View Full Version : when is the JMT busy

08-29-2009, 19:27
I am thinking of hiking this trail but would have to do it sometime over the school break, but preferably late summer. late july early august. does any one have any reccomendations or thoughts on this?

08-29-2009, 21:33
That's probably when it's the busiest. Call Yosemite NP Backcountry office and ask about peak times so perhaps you can hike it when it's less busy.

08-30-2009, 12:15
The place is a zoo through Labor Day, then the crowds start to drop off.

08-30-2009, 16:08
The JMT is never so busy that it won't return your calls.

Regardless of the time of year, I suspect that once you get about 5 miles into your hike (I'm assuming you'd be going Southbound), you'll see fewer and fewer people.

There will be a bunch of people again at Tuolumne, and then after that, a crowd at Red's Meadow. But unless you want to see absolutely no one, it won't be too crowded regardless of the time of year.

Crowds like road access.

08-30-2009, 21:10
where do you fly to get there? any tips on minimizing costs? shuttles to the trail?

08-30-2009, 22:17
You can fly into LA or San Fran, and take Amtrak to Yosemite. (actually involves a train to Merced and a YARTS bus to Yosemite, but it's cheaper if you buy it as one ticket from Amtrak).

From Lone Pine you can get a YARTS bus back to Yosemite/Merced and Amtrak out if you're flying from San Fran, an ESTA bus to Lancaster and the Metrolink if going to LA. You can also get to and from Yosemite and Lone Pine via Reno.

08-31-2009, 12:25
not too bad late June through the first week of July, especially if there's a ton of snow. If you don't mind some alpine flavor in your hike, that's the best time (ok, bugs are bad, too usually). Still, I like long days to cover a lot fo distance each day and if you go later in July and August, it gets rather busy on the trail. After Sept 1 it gets better again as everyone heads back to school and work.

Also "a zoo" on the JMT means you meet about 20-30 people a day. On some July days, I have managed to meet exactly 0 people per day. It's a hit and miss thing, sometimes affected by the weather a week earlier, stopping people from entering at the other end of the trail, giving you a window of privacy on that day.

08-31-2009, 14:07
The bus from Lone Pine to Lancaster mentioned by Jester runs only Mon. Wed. Fri. The MetroLink to LA leaves like at 1:50 AND 5:50 in the PM, so it is not too regular. From Union Station in LA there is a bus that runs directly to the airport LAX for $7.
One can also fly to Fresno, take Amtrak to Merced and YARTS to Yosemite.

From Lone Pine, the bus to Lancaster also stops at Mojave where you can transfer for a bus to Bakersfield and Amtrak back to Fresno. Mammoth Springs has an airport, too.


Mid August is a good time to hike as mosquitos are mostly done. Sure you will see people since it is the most beautiful scenery of any trail, but it is easy to find places to tent alone.

09-01-2009, 18:43
Thank all of you for this great info. I hope i can make this a reality in the summer.

09-01-2009, 20:34
I sure would like to see you hit the JMT. It's popular for some very good reasons. It provides some spectacular mountain scenery coupled with some of the most cooperative weather for its elevation(during the typical hiking months between June to Oct.) and it's realtively close to major population centers(at least for that part of the country). Even if you do hike when it's busy it's not too hard to wander 1/4-1/2 mile off trail or hike a side trail to a remote lake/tarn to get solitude. Sierras are a great place to hike.

09-02-2009, 00:34
Go south to north. You'll meet the crowd rather than walk with it.

This summer, I started on Aug 1 from Horseshoe Meadow (Cottonwood Pass) so I didn't have to hump a full pack up the steep east face of Mt Whitney. Two days later I was camped at Guitar Lake, left my pack and gear there, and went up Whitney with 2 liters of water, a first aid kit, and a VERY necessary hooded windshirt. Returned to Guitar Lake, grabbed my gear, and headed north.

09-02-2009, 08:05
I agree with Wandering Bob. Hike NOBO. I hiked NOBO last year and will be hiking NOBO next August as well.

09-02-2009, 10:30
I agree with Wandering Bob. Hike NOBO. I hiked NOBO last year and will be hiking NOBO next August as well.

I don't know. Isn't there something climactic about ending on Whitney? Seems like a better way to end a hike, plus you're more acclimated to the altitude by then and can enjoy Whitney more (particularly if you night hike it from Guitar Lake and watch the sunrise from the top).

09-02-2009, 13:02
If I was to thru the JMT south to north, which I"ve never done, I would do it with Wandering Bob's itinerary basecamping at Guitar Lake to summit Mt Whitney. Finishing up at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley has its merits also. Buffets, food, PO, showers, Backpackers Campground, more great scenery, transportation to major cities from the valley, great exhibits, etc. However, my preferred direction, and the way which I've gone twice, is to finish atop Mt. Whitney at sunset, enjoy the sunrise from or near the summit, and enjoy the view and hike down Whitney Portal, which is great in itself. Finishing up at Mt Whitney also allows for acclimization, which can be a factor.

09-03-2009, 16:06
Heading back for a late season northbound solo speedhike in a week or two. I will count how many people I see. I'll stick to the JMT for the most part. Not sure if I'll even do the part north of Reds, but if the weather plays ball, I may just try to hit the last CREST bus of the season that heads from the valley to Mammoth.

Starting 9/14 around noon at the Portal and finish the latest 9/27 in Yos Valley, probably sooner (but before 9/26 I will have to hitch hike back to Owens Valley)