Want to learn more about backpaking? Visit ingasadventures.com/backpacking-class.


If you’re planning to hike the John Muir Trail this year, here’s a checklist with facts to get you started.

Route: Happy Isles in Yosemite National Park to Mt. Whitney in Sequoia National Park or vice versa

Length: 210.4 miles (an additional 11 mile hike is required to get from the summit of Mt. Whitney to the nearest road at Whitney Portal)

Highest elevation: 15,505 feet

Lowest elevation: 4,040 feet

Total elevation change: 84,000 feet (estimated)

Permit: Obtained through Yosemite National Park for a north-south trek or Inyo National Forest for a south-north hike starting 5-6 months ahead of time

Best time to go: July-September, depending on lingering snow in the high country

Resupply: Mail drops can be mailed to Tuolumne Meadows and backcountry camps at Red’s Meadow, Vermillion Valley Ranch and Muir Trail Ranch

Essential gear: backpack, tent, warm sleeping bag, sleeping pad, bear-proof canister for food storage, first aid kit, rain gear, stove, camp food, water, water purification method

Altitude preparedness: Acute Mountain Sickness is a real threat and hikers must educate themselves to understand how best to acclimate, recognize symptoms and know when to descend to avoid potentially fatal consequences

Resources: pcta.org/discover-the-trail/john-muir-trail

The John Muir Trail Groups on Facebook and Yahoo are a wealth of information for everything from alternate starting points to packing tips.

Want to learn more about backpaking? Visit ingasadventures.com/backpacking-class.