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#10064 - 01/16/11 07:57 AM Advice for a JMT Newbie
Kurt Repanshek Offline

Registered: 01/16/11
Posts: 3
Loc: Utah
Is there an "easy" way to put together a backpack trek that covers half of the JMT? A buddy and I have been looking at the route, and jumping off and on points, and it seems that once you drop south of Tuolumne Meadows it becomes difficult to get off the trail without a long side hike out.

While we'd like to hike the entire route this fall, I'm not sure I can justify three weeks right now, so was wondering how to put together something close to 100 miles of it.

Any thoughts?

Also, any insights on shuttle companies there? Do they simply drop your rig at your designated trailhead, where it sets unguarded for two or three weeks, or do they store it someplace before dropping it the day before your anticipated arrival?

#10067 - 01/16/11 10:58 AM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Kurt Repanshek]
Ken Offline

Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
A simple segment goes from Yosemite to the Mammoth area, as far south as Red's Meadows.

There is a bus transport from yos to Mammoth Mountain Inn during the summer, and you can do that segment with the bus making it a loop. I've done it, and recommend it.

South of there, it becomes more problematic.

I did a loop from Vermillion to Reds, then looped back along another trail. Nice trip, recommended.

People do various loops from Vermillion to Florence Lake, also recommended.

South of Florence, it starts to be a tougher logistic problem, as you start on the west, end up on the east.....which is the problem for the trail as a whole.

Eastside public transport is problematic.

Westside public transport is problematic, except for the Yos shuttle, and AMTRAK into Yos valley (which I've taken, and is great)

#10068 - 01/16/11 12:07 PM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Ken]
Harvey Lankford Offline

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1019
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Southern part: Bishop/South Lake and southbound on JMT via Mather, Pinchot, Glen, Forester Passes to Whitney is about 100 miles., less, I think, so northern half would be longer.

If you plan to do this without a car (I have) then allow some spare (3) days for logistics on either end of your trip. You can get to Yosemite via YARTS one day, next day to Mammoth, then CRST/ESTA bus but schedule is intermittent for east side all up and down the Owens Valley. From the Owens to/from trailheads, you need a thumb or a paid ride from the list below.
This is from my personal list and I have used many of these. Some info is out of date, or operators no longer in business. Check them out. Start now. You can do this from San Fran, Sacramento, Reno, Las Vegas. I have done it from them all ( "planes, trains, and automobiles") but it takes some figuring. The hardest is at the southern end, where we took the CRST bus to China Lake and rented a car one way to Vegas, otherwise you can do it from/to any of those without a car and enough time.

Shuttle/taxi: -
Big Pine Country Corners 760-872-3951 or 1-877-656-0756
Bishop Dial-a-Ride 760-872-1901
Bishop. Wilsons Eastside Sports. 760-873-7520 staff can advise
CRST/ESTA bus 800-922-1930
(760) 499-5040 info.

High Sierra Transport 760-258-6060? Bishop
Mammoth Shuttle System 760-934-3030
Mammoth Sierra Express 760-937-TAXI (8294) Scottie - used him 2009
Mammoth Cabs 760-924-2227
Ridgecrest Yellow Cab 760-384-2424
Ridgecrest Dollar rental car 760-446-4554

Taxi /Shuttle Eastern Sierra
Bob Ennis 760-876-1915 Whitney Shuttle
Richard/Bob 760-876-4443
Robert Atlee 760-873-5838
Dave Sheldon 760-876-8232 Lone Pine- used him 2010
John Pennington760-876-4545 Lone Pine
Terry 760 -876-0085
Scottie 760- 937-8294 Sierra Express/Mammoth taxi **used him 2009

drop your rig? you mean leave your car parked at a trailhead for a long time? Yes. plenty of other people and cars around on the main trailheads. On times I had a car parked, no 2-legged problems for weeks, but beware the rules for 4-legged problems. Trip #20 coming up this summer.

Orientation notes for Whitney first timers

#10076 - 01/16/11 08:51 PM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Kurt Repanshek]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7644
Loc: Fresno, CA
Welcome to WhitneyZone, Kurt!

The above info is excellent. I just want to add a little.

If you come in the fall, check the public transportation sites -- YARTS out of Yosemite cuts back their schedule after the summer season ends, ...about Labor Day.

The best public transportation is at Agnew Meadows and Reds Meadow (Devils Postpile area, south of Yosemite). The shuttle buses run many times a day from there out to Mammoth Lakes. Of course, then the transportation in/out of Mammoth is only once a day. If you drive a car, it is probably easiest to drop it at Mammoth, since you can get a Crest bus back to that point from any town on the Hwy 395.

Getting transportation to anyplace on the west side except Yosemite is really tough -- there is NO public transportation. And I do not know of any shuttle outfits to take you to a trail head. However, there is plenty of visitor traffic to Roads End in Kings Canyon, so hitching a ride in or out there would most likely work.

That trailhead gives you access to Bubbs Creek (west of Kearsarge Pass/Onion Valley/Independence), and also Woods Creek/Paradise Valley.

On the east side, these areas would likely be ok for hitching a ride: Whitney Portal, Onion Valley, North/South Lake.

Shuttle services never drive your car anyplace. They only provide transportation for you and your gear. As for leaving your car for weeks -- lots of people do, and we seldom hear of any vandalism.

Permits: Getting permits is a pain. If you start in Yosemite, I think you can get them easiest if you call in 6 months in advance. They go quickly. A few are held back for walk-ins and there are a few available due to no-shows.

Getting permits for any trailhead on the east side is similar to Yosemite. Except if your hike starts on the east side and ends at Whitney, you need TWO permits: One to start, and a Whitney Trailcrest Exit permit. If you start at Whitney, there is a lottery, but there are usually plenty available due to no-shows. Permits to start at Florence Lake or Edison Lake are easier to get, probably due to their remoteness, fewer people start hikes there.

#10087 - 01/17/11 01:35 PM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Fishmonger Offline

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1031
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Some info is out of date, or operators no longer in business.

To my knowledge, of the east side shuttle services listed, only two are really in business, are insured and licensed and have a track record

Bob Ennis in Lone Pine and High Sierra Shuttle in Bishop

as for where to go for a partial JMT - I'd always do the southern half - much more spectacular.

Join the yahoo group for the Muir Trail and you'll get more info than you may be ready for - there are a few hundred JMT hikers with cabin fever waiting for anyone to ask questions. Today they are off on a long ultralight gear tirade thread again smile
My Stuff on Flickr

#10094 - 01/17/11 09:19 PM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7644
Loc: Fresno, CA
> as for where to go for a partial JMT - I'd always do the southern half - much more spectacular.

The southern half may be spectacular, but it does not include Thousand Island Lake.

Here's a (composite) picture from my hike in June, 2007. Click on the picture to see the full size. All the pics are here.

#10099 - 01/18/11 09:30 AM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Steve C]
Kurt Repanshek Offline

Registered: 01/16/11
Posts: 3
Loc: Utah
Thanks to all of the above. Much info to digest and consider. Sounds like the biggest impediments are the permits and the shuttles;-)

Also sounds like I should simply carve out three weeks and vanish into the mountains!

#10100 - 01/18/11 04:13 PM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Kurt Repanshek]
Mike Condron Offline

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA

#10137 - 01/19/11 08:06 PM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Kurt Repanshek]
JohnCurranLadd Offline

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 5
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
You could post this question at and you will get many responses. Also see the collection of links and files. My short answer would be: If you are coming in from the West, you could drive the narrow Kaiser Pass Road to Lake Florence (Muir Trail Ranch) or take the bus service Fresno to Lake Edison (offered by Vermillion Valley Resort). You will be at the near-midpoint of the trail (esp at Florence) and can go either North or South. (Edison is about 10 miles north of Florence) You can google all of these or find links at the Yahoo group noted above.
John Ladd
often found at (former moderator there)

#10147 - 01/19/11 11:45 PM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: JohnCurranLadd]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7644
Loc: Fresno, CA
John, I didn't realize there was actually a shuttle service from Fresno up to Edison Lake! Glad you posted that here.

Here's the link to the Vermillion Valley Resort / transportation page. (Warning, it is not cheap: $175 for first two riders, then $25 each after that.)
    Transportation To/From Fresno, California

#10155 - 01/20/11 08:03 AM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Steve C]
Kurt Repanshek Offline

Registered: 01/16/11
Posts: 3
Loc: Utah
I'm in Utah, so the plan would be to drive to the park. The easy way out would be to jump on the trail at Tuolumne, but my buddy has never seen the Yosemite Valley, so we'd like to start there. When you start looking at the logistics of shuttles, getting a room in the valley the night before, permits, etc, it can be tricky.

#10159 - 01/20/11 09:37 AM Re: Advice for a JMT Newbie [Re: Kurt Repanshek]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7644
Loc: Fresno, CA
If you come in the summer, be aware that there are lots of people in the Valley. But you still get to see the great granite walls and waterfalls.

If you don't get permits in advance, just plan on standing in line to get the walk-ins and no-shows. Not sure of the procedures, but I am sure you can get that by calling the park service and asking. I think some are available the day before you hike, so you could get the permits, then hang around and see the sights in the valley, ...soak up the tourist experience. wink

If you have a wilderness permit, you can spend the night in the backpackers campground.

I'd still leave my car at Mammoth and take the shuttle into Yosemite Valley. Less parking hassle, and easier to reach when you complete your hike.

We'd love to read about your progress and planning as you work on this trip.