The Shape of Banner Peak. Banner reading, "Tahoe to Whitney" for the High Sierra trail guide. Distinctive crest outline of Mount Ritter.
Mount Ritter overshadowed by Mount Banner.
Banner Peak.
Mount Ritter overshadowing Banner Peak.
Mount Ritter

 

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Testing yourself and gear

Member
Favorite Gear

Gear Reviews

 

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Trail Segment
Island Pass to Thousand Island Lake

 

JMT & PCT
Trail Section

Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow

 

BACKPACKING
ANSEL ADAMS WILDERNESS
INYO NATIONAL FOREST

 

Hiking
The
John Muir Trail

South
to
Reds Meadow

 

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40 Days to Whitney

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Trail Guide
INDEX


JMT-PCT
Tuolumne Meadows

to
Reds Meadow
Trail Guide
NORTH


JMT-PCT
Donohue Pass
to
Island
Pass
Trail Guide
SOUTH
WEST


JMT
1000 Is
Lake
to
Reds
Meadow
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


Island Pass
to
Thousand Island Lake

John Muir Trail

South
to
Reds
&
Mammoth Lakes
Resupply

 

 

Trail
Section

John Muir Trail

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Reds Meadow Pack Station

34.25 miles

 

 

 

Trail
Segments

John Muir Trail
South
Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows
to
Island Pass

17.36 miles

 

John Muir Trail

Island Pass
to
Thousand Island Lake trail junction

1.72 miles

 

John Muir Trail

Thousand Island Lake trail junction
to
Reds Meadow Trailhead

15.17 miles


Short Segment

At Thousand Island Lake we find three routes down to the trailheads at Agnew Meadows and Reds Meadow. The PCT runs down the barren East Flank of the Canyon, the River Trail follows the soft, forest shaded route down the center of the canyon, while the John Muir Trail finds its way through the glacially sculpted granite carved into the Western Wall of the Canyon under the crowing Ritter Range rising above.

I prefer the latter, which is also the longest and hardest of our three hiking options from Thousand Island Lake to the Shuttle to Mammoth Lakes.

 

Here's the different trails, and their different miles from Thousand Island Lake to their respective trailheads.

Down The Center

The River Trail
Thousand Island Lake
to
Agnew Meadows
hiking down
The
Middle Fork
of the
San Jouquin River


7.66 miles

East Route

The Pacific Crest Trail
Thousand Island Lake
to
Agnew Meadows
via
Eastern Wall
of the
San Jouquin River Canyon


8.55 miles

 

The John Muir Trail
Thousand Island Lake
to
Reds Meadow



15.17 miles

 



Map and Miles
SOUTH

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

 

 

Maps
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

The reason this short section of the trail deserves its own page is that it begins with a great flat shelf of terrain surrounding Island Pass that wraps around the North and Western Shores of Thousand Island Lake accessing the scrambing approaches to the backsides of Banner and Ritter Peaks.

 

 

Backpacker Resources
and
Hiker Information

Though this trailads.

John Muir Trail
Backpacking 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

North of Yosemite
Hwy 108 Corridor

Sonora Pass reporting station

Leavitt Lake reporting station

Leavitt Meadow reporting station

Horse Meadow Reporting Station

Around our Position

Tenaya Lake

Tuolumne Meadows

Tioga Entry Station

Northeast

Slide Mountain

All
Ground Reporting Stations

MesoWest
N Calif Stations

Calif Snotel

Note that the ground reporting stations above are North and East of our position backpacking across Central Yosemite Wilderness.

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

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

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

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 these 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


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


Looking North
across
Island Pass
Looking North across Island Pass at Donohue Peak and Koip Crest.

We just crossed Island Pass.
Now, we're looking North across Island Pass at Donohue Peak and Koip Crest.

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Southbound
through
Island Pass
on the
John Muir Trail

The Layout South

Three Routes
to
Agnew & Reds
Meadows
Coming across Island Pass the combined routes of the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails proceed rather directly to the Easternmost shore of Thousand Island Lake. On the Eastern shore of Thousand Island Lake we encounter the "triple trail junction," where the PCT breaks off onto the volcanic Eastern wall of the Canyon of the Middle Fork of the San Joquine, the JMT continues South through the granite terrain of the Western wall under the Minerets, while a few feet down the PCT we find the River Trail turning South to split the difference between the PCT on the East flank and the JMT on the West, by following the course of the San J river down the center of the canyon.

Local Color
But I suggest we consider at least spending at least one evening in proximity to Island Pass, if not two. Staying overnight allows us to soak in more of the environment than just hiking quickly through allows, but, spending two nights here allows us a long day of scrambling to explore the surrounding terrain.

Soak it Up
Our resupply points in Tuolumne Meadows and Reds Meadow are closely-spaced, making it quite easy to carry the extra food to support a full day of scrambling and exploration here.

 

 

Campsites on Island Pass
Crossing Island Pass a little scouting to our Left and Right, the East and West along our Southbound trail reveals more than one lake on both sides of the trail, each with a wonderful close-in environment in and around our campsite, with each site offering stunning views of the surrounding terrain.

East
Hiking maybe a hundred and thirty yards South of Island Pass the John Muir Trail takes a quick jog to the Right and then the Left under a mound of nearby granite sheltering a campsite. Looking East beyond that campsite, the observant will notice a natural channel cut into the boulders and terrain holding a very faint use trail tracking East. About a hundred and fifty yards down that faint, broken use trail is a fine campsite, and exceptional campsite, nestled into a perfect formation of boulders overlooking a sweet, sweet lake with the Koip Crest running up to the Sierra Crestline.

This site has a flat granite floor with fine sand, a sandy annex for sleeping, beautiful granite boulders wrapping around the site providing perfect seating, cooking, and leaning facilities, with excellent sun and wind protection.

That's my favorite camp to the East of Island Pass

 

 

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


Trail to East Camp
Last steps through rock channel down to my camp Southeast of Island Pass.

After breaking off to the East from a jog in the JMT just South of Island Pass, we make our way a couple of hundred yards East to the East end on a little lake to our North.

We find our last steps to our custom campsite by passing through the rock channel above, down to my custom little camp Southeast of Island Pass, with our view of the lake to our North from our campsite below.

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View North from Campsite
View Southwest from my favorite Island Pass campsite.

View to the Northwest from my favorite Island Pass campsite off to the Southeast of Island Pass.

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View Southwest

Banner and Ritter
from
Island Pass Campsite

View Southwest of a favorite Island Pass campsite.

Note my position of recline, enjoying the view to our Southwest from my favorite Island Pass campsite, the one to the Southeast of Island Pass.

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Campsite Views
of
Ritter-Banner
View of Ritter & Banner from Island Pass "East" campsite.

View from my campsite at one of my nearby kick-back spots, being that formation of rock & tree in the center, where I can sit, drink coffee, and observe.

Now, to get a better look at our surrounding terrain, we're going to take a little "scouting" hike as directly as we can towards the Ritter-Banner Massif, finding the best path to our Southwest from our camp to reach to top of the low rise we see ahead.

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Lake Southwest of our Campsite
Ritter and Banner from just Southeast of Island Pass.

Hiking Southwest from our campsite to the top of the rise beyond it we come to a small lake clearly reflecting the beauty of Ritter and Banner.

This location is just a few hundred yards off the John Muir Trail to the Southeast of Island Pass.

Wandering around up here is very rewarding!

These campsites are located on the kinda-flat plateau, being an eleveated shelf of terrain starting on the South side of Island Pass and wrapping around the north & West shores of Thousand Island Lake.

Hiking a bit further South will bring us onto the descent down to Thousand Island Lake.

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Campsites
West

of the
John Muir Trail
South of
Island Pass

Hiking to the campsites Southeast of Island Pass involved hiking a couple of hundred yards to find the very faint use trail leading East at the jog in the trail. We can see a couple of the lakes to the Southwest of Island Pass

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

 

 

Transitions

 

Alternative Routes
3 Ways Down

The John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails run all the way South from Tuolumne Meadows to Mount Whitney. Except this one upcoming segement of trail, which we are now encountering as we come to the trail junction on the end of Thousand Island Lake. The PCT forks off to our East to continue South through the volcanic terrain characterizing the East Flank of the Canyon, the JMT continues South throught he convoluted granites of the West Flank of the Canyon, while the River Route splits the difference in the center of the canyon betweem the two, accompanying the Middle Fork of the San Jouquin under nice forest cover on soft, river-bottom soils. That makes a difference if your feet are hurting.

Which trail do we take?

Which one have you not seen before? If none, I'd take the John Muir Trail because of its superior beauty. After taking the JMT a couple of times I explored the other two routes.

We're also considering differences between these trails, not only in mileage, but in every aspect of "trail reality," from the nature of the surfaces (hard, soft, and medium), the surrounding terrain & cover (fully exposed to forest-covered), and the differing character of different types of hikers we encounter on each trail (JMT, PCT, & local hikers). Other considerations to add to these calculations are distance & time, how we are feeling, and where we are resupplying.

If we are resupplying at Reds we are hiking to Reds, regardless of which trail we selected. We can hike into either trailhead, if we are shuttling into Mammoth Lakes to resupply.

Writing this guide has caused me to both use the package service out of Reds Meadow, while also taking the Shuttle to Mammoth for resupply, to check out both worlds. This way I keep up with how Reds is working and how things are going in Mammoth Lakes.

 

River Route
The River Routes has the softest trails, great riverside forest cover, and lots of local hikers working this easiest route up to Thousand Island Lake.

 

PCT
The PCT is barren and exposed crossing volcanic terrain. I hiked this route once and see absolutely no reason to hike it again, as the other two routes are much more interesting.
The good thing about this route down the PCT is that it gives us an excellent view to our West across the canyon at the route of the JMT running through the granite terrain along the base of the Minarets run along the Sierra Crestline, which is running North-South above the Western shore of the Middle San Jouquin's canyon here.

 

JMT
The JMT is exposed, crosses hard granite terrain, but offers more cover under tree and terrain than the PCT. The main difference is the JMT explores a convoluted line of trail along the top of the canyon running past a series of classic High Sierra lakes, all wedged into the glacially-carved nooks and crannies cut into the massive granite Western wall of the canyon.
Our route South on the JMT follows along this convoluted Western rim of the Canyon Wall of the Milddle Fork of the San Jouquin, sitting just above the massive canyon and just below the final precipitious rise of the Ritter Range to take up its run along the Sierra Crestline.

It's a nice position to be in.

 

 

 

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Trail
 

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Trail

Scrambling and Camping
from
Island Pass
to
Thousand Island Lake
M
along the
John Muir Trail

 

SIDE ROUTEs

8.76 ft

 

 

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
 

 

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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
 

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Trail
 

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Trail
 

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Tahoe to Whitney Videos
YouTube
Tahoe to Whitney Videos
YouTube Playlists

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Trail
 

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

along the
John Muir Trail

 

SIDE ROUTE
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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YouTube
Tahoe to Whitney Videos
YouTube Playlists

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A Campsite

 

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

just a bit off 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

 

 

 

 

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

 

Lower Cathedral Lake
Trail Junction
SPUR TRAIL

SOUTHWEST:
Spur Trail
to
Lower Cathedral Lake
 

 

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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 Island Pass
UP THIS PAGE

 

Previous Page
North
Donohue Pass to Island Pass

 

Next Page South:
From the Thousand Island Lake Trail Junction

South from Thousand Island Lake
to
Reds or Agnews Meadows,
depending on our route selection

 

WE make our way South, either down along one of the Rims or the Shores of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, then down our respective Canyon Wall to Reds or Agnew Meadows, depending on where our plans called for us to spend the evening.

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North:                                                                                                                     South:

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

 

 

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Backpacking Trail Guide

PCT-TYT North

Glen Aulin
to
Tuolumne Meadows

Compass and map directions are the best.

Backpacking Trail Guide

JMT South

Tn

Backpacker Forums

Have a great trip or story to relate about Yosemite or in the Sierra Nevada?
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
Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley
Trailhead
Contact
Alex Wierbinski

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Frosted Backpack

Backpacking Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

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

Snug tent after Snow Storm
© Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Crown Jewel of the Pacific Crest Trail