View Full Version : What's the latest or earliest you can start the JMT?

Big Suave
10-08-2010, 10:40
Just curious if it's to late to start if you haven't already and what is maybe the earliest you could next year. I'm sure it depends on snow at the time. Thanks

10-08-2010, 11:26
I think the forecast a couple days ago was for snow down to 7500 feet. That was a few days ago so it has fallen. I think it might be a little late for the full JMT but you could still do a short section. People don't normally hike much later than about mid-October.

Earliest? How much do you like walking in snow? You could go in April or May with snowshoes.

10-08-2010, 11:39
I would say the earliest is mid-June, same as the PCT NOBO'ers heading out of Ken. meadows.
The latest: Oct 1 IMO.
Of course you can go in the winter but resupply places will be closed and 220 miles of snow is a lot of food to carry.
I remember leaving KM in March one year and the next open road was 500 miles north of there. We bailed out at the Cottonwood pass road.
I like snow but, you've got to eat too.

10-08-2010, 14:42
follow the snow cover forecast - in a drought year you can start in early June and won't have to worry about extensive snow. In a heavy snow year, even late July may have more snow on the ground than early June in low snow years. Very variable.

bookmark this link and watch it all winter - by mid May, you can usually tell what kind of snow year you have coming


Fall hiking - well, how much do you like to hike with a headlight? You can head up there today and probably will make it through the trail fine, with perhaps one snow storm that a day or two later will melt off quickly. There was first snow a few days ago, but a day in the 70s at 8000 feet in store today and in the coming days same thing.

Your risk of getting cold wet weather that lasts for more than a day increases the later you go. Stream crossings are still easy in October. November just gets too cold on average, but that's relative. Where I live, it gets even colder in November and I'd rather be in the Sierras than at work...

If you don't mind to ski or snowshoe for a few weeks, you can do the JMT even in winter - something I am getting more and more interested in, since after 15 or so summer and fall JMTs I am really looking for a different look, plus I wouldn't mind to be totally alone for a few weeks:


Big Suave
10-08-2010, 15:09
Thanks guys. I just got laid off so I was thinking about a last minute thru, but I'll probably wait.

10-08-2010, 18:53
October is always an iffy thing in higher elevations of the Sierra Neveda since you can have some very significant snowfall at times. People have hiked through in May and I read once about a guy who ski'd it in march.

You might look at the Arizona Trail SOBO or the Florida Trail if you want to hike somethiing now.

10-08-2010, 21:06
Or the AT SOBO.
I'm up here in Maine today and it's been a beautiful day.
Nicer than the day I started SOBO from Katahdin in 2001 (Oct 14th)

You might get snowed out later but you won't be stranded like the JMT, many miles from the nearest road.