Pass is remarkable for a number of reasons, one being it's the first point the Sierra Crest trails cross 11,000 feet hiking South from Lake Tahoe. We come close crossing the Latopie Gap on Leavitt Peak, about 2.5 miles South of Sonora Pass. Donohue Pass is also about the right distance for our first day South out of our last resupply stop at Tuolumne Meadows, or our last night before hiking North into Tuolumne Meadows, in either case Donohue Pass has beautiful campsites on both its North and South Flanks, if each location does have its own specific complications.

 

Yosemite Donohue Pass Exit Quota

Yosemite Permits

 

Busy Place
NORTH FLANK
The complication on the North Flank under Donohue Pass is that camping and campsites in the upper and lower basins along the upper reaches of the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River are limited along the line of the combined JMT-PCT routes.
At the upper basin we had the option of scrambling a bit upriver off the line of the John Muir Trail, following the Tuolumne River off the line of the JMT where it crosses the upper basin, with us hiking up into the "upper-upper" basin to find a nice, remote campsite up there. We can always find a nice campsite up there, a ways off the JMT along what turns out to be the line of one of the routes leading up to the top of Mount Lyell.

 

The Top
There is not much in the way of attractive camping at Donohue Pass itself. Though I've camped nearby, just a short ways down the South Flank below Donohue Pass. Though there is water in the ponds at the top of Donohue Pass, it's pond water. By far my favorite place to camp near the top of Donohue Pass is on the South flank is at the two lakes nestled just under the Crestline off to the South of Donohue Pass (by the compass), once we cross over to the South Flank of Donohue Pass and descend a very short way.

 

Off the Trail
A short but challenging little scramble brings us over to these two lakes wedged up under the Sierra Crestline on the South Flank of Donohue Pass.

These lakes were described on the
previous trail guide page.

 

South End of Yosemite
into
Ansel Adam Wilderness
We covered approaching these lakes, checking them out, and scrambling beyond these lakes at the very end of the previous trail guide page covering the hike from the
Ireland Creek junction to Donohue Pass.

If we are not camping at or near Donohue Pass we will likely hike down to the top of the finger of lush, verdant green terrain reaching up to the treeline along Rush Creek, to find a plush site along its scenic banks, rock formations, and whitebarks for this night's campsite.

 

Crossing over Donohue Pass, the character of the grandure surrounding us changes.

SECTION GOALS

Southbound JMT
What we are doing after reaching Donohue Pass depends on when we reach it, and how that fits into our overall plans. I am typically continuing South from Tuolumne Meadows on the John Muir Trail after finishing the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

I'm looking forward to an extra night or two along this short section of trail between resupply points to check out the amazing range of beauty and complexity of the mountain terrain here. Two locations typically grab my attention here.

Top of Rush Creek
Verdant Wonderland
The first is the Garden of Eden type environment along the top of the finger of moss, granite, and whitebark pines reaching up along the upper reaches of Rush Creek into the stark white hard granite under the South Flank of Donohue Pass. I always enjoy approaching and entering this remarkable fertile green zone of lush terrain below the Pass and above the warm forests below.

Island Pass to Lake Catherine
The other area that demands my attention is the shelf of terrain running from Island Pass bending to the West & South around the West Shore, the backside of Thousand Island Lake, reaching around to Lake Catherine wedged into the backside of Banner Peak. This shelf of terrain is a scrambler's wonderland, and I like to spend an extra night at one of the fantastic lakes near Island Pass to explore it at my leasure during a "day off" from hiking the long trails. We will take a day or two of extra scrambling and exploring along this next remarkably beautiful and expansive section of trail from Donohue Pass to Thousand Island Lake.

"I arrived, I observed, I scrambled."

Since we've spent the time and energy to hike all the way down to Rush Creek and Thousand Island Lake from Lake Tahoe, we're damn sure going to take the time to explore and absorbe as much of this remarkable terrain as we can, every time we hike through.

Our previous section of trail between resupply points to the North took us across the 73.71 miles from Sonora Pass to Tuolumne Meadows. This current section of the John Muir Trail spans 34.25 miles from Tuolumne Meadows South to Reds Meadow only crosses half that distance. This short section gives us a good chance to easily pack a couple of extra days' food to camp at custom sites, to take a couple of days off to do some serious scrambling.

Each of these next upcoming Southbound segments of our trail from Donohue Pass to Reds Meadow all have exceptionally beautiful unique configurations of terrain and ecology that we will only be able to properly explore by taking that necessary time, by packing that necessary extra food, and writing a couple of days off through this section into our plans, for deeper explorations.

Those are my section goals through these upcoming segments of our trails from Donohue Pass to Reds Meadow.

 

Donohue Pass
11,040

feet of elevation

 

Maps & Miles

Map
North & South

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

Miles
Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

Map North
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

 

 

30 min Map
Central Yosemite

 

Donohue Pass

SOUTH
OF

 

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

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

10.62 miles
South of the Rafferty Creek trail junction

6.45 miles
South of Ireland Creek-Vogelsang trail junction

3.57 miles
South of the End of Lyell Canyon

 

 

Map
North & South

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

Map
South

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 

Donohue Pass

SOUTH
TO

 

2.52 miles
South to Marie Lake trail junction.

3.25 miles
South to Waugh-June Lake trail junction.

3.68 miles
South to Davis Lakes trail junction.

4.67 miles
South to Island Pass.

 

6.39 miles
South to 1000 Island Lake
Triple Trail Junction
.

 

21.56 miles
South to Reds Meadow
JMT ROUTE

 

Page Index



Boundary Across
Donohue Pass

Donohue Pass Pond along the John Muir Trail between Yosemite and Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Southern Yosemite Boundary into the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

trail forum comments

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Trail

Breaktime

Donohue Pass

Sometimes I push down to the top of the quite special verdant green swath of moss and meadows running up into the rock terrain under the South Flank of Donohue Pass along Rush Creek. I figure its less than a mile down to the top of this lushness, where it ends at the local treeline. Descending less that 2 miles puts us into the thick of it, with all sorts of custom, awesome campsites to choose from.

Below this narrow zone of lushness the temps warm, the moss retreats, and the hearty stands of whitebarks on granite are supplanted by thicking lodgepoles and mixed forests.

So, I'm going to take a break at the top of Donohue Pass, even if I am only proceeding over the Pass and over to the lakes under the crestline, or if I'm continuing a couple of miles further South from Donohue Pass to camp along the top of Rush Creek's treeline. Donohue Pass is a significant high point, so I am going to kick back, look around, and enjoy it for a while in any scenario.

Plus, I almost always meet some critters up here, mostly birds screwing around in the rocks. The grass growing around this vast talus field supports a big enough population of insects supporting a population of mountain chickens that I almost always have an encounter, an encounter of the mountain chicken type, every time I hike through.

Grouse at the little pond on Donohue Pass.
Grouse relaxing at the little pond on Donohue Pass.

I was sweet-talking, and these normally tweaky birds were fluffing-up,
and digging my human mountain joy vibe.
White Tailed Ptarmigan relaxing with Al.
COMMUNICATION
I was clicking softy and telling them what frigging good-looking birds they were, and how happy I was to see them. Their first inclination was flight, as in "run away," but I could see that they had been conditioned by previous backpackers to the possibility of picking up some backpacker food.

Well, no, not from me. I don't feed the critters. Not food.

Seeing that hesitation allowed me to fill it with good sounds and vibes, which they interpreted properly as consisting of pleasure, rather than pain, which stopped their rush to get away from me.

The bird above "fluffed up," and narrowed its eyes enjoying the love.

As the human we are the self-reflective ones, "setting the stage," so to speak.

Duces
A couple of Grouse
Talking softy, speaking "sweet-nothings," and "clicking friendly" got the coupled grouse to chillax.

Cityiodits have been training these birds to solicit food by feeding them, which makes them human-dependent, but I NEVER feed the critters.
Why?

Living Things Policy

Control the Interaction,
Human...
It was helpful that I spotted them first, and clicked them a soft greeting before they had the chance to be too shocked by my sudden arrival. Birds hate being surprised. They much prefer a polite greeting. After controlling and conditioning our meeting with a polite greeting and establishing good audible vibes these birds knew I was not a threat, so they kicked back to listen to my extended lecture on the beauty, utility, and grace of High Altitude Rock Birds.

Bird Identification, News, & Research

They were a good audience for this particular lecture. Other "Animal Lectures" I give every now and again are not as well-recieved. I am thinking about those damn human-acclimated Yosemite Bears that the Park Service pulls out of Yosemite Valley, and drop up here. Those bears just don't listen.

They ignore all good manners even as we lecture them most forcefully about our "no bears in camp" policy with tongue and rock. The Marmots, on the other hand, pretend they do not hear us, but they can, and I know the Marmots know exactly what I'm saying, but are ignoring me as they make their own, independent plans.

The acclimated Yosemite bears ignore both tongue and rock, continuing their quest to steal our food as both our words and rocks bounce off their fortress-like bodies. Marmots will just kick back from a safe distance, ignoring everything we are telling them, while they are watching us and thinking about how far we will have to wander from camp before they will come in to check it out.

I know what you're thinking, Marmot!

Typical Bear Lecture

 

Page Index




Southbound into Ansel Adams Wilderness
Donohue Pass

Ansel Adams Boundary atop Donohue Pass.

The sign marking our passage South across Donohue Pass into the North end of Ansel Adams Wilderness.

 

Trail Section Forum

Trail
Segment Forum
Comments

 

Page Index

Top of Page


Considering
A Campsite

At, or Just
South
of
Donohue Pass

South Flank of Donohue Pass
to the
Two Lakes
under
The Sierra Crestline

just a bit off the
John Muir Trail

Before continuing South we are going to spend the night up here. I figure I'm going to find my way almost directly South (by the compass) of Donohue Pass to the two little lakes wedged in under the crestline. The thing is, it's pretty rough terrain pushing South from the Crestline at Donohue Pass, or from just below it on the South Flank.
So I figure I'm going to descend South down the John Muir Trail, just a short ways, observing carefully for the best "channel" or "channels" in the rock moving directly to our South, to our Southbound Right off the trail, before I just plunge off the trail. A little foresight and good observation makes our route over to these sweet little lakes a lot easier.

I have it in my mind's eye that it's best to descend a little ways along the Southbound JMT before cutting South off the trail. It's harder to get over from the top. But, don't descend too far. We want to traverse over to the lakes, not climb!

Our other options for camping up here are in or near the Upper Basin of the Tuolumne River, which lay .95 of a mile North along the combined PCT-TYT, down the West Flank from Donohue Pass, shown on the trail guide page to the North.

Our other option for camping is just a short ways, about .83 of a mile to our South down from Donohue Pass along the JMT-PCT, at the fine sites that begin to appear at the top of the finger of green moss and whitebark pines reaching up along Rush Creek to the treeline. Those sites at the top of, and just below Rush Creek's treeline, are located within a unique environment that's worth checking out and exploring, even if you are not going to camp there.

Have one of the day's long lunches at the top of Rush Creek, if you can't camp there.

 

TOP OF THE TREELINE
along
RUSH CREEK
What makes the top of the green run along Rush Creek so special is the creek's moss covered banks circling around reflective pools highlighting not just the surrounding mountains, but the many mounds of whitebark-topped and shaded granite formations rising out of the moss.

I always expect to see a hobbit chasing a rabbit through here...

 

Maps & Miles

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

Mileage
Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow
Miles and Elevations

 

 

Map North
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

 

 

30 min Map
Central Yosemite

 

 

Page Index

OFF THE TRAIL
to the
Two Lakes

View Northeast
Looking Down at Donohue Pass

Donohue Pass, Kuna Peak, and the Koip Crest.

Up against the Wall;

We've hiked over Donohue Pass, then scanned the terrain to find the best route cutting West off the John Muir Trail over to the two blue lakes nestled up under where the Sierra Crestline bends South.

After making camp we scramble further West and up to get this overview of Donohue Pass below, the granite mound rising to its East, and the foot of Donohue Peak rising out of the upper-Right edge of the image.

 

Page Index

Top of Page


One of Donohue Pass's Lakes
Terrain looking East and Northeast of Donohue Pass.

Below us stretching out to the Northeast beyond these fine hidden lakes is Donohue Pass, Mount Dana is the great dark pyramid in the distant Left, and the Koip Crest runs South across most of the top of the image.

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Transitions

Crossing
Out of Yosemite

The character of the grandure changes.

top of page

View South from Donohue Pass

Southeast from Donohue Pass.

As we begin making our way South off the Donohue Pass Flat we can begin to see Ritter and Banner peaking over the ridge to our direct South.

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View East
Middle San J to the South,
Rush Creek to East Below

Rush Cree Watershed below South Flank of Donohue Pass.

Rush Creek Watershed below South Flank of Donohue Pass, veering off to the Left.

The middle Fork of the San Joaquine River runs Northwest to Southeast in a majestic two-tone canyon below San Joaquin Mountain, which is the predominant peak in Distant Center.

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Mammoth Mountain to Our Southeast
View of Mammoth Mountain from below South flank of Donohue Pass.

Hiking down in early morning provides the contrast to pick up the detail of the ridges, peaks, and valleys looking to our Southeast at Mammoth Mountain

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View South
Minarets along the Sierra Crestline to our South.
Minarets along the Sierra Crestline to our South.

Banner and Ritter from Left to Right in the center distance, with Mount Davis to their "Right," but much closer than Banner and Ritter.

Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadow Hiking Map

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

Central & South Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

 

Ansel Adams Wilderness
Inyo National Forest

30 Minute topo hiking map

 

Miles and Elevations
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
MILES and ELEVATIONS

 

  A "Must" Read
About
Miles and Elevations
in the
High Sierra

 

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South
Banner Peak and Mount Ritter
Ritter and Banner to our South.

The Sierra Crestline to our South, wrapping around Davis Lakes, before it bends South across Banner Peak and Mount Ritter.

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View North
Donohue Peak

Looking back the Way we Came.

View North of Donohue Peak from top of the strip of green running along to the top of Rush Creek.

Donohue Pass is to the Left of Donohue Peak.

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East
Waugh Lake

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Schematic Trail Map
Rush Creek Trail
OPTIONS

Miles and elevations for trails in Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Above find the main routes leading us into or out of the Northernmost segment of the Ansel Adams Wilderness wrapping around the Southeastern edge of Yosemite.

To our East we have road access to Highway 158, the June Lake Loop, via the Rush Creek Trail. These routes offer quick, but steep, access to the PCT-JMT from June Lake, and a number of loops and trips ideal for local backpackers. This direct route down to June Lake would only be benefical to wounded Long Distance Backpackers looking for the easiest way off the trail.

To the South we have three routes bringing us to "civilization," either the route of the John Muir Trail along the granite Western Wall of the headwaters canyon rising above the headwaters canyon of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin. Or, we can hike the PCT route on the other, the Eastern wall of the canyon.

We can hike East from the trail junction at Thousand Island Lake to wrap around under Agnew Pass, to follow the PCT onto the volcanic terrain making up the Eastern Wall of the Canyon, leading to Agnew Meadow. On the way East following the PCT to the East wall we find the trail leading down the center of the canyon into the bucolic forest, meadows, and soft soils of the River Trail, following the route of the Middle San Joaquin between the two much more famous trails.

Southbound
Hiking

MAPS

Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadow Hiking Map

15 minute topo hiking map
Ansel Adams Wilderness
Inyo National Forest

30 Minute topo hiking map

 

Northbound

Central Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

 

 

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Trail

Marie Lakes
Trail Junction
SPUR TRAIL

WEST
Spur Trail
Climbing
to
Marie Lakes

Marie Lakes Trail Junction
along the
John Muir Trail

10,072 feet of elevation

Marie Lakes trail junction on the John Muir Trail in South Ansel Adams Wilderness.

SIDE ROUTE
Southwest
to
Marie Lakes from JMT-PCT

 

1.57 MILES WEST
to
FIRST
of
MARIE LAKES

Marie Lake end of trail

10,856 ft

 

 

Island Pass
10,203
feet of elevation

 

Maps & Miles
NORTH

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

Map North
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

 

Miles & Elevations
Marie Lakes

 

 

30 min Map
Central Yosemite

 

 

Island Pass
Ansel Adams Wilderness

 

SOUTH
OF
Tuolumne Meadows

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

2.52 miles
South of the Yosemite Wilderness Boundary at Donohue Pass

 

 

 

Marie Lakes Trail Junction
Ansel Adams Wilderness

 

South
Down the Combined
John Muir & Pacific Crest Trails
TO

 

2.15 miles
Island Pass.

3.87 miles
Thousand Island Lake trail junction.

Thousand Island Lake trail junction
PCT-JMT-RIVER TRAIL JUNCTION

John Muir Trail
South from
Thousand Island Lake

4.39 miles
SE corner of Emerald Lake.

4.74 miles
Ruby Lake outlet creek.

5.96 miles
Garnet Lake footbridge-trail junction.

 

 

16.89 miles
South to Reds Meadow
JMT ROUTE

 

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Trail
 
Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadow Hiking Map

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

Central & South Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

 

Ansel Adams Wilderness
Inyo National Forest

30 Minute topo hiking map

 

Miles and Elevations
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
MILES and ELEVATIONS

 

  A "Must" Read
About
Miles and Elevations
in the
High Sierra

 

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Trail
Trail Junction
to
Waugh, Gem, Silver
&
June Lakes

along the
John Muir Trail

9613 feet of elevation

 

SIDE ROUTE
NORTHEAST
to
Waugh Lake

 

 

Island Pass
10203
feet of elevation

 

Maps & Miles
NORTH

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

Map North
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

 

30 min Map
Central Yosemite

 

Island Pass
Ansel Adams Wilderness

 

SOUTH

(NOT DONE)

OF

XX.36 miles
South of Tuolumne Meadows Post Office-Store-Grill

XX.76 miles
South of the Yosemite Wilderness Boundary at Donohue Pass

 

 

 

Island Pass
Ansel Adams Wilderness

 

Down the John Muir Trail
TO

 

X.72 miles
Thousand Island Lake trail junction.

X.24 miles
SE corner of Emerald Lake.

X.59 miles
Ruby Lake outlet creek.

X.81 miles
Garnet Lake footbridge-trail junction.

 

 

16.89 miles
South to Reds Meadow
JMT ROUTE

 

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Trail
Trail Junction
to
Davis Lakes

along the
John Muir Trail

 

9695 feet of elevation

 

 

SIDE ROUTE
Southwest
to
Davis Lakes

 

 

Island Pass
10203
feet of elevation

 

Maps & Miles
NORTH

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

Map North
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

 

30 min Map
Central Yosemite

 

Island Pass
Ansel Adams Wilderness

 

SOUTH

(NOT DONE)

OF

XX.36 miles
South of Tuolumne Meadows Post Office-Store-Grill

XX.76 miles
South of the Yosemite Wilderness Boundary at Donohue Pass

 

 

 

Island Pass
Ansel Adams Wilderness

 

Down the John Muir Trail
TO

 

X.72 miles
Thousand Island Lake trail junction.

X.24 miles
SE corner of Emerald Lake.

X.59 miles
Ruby Lake outlet creek.

X.81 miles
Garnet Lake footbridge-trail junction.

 

 

16.89 miles
South to Reds Meadow
JMT ROUTE

 

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Transitions

Crossing
Out of Yosemite

The character of the grandure changes.

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Lower Cathedral Lake
Trail Junction
SPUR TRAIL

SOUTHWEST:
Spur Trail
to
Lower Cathedral Lake
 

 

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Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadow Hiking Map

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

Central & South Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

 

Ansel Adams Wilderness
Inyo National Forest

30 Minute topo hiking map

 

Miles and Elevations
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
MILES and ELEVATIONS

 

  A "Must" Read
About
Miles and Elevations
in the
High Sierra

 

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Island Pass
Island Pass
along the
John Muir Trail

 

 

Island Pass
10203
feet of elevation

 

Maps & Miles
NORTH

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

Map North
Tuolumne Meadows Trail Map
15 Minute topo hiking map

 

30 min Map
Central Yosemite

 

Island Pass
Ansel Adams Wilderness

 

SOUTH

 

OF

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

4.76 miles
South of the Yosemite Wilderness Boundary at Donohue Pass

 

 

 

Island Pass
Ansel Adams Wilderness

 

Down the John Muir Trail
TO

 

1.72 miles
Thousand Island Lake trail junction.

2.24 miles
SE corner of Emerald Lake.

2.59 miles
Ruby Lake outlet creek.

3.81 miles
Garnet Lake footbridge-trail junction.

 

 

16.89 miles
South to Reds Meadow
JMT ROUTE

 

Page Index

 

 

 

Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadow Hiking Map

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

Central & South Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

 

Ansel Adams Wilderness
Inyo National Forest

30 Minute topo hiking map

 

Miles and Elevations
Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow
MILES and ELEVATIONS

 

  A "Must" Read
About
Miles and Elevations
in the
High Sierra

 

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Upper Trail Junction
along the
John Muir Trail

Maps & Miles

Donohue Pass
to
Reds Meadow
Hiking Map

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

 

Ansel Adams Wilderness
Inyo National Forest

30 Minute topo hiking map
  Central & South Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

Page Index

 

Island Pass
turning around
LOOKING NORTHWEST

Donohue Peak Left, Koip Crest Right
Looking back at Donohue Peak, what I call, "The Triangle," and Koip Crest, from Left to Right, after crossing Island Pass.

 

Turning around and looking North, back at Donohue Peak on the Left, what I call, "The Triangle," centered in the image, with the Koip Crest along the Right, just steps after crossing Island Pass.

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

Central & South Yosemite Hiking Map
30 minute topo hiking map

 

 

  A "Must" Read
About
Miles and Elevations
in the
High Sierra

 

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R Peak

F Lake Loop Junction

Mileage

1.86 miles from the Raymond Lake junction South to Raymond Canyon.

3.68 miles from the Raymond Lake junction South to Pennsylvania Creek.

 

 

F Lake Loop Junction

Elevation: 75

Mileage: .91 miles from E Summit

 

N Lake's
Next

Crossing
The Heart of Yosemite

Down!

The John Muir Trail

North
Back to Donohue Pass
UP THIS PAGE

 

Previous Page
North
Ireland Lake junction
to
Donohue Pass

 

Next Page South:
From the XX Trail Junction



South from Lyell Canyon
to
Donohue Pass

 

WE make our way down to the Rim of the Merced River, then down the North Canyon Wall to Little Yosemite Valley, where we will spend the evening.

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North: Lyell Canyon to Donohue Pass                                                                   South: Island Pass to Thousand Island Lake

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 convience 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 the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail 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 and back up to the JMT 5.6 miles South of Tuolumne Meadows in Lyell Canyon.
This is the Golden Triangle Route. Hiking the Golden Triangel 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 broad view of this magnificant park on our way down the Sierra Crest from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney.

 

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

COME ON BACK NOW, 'YA HEAR?

 

7.5 Map:
Donohue Pass to Reds Meadow

 

30 min Map
Ansel Adams Wilderness

 

 

Miles and Elevations

 

 

Comments

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Backpacking Trail Guide

PCT-JMT
North

Lyell Canyon
to
Donohue Pass

Compass and map directions are the best.

Backpacking Trail Guide

PCT-JMT
South

Island Pass
to
Thousand Island Lake

Backpacker Forums

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A fine piece of gear? Or gear that failed? An excellent backpacking tip?

Post it on
TahoetoWhitney.Org

Above we come to the Front Page of the High Backpacking Trails and Topics Forums. Below we break the forums down into categories:

High Sierra Trails High Sierra Topics

The Trails Forum acts as your place to put up input, comments, relate your experiences, or ask questions about each segment and spot along the length of our combined TYT-PCT-JMT trails.

The Forum is your place to supplement the trail guide.

Anyone can post text comments in the existing forums, but only members can post up new topics, along with images, maps, and formatting.

Become a Member

If you have experiences, comments, questions, or pictures and videos of the Pacific Crest Trail between Sonora Pass and Tuolumne Meadows, post up here as an unknown hiker or as a member:

Forum Section
Ansel Adams Wilderness
Forum Segment
Donohue Pass to Island Pass
Trailhead
Contact
Alex Wierbinski

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Backpacking Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

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