John Muir Trail


Theodore Seixas Solomons

1870 ~ 1947

An explorer and early member of the Sierra Club.  He was instrumental in envisioning and establishing the route of what became the John Muir Trail from Yosemite Valley along the crest of the Sierra Nevada to Mount Whitney.


The Sierra Club, an environmental organization in the United States, founded on May 28th, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the Scottish-American preservationist, John Muir, who became its first president.


John Muir

1838  ~ 1914

Known as “John of the Mountains” ~  a naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and an advocate of preservation of wilderness in particular the Yosemite National Park.


The John Muir Trail

Theodore Solomons traveled extensively within the High Sierras exploring possible trail routes in 1892.  Later, Joseph Lisbet LeConte, a noted explorer of the Sierra Nevada and a cartographer and photographer, took up the cause in 1898.  The proposed trail was called the “High Sierra Trail”.

In 1914, the Sierra Club appointed a committee to cooperate with the State of California to begin construction of the trail.  John Muir died later that year of pneumonia and the proposed trail was renamed in his honor.

Construction of the JMT began in 1915 and was completed in 1938.  This long distance trail passes through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, the Inyo and Sierra National Forest (including the John Muir Wilderness and Ansel Adams Wilderness) and passes through Devils Postpile National Monument.   Its northern terminus is Happy Isles in Yosemite Vally and the southern terminus is located on the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states with an elevation of 14,505 feet.   The JMT is 210.4 miles in length.  A southbound end to end hike of the JMT is 221 miles exiting at the Whitney Portal Trailhead.  For 160 miles the trail follows the same footpath as the longer Pacific Crest Trail.  The trail lies almost entirely at or above 8,000 feet in elevation and about 35% lies above 10,000 feet.

The trail has been described as “America’s most famous trail”.