How To Guide: John Muir Trail Resupply

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John Muir Trail Resupply How To Guide

John Muir Trail Resupply Strategy

John Muir Trail resupply and meal planning is one of the most difficult parts about getting ready for your thru-hike. On my JMT hike, my friend Brad and I took 22 days to hike the trail, and we resupplied three times, including stops at Reds Meadow, Muir Trail Ranch, and Onion Valley. While the trail is 220 miles, we ended up hiking about 240 including side trips and our hike out to Onion Valley for our final resupply.

In this post, I’m going to share my John Muir Trail resupply strategy and provide detailed instructions for those of you who want to replicate my plan. If you are looking for more information about the John Muir Trail, including permits, food ideas, or John Muir Trail gear, see my John Muir Trail archives.

Step 1: Determine the total number of days you will spend on the John Muir Trail.

The total John Muir Trail trail is 220 miles if you don’t take any side trips. Here’s a breakdown of the average number of miles you need to cover each day depending on the total number of days you will be on the trail.

John Muir Trail mileage pace chart

Some days you will undoubtedly go further than the average, while other days you will go less depending on the elevation gain. But you need to have a ballpark figure so you can determine how many days its going to take in between each John Muir Trail resupply point.

Step 2: Do your food shopping

For each day on the JMT, you want one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner, plus a few snacks. We typically had a snack in between each meal and sometimes a little post dinner treat. I would suggest buying more than you think you will need. You will be burning a ton of calories and will be hungrier than you think. Don’t go for anything low cal or low fat. You want the most number of calories and nutrients in the smallest and lightest package in order to maximize the value of each food item. For some good meal options, check out my post: Simple Backpacking Food Ideas (I’m also working on a follow up post with more yummy food that will be posted in the next few weeks).

You also may have heard that there are donation buckets at some of the John Muir Trail resupply points where you can take people’s donated food. This is true of both Reds Meadow and Muir Trail Ranch. But I’ll tell you, you are not going to score big here. Most of the good stuff is picked over, and unless you want unidentifiable oatmeal, stale bars, and more oatmeal, you shouldn’t rely on these.

Step 3: Pack and mail your JMT resupply packages

Once you buy all of your food, make a pile for every single day on the trail. In each day’s pile, make sure you have all of your meals and enough snacks to sustain you as you make your miles. Then once you have divvied up your food for each day, you should further split up the piles into sections of trail separated by your John Muir Trail resupply points.

John Muir Trail Resupply How To Guide

The other thing you need to do before packing up your John Muir Trail resupply packages is to make sure that each food drop will fit into your bear-proof canister.  If not, you will end up eating it on the spot or donating it, which means you might be short on food later on the trail.

My friend Brad and I each carried our own Wild Ideas Weekend Bearikade bear canisters, which are available for rent. According to the company, these canisters can hold enough food for 1 person for 6 days. We were both able to squeeze 7 days in, but only after I repackaged everything into Ziploc bags. It’s amazing how much room all of the air takes up in the store bought packaging.

For backpacker meals, repackage them in quart sized Ziploc FREEZER bags. It is safe (meaning the bag won’t melt) to pour boiling water straight into them, meaning you can rehydrate your meals right in the Ziploc.

You also aren’t supposed to ship fuel in the mail, and most of the resupply points have fuel available. The Jetboil Flash cooking stove is what I would recommend. It’s extremely efficient with fuel and over the course of 22 days, I used less than three 8-oz fuel canisters for the two of us.

Finally, you’ll want to include any extra supplies in your packages that you think you’ll need to replenish like blister bandaids, toliet paper, sunscreen, and toothpaste.

Plastic 5-gallon buckets work well for mailing your resupplies. In fact, Muir Trail Ranch requires that you use a plastic bucket so critters can’t get into it. So it’s easiest if you just use buckets for all of your packages.

For each food drop, we were able to fit all of the supplies for both of us into a single 5-gallon bucket. To mail a plastic bucket, just tape the lid and handle down and then use clear tape to attach the address label to the top of the lid. The cost of shipping from Las Vegas via Priority mail was about $20 per bucket. Muir Trail Ranch recommends mailing your packages three weeks before your arrival, so don’t wait until the very last minute to take care of this or your package might not arrive in time.

John Muir Trail Resupply How To Guide

Below you will find charts that can help you visualize how many meals you will need for each section of trail. I’ve split up the charts by section based on where I resupplied using my 10 mile per day average pace.  I also discuss additional John Muir Trail resupply points that I didn’t utilize and show them on the charts so you have a full picture of your options.

Departing Yosemite

  • Total miles from Yosemite Valley to first resupply point = 60 miles
  • 60 miles / 10 miles per day = 6 DAYS OF FOOD

For all of the charts in this post, I’m assuming an average pace of 10 miles per day unless otherwise indicated. At that rate when you leave Yosemite, you should be carrying 6 days of food to last you until Reds Meadow at mile 60, unless you resupply at Tuolumne Meadows also. For us, a resupply in Tuolumne Meadows didn’t seem necessary because we started at the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead and avoided the steep climb that people face coming up from Yosemite Valley. For those starting in Yosemite Valley, a resupply at Tuolumne Meadows might be worth considering. The Pacific Crest Trail Association website has the contact info and mailing address for the post office in Tuolumne.

John Muir Trail Resupply How To Guide

One tip is if you drive through Tuolumne Meadows in your car on your way to your starting trailhead, you can stash a small package of food in the bear lockers in the parking lot at the Tuolumne Rangers Station. There is no fee associated with this. Just make sure your package or bag is clearly marked with your name and your expected pickup date. Then you can carry a bit less to start out with and then pick up additional food around day 3 when you pass through Tuolumne Meadows on the trail. There is also a Generals store in Tuolumne Meadows that has a decent selection of snack food and a some backpacker type meals.

Recommended Resupply Point #1: Reds Meadow

Reds Meadow is located right near Mammoth and Devil’s Postpile National Monument. It’s a logical first John Muir Trail resupply point whether you begin your hike in Yosemite Valley or Tuolumne Meadows.

  • Total miles between Reds Meadows and the next resupply point at Muir Trail Ranch = 50 miles
  • 50 miles / 10 miles per day = 5 DAYS OF FOOD

The following meals for days 7-11 were included in the resupply box that I sent to Reds Meadow.

John Muir Trail Resupply How To Guide

Some people break up this section between Reds Meadow and Muir Trail Ranch with an additional stop at Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR). To me, this was another resupply point that seemed unnecessary, especially since getting there requires quite a few extra miles. The exception to this would be for early season hikers. Muir Trail Ranch isn’t opening for the 2015 season until June 20th. So if you are passing through here earlier, a stop at VVR will probably be necessary.

VVR is located on the far edge of Lake Thomas Edison approximately 4.5 miles from the JMT, adding a total of about 10 miles to your trip. They also offer water taxi and shuttle services to and from the trail for a fee. VVR does have tent camping and other lodging options, a restaurant, and a camp store that sells fuel. If you choose to resupply at VVR, visit their website for more details.

Reds Meadow Resupply Instructions

  1. Pack all food in a plastic bucket
  2. Ship it via US Postal Service (USPS) to: the following address:
    • Your Name
      Red’s Meadow
      Resort P.O. Box 395
      Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
  3. Then print out this form, fill it out, and send it in a separate envelope with a $40 check or your credit card information to:
    • Red’s Meadow Resort
      P.O. Box 395
      Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

Other things to know about Reds Meadow

  • Depending on where you are coming from, it may be convenient for you to drop off your package in person. Reds Meadow is located just outside Mammoth. In order to get to Reds Meadow during summer, you must take a $7 shuttle from Mammoth ski area to the lodge (no private vehicles are allowed). It’s about 45 minute ride. If you drop your package off in person, they waive the $40 fee and all you pay is a $1/day holding fee. Plus you save the money on postage. I’m not sure the savings are worth the hassle, but I ended up staying the night in Mammoth on my drive up to the trailhead anyways, so it wasn’t really far out of my way.
  • Packages may be picked up between the hours of 7am and 7pm daily.
  • Red’s Meadow has hiker cabins available for $50 per night (single) or $80 (double). The price includes showers. Space is limited and reservations are recommended.
  • There is a general store on site that sells a small variety food items, cold beer, and limited camping supplies. There is also a restaurant called the Mule House Cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you desire a home cooked meal.
  • Stove fuel is available for sale. If you have concerns about them having your specific type of fuel, you can give them a call.
  • The main campground for Red’s Meadow is located just down the hill from the resort on a small side trail. There is a $22 fee to camp at the campground and cash is required. There is plenty of room and reservations aren’t necessary. The campground has bear lockers, toliets, and camp fires rings. It’s a bit of a shock to have to pay for camping here after camping for free on the trail. However, we stayed at the campground, and it ended up being a fun experience. We met a bunch of other JMT hikers who I am still friends with today, and it also allows you to use the bear lockers for the night if your bear bins are too full from your resupply.

Reds Meadow Contact Info

Recommended Resupply Point #2: Muir Trail Ranch

Whether you stop at VVR or not, everyone stops at Muir Trail Ranch (as long as it’s open). It’s located directly on the trail, and it’s the last convenient resupply point on the John Muir Trail. In fact, some people hoof it all the way to Whitney without another resupply after stopping at Muir Trail Ranch. For these people, stopping here is necessary.

  • Total miles between Muir Trail Ranch and the next resupply at Onion Valley = 70 miles
  • 70 miles / 10 miles per day = 7 DAYS OF FOOD + some extra for the hike out to the Onion Valley parking lot

The following meals for days 12-18 were included in the resupply box that I sent to Muir Trail Ranch.

John Muir Trail Resupply How To Guide

Muir Trail Ranch Resupply Instructions

  1. Pack all food in a plastic bucket
  2. Go to this page for instructions to pay the service fee by credit card. Muir Trail Ranch charges $80 for each bucket weighing up to 25 pounds. If you go over 25 pounds, it’s an extra $2 per pound.
  3. Print the provided shipping label and the identification form you automatically receive when you pay online and tape them to the outside of the bucket.
  4. Send your bucket using US Postal Service (USPS) Priority mail with delivery confirmation. Due to the remote nature of Muir Trail Ranch, you must mail your package 3 weeks prior to your expected arrival date.

Other things to know about Muir Trail Ranch

  • Packages may be picked up between 8am and 5pm daily.
  • There is a free JMT thru-hikers campground. It does get busy, and there is not a lot of privacy. However, it’s right on the river and just across the river, there are a series of hot springs that are nice to soak in.
  • Services are limited at Muir Trail Ranch. Only guests staying in their private cabins have access to the restaurant, bathrooms, and showers. If you are interested in staying in a cabin, reservations are recommended.
  • There is a very small store, but only a small selection of camping supplies and snacks (no beverages) are available.

Muir Trail Ranch Contact Info

  • Email: howdy@muirtrailranch.com
  • Visit this page for complete Muir Trail Ranch resupply information.

Recommended Resupply Point #3: Onion Valley

Many JMT hikers do not stop at Onion Valley and continue straight through to Mt. Whitney. Those people pack light, hike fast, and have large enough bear canisters to hold up to 9-10 days of food.

Most do this because there are trade-offs to stopping at Onion Valley. Resupplying there costs extra money, and it also adds 15 miles round trip to your hike. The Onion Valley parking lot is located 7 miles off the John Muir Trail, a factor to consider when planning your meals since you will want a little bit extra food for those extra miles.  That said, I was happy with our decision to stop there. I didn’t want to carry more than 7 days of food, and the trail to Onion Valley ended up being quite nice. Bullfrog Lake, Kearsarge Lakes, and Kearsarge Pass are all beautiful spots that you pass along the way, and I wouldn’t hesitate to come back to this region on a weekend backpacking trip at some point in the future.

  • Total miles between Onion Valley and the Whitney Portal = 40
  • 40 miles / 10 miles per day = 4 DAYS OF FOOD + one extra day for the hike back to the JMT from Onion Valley

The following meals for days 19-22 plus one additional day were included in the resupply box that I sent to Muir Trail Ranch.

John Muir Trail Resupply How To Guide

There are a couple ways to do your John Muir Trail resupply at Onion Valley.  If you have some nice friends who are willing to meet you at the Onion Valley trailhead or drop off a package for you a day or two before your expected arrival date, that is ideal. But that wasn’t an option for me or for most hikers.

That’s where the friendly folks at the Mt. Williamson Motel in Independence come in, offering several options for resupply. First, for $75, the Mt. Williamson Motel will hold packages for non-hotel guests will hold your packages in town. This requires you to get to and from town to pick it up.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a hot meal, shower, and laundry, the Mt. Williamson Motel also offers a complete resupply package where they will provide lodging and roundtrip transportation to and from the Mt. Williamson Motel. The cost for this is $175 (single occupancy) or $225 (double occupancy) and includes transportation, accommodations, breakfast, laundry, and storage of your resupply package.

Either way, you should call the motel and speak to a woman named Strider about your circumstances, and she can help you figure out what is best.

(** NOTE: In previous years, the Mt. Williamson Motel would drop off JMT resupply packages at the Onion Valley Trailhead for JMT hikers, which is the service we utilized. However, as of 2016 the Forest Service no longer allows food caches to be stored at the trailhead.**)

A third option it to utilize Berner’s Pack Service that runs out of Onion Valley. They used to hold packages at Onion Valley (not sure if this is still an option) or they can use pack animals to meet you somewhere along the trail. To arrange this service, contact bernerspack@yahoo.com.

Mt. Williamson Motel Onion Valley Resupply Instructions (for parking lot drop-off)

  1. Contact the Motel to arrange your desired service
  2. In order to confirm your service once you’ve determined your plan with the Motel, send a $100 check made out to the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation in a separate envelope to the following address.
  3. Pack all food in a plastic bucket and send to the same address. Ensure it arrives at least one week prior to your arrival date.
  • Mt. Williamson Motel and Base Camp
    PO Box 128
    Independence, CA 93526

Other things to know about Mt. Williamson Onion Valley resupply

  • There are plenty of places to camp along the trail going from the JMT to Onion Valley. We decided to stop and set up camp at Flower Lake on the east side of Kearsarge Pass. Then we took our empty bags and hiked down to the parking lot to pick up our food.
  • Whether you just want a simple package pick up or full-blown lodging, the Mt. Williamson Motel gets busy in the summer. So make reservations far in advance,
  • Most people have cell phone service on the top of Kearsarge Pass and in Onion Valley. So if you encounter any problems with your bucket, you can give the Motel a call.

Mt. Williamson Motel Contact Info

So that was the strategy I used for my John Muir Trail resupply. It’s important to note that different paces may require a different plan and there is no right or wrong way to do it, as long as you have enough food. Elizabeth Wenk’s paperback guide to the John Muir Trail also has some helpful information about resupply as well as maps. Hopefully these details in this post give you a better understanding of the resupply process, and now you can customize this plan for your own hike.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT JOHN MUIR TRAIL RESUPPLY, PLEASE LEAVE THEM IN THE COMMENTS, TWEET ME, OR WRITE ME A POST ON FACEBOOK

Bearfoot Theory

 

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About the author

Hi! I'm Kristen....blogger, hiker, sunset-watcher, and dance floor shredder. I feel most alive in the outdoors and created this website to help you enjoy the best that the West has to offer.

67 Comments on “How To Guide: John Muir Trail Resupply

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  1. that’s important, i guess most women are good in it 😉

    Kristen,
    Your freakin awesome. Yet another great article that helps so much. You make the educational part of this hike pretty painless… I’ll hold that thought as I’m walking up those passes. Thanks again.

    Patrick

    PS. Do you like your new Neo-air better than your Pro-lite?

    You seem so organized – I like it 🙂
    I think it’s fascinating when people do these trails.
    I really want to do it as well some day.
    Oh, I also find it pretty cool that you collect your food along the way, I had no idea it worked like that. Guess you learn something new every day! 🙂

      Zascha – Thanks for the comment! I didn’t really know too much about long distance hiking before my JMT trip. Organization when planning a trip like that is really important though…don’t want to run outta food halfway through. If you decide to do the JMT, let me know! I’d be happy to help answer any other questions you might have. Thanks! Kristen

    This is seriously gold….

    Ok, so maybe I might’ve looked past it, but have you gone over navigation on the trail yet by any chance? I guess I’m just curious if there are ever times in the trail where one could easily get off-trail…
    I do plan on preparing by studying maps and having maps with a compass, but wanted to see what your experiences were like when navigating on the JMT. If you’ve already posted about this, you can just link the article.

    Also…when I did the Half Dome last weekend, we were trying to figure out the best method to clean our pots & utencils…especially after making some ramen. We figured out instead of wasting napkins/clothes to wipe down(which just builds up waste), we found that boiling some water in it does a much better job, but you do waste fuel… Any suggestions?

      Daniel – Glad you found the post helpful.

      I haven’t done a post on navigation yet. The trail is very well marked for the most part. I carried the Tom Harrison maps and the Wenk book. Both are listed in my JMT Gear Guide. I also had a compass on my watch but never needed it. Also didn’t find that a GPS would be necessary.
      https://bearfoottheory.com/john-muir-trail-gear-list/

      We also found that boiling water was the easiest way to do dishes. Generally we split one backpacking meal per night plus something else like cous cous or ramen. So we would first make the thing that was going to get the pot dirty. Once we ate that, we would boil the water for our backpacking meal. And as the water was boiling, I would slide my spork up and down the sides of the pot to dislodge any stuck food particles. Also brought a bandana to wipe things clean. Not sure what kind of stove you have, but the jetboil is extremely efficient with fuel and with the jetbil boiling a 1/2 cup of water to clean your dishes shouldn’t eat up too much fuel.

    The information is great. But when you end at Whitney, how do you get off the trail. I live in Northern MN and I’m looking at a hike next summer. I can figure out how to get to Yosemite but their not much about the end of the JMT. I would guess I would be flying in San Fran and out of there as well. Where can I find information on how to get back to the airport after the hike?

    Thanks

    Peter

      Peter – That’s a great question. I’ve actually been thinking about putting a post together about transportation. We had a car parked at the Whitney portal and a car parked in Yosemite. Although thats probably not an option for most people who are traveling from out of state. I’ll try and gather the info and post it on my blog shortly. Thanks for stopping by and if you have any other questions, let me know. Thanks! Kristen

      Peter,
      it is easier to get to LAX than SFO at the end of your hike at Whitney. From the Portal, hitch into Lone Pine. Check the Eastern Sierra Transit website for the schedule of the bus that takes you south to Lancaster. From there, you can get the Fly Away shuttle direct to LAX.
      For getting to your starting TH in Yosemite, same routine. Get to Lancaster, take EST all the way to Mammoth Lakes for a bit of high altitude training hikes to get acclimated (highly recommended!) Then, catch the Yosemite Area Rapid Transit System (YARTS) bus to either T. Mdws. or to Yosemite Valley. If you arrive by bus into Yosemite, you are allowed 2 nights in the backpackers campground at either T. Mdws. or the one near Happy Isles. $5/pp/pn. Suggest getting the WENK guide NOW to start planning. Good Luck!

    I’m looking to do the JMT next year. I live in Australia so there’ll be no chance for me to prep and post food to the resupply points as you did as i read it can take a few weeks for the boxes to arrive at the resupply points.

    Asside from what i can pack in with me, do you think there is enough variety of dehydrated meals at the stores along the way?

    Worst case, would I would possibly have sufficient lead time to pack a box in Fresno and post to Onion Valley?

    Thanks 🙂

      My suggestion would be to drop-off resupply boxes in person both at Reds Meadow and Onion Valley. Those are both places you can drive to pretty easily.

      I hear you can buy some stuff at VVR, but I didn’t go there, so I can’t say for sure what they have on hand. Then there is really nothing for sale at Muir Trail Ranch. So your biggest challenge will be getting from Reds Meadow to Onion Valley, which is a long stretch…about 110 miles. If you hike fast, you could probably do this section in a week. Remember you also need to put everything in a bear bin, and most bins don’t really hold more than 7 days worth of food.

      Do you know anyone in the states that would be willing to send a package in advance to Muir Trail Ranch for you? If so, that would be the best way to go.

      Good luck and let me know what you decide to do!

    Hello,
    Are you required to put ALL of our resupply food in our bear canister.
    Can’t we just carry some for on the trail that day?

      Hey Carlin – So technically you are supposed to put all of your food in your canister. But like you suggest, we ended up taking our lunch and snacks out every morning to avoid having to take the whole canister out every time we got hungry. If you do have any food out in your pack, just make sure you don’t leave your bag unattended. Lots of marmots and little animals that can chew right through your pack.

    Thanks for such complete information. It seems that you did not take any zero days, is that right? Would you do it that way again? If we do take zero days, your calculations don’t include that correct? So, when planning food with one or two zero days, would we be able to get food at the resupply points and not use our backpacking food? Seems like a couple of places this is possible.

    Once again, thanks for laying this out so thoroughly..

      Hey Cindy – Yep that’s right. We didn’t take any zero days. Reds Meadows and VVR both have food available, but Muir Trail Ranch and Onion Valley do not. You can also take a bus from Reds Meadow into Mammoth. So if you are going to take a zero day, those first two resupply spots would be the best if you don’t want to carry extra food. Hope thats helpful and if you have any other questions, let me know. Thanks! Kristen

    You saved all of us future JMT hikers a ton of time searching this info out! Your website is quite thorough and very helpful. Thanks!!! Can’t wait to get my trail trance on this summer doing the JMT!

      Hey Randy! Thanks so much! The JMT was so awesome, and I’m glad to be of help. You gotta come back and let me know how your planning is going and also if any questions pop up. Thanks and happy trails! Kristen

    Thank you Kristen,

    This makes my planning stage far less confusing than it could’ve been. Well done.

    Hey Kristen,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog with so much helpful information and to answer questions as well. I’ve been wanting to do the JMT since I was about 12 year old and I’m hoping to finally hike it with a friend the summer after next. (Next summer is already overbooked).

    I had a few questions for you:
    Where did you keep the Jetboil after using it for cooking? Did you have any problems with bears?
    Are there places that don’t charge a small fortune for supply drops? Were you able to drop of your trash for the week there?
    Were there any places to recharge camera batteries along your route (using a regular AC plug)?
    How many times could you boil water at altitude with your 230g fuel container?
    I’m primarily a hammock backpacker; were there plenty of places to along the route to hang a hammock or would I need a sleeping pad?
    Jeremy

      Hey Jeremy –

      First off, the 2016 permit process is just about to start, so it definitely isn’t booked yet. To answer your questions.

      1) I mostly used the jetboil for boiling water, so I just kept it with the rest of my stuff. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to store it near your bear canister at night away from your tent. We didn’t have any problems with bears. the only place i heard about them being a nucance was near Little Yosemite valley at the very beginning.

      2) No there is no where you can charge stuff along the trail. Bring extra batteries and a solar panel if you think you will need to charge. Have you seen my gear list?

      3) One of the medium fuel canisters lasted us about 5 or soi days for two people using twice a day – coffee/oatmeal for breakfast and boiling water for dinner.

      4) You definitely will want a sleeping pad. There are lots of places where you are above the tree line and will have no where to hang a hammock. And even in your hammock, a sleeping pad will provide extra insulation for those very cold nights.

      Hope that’s helpful!

      Kristen

    Hey Kisten,
    Thanks for all the good info. Getting a permit was pretty difficult but after two weeks of rejection we finally got approved. Question, is there any cell service along the trail?

      Congrats! The only places I got cell service were at Reds meadow and at the top of Kearsarge Pass.

    I’m looking to go later in the season. Any idea on closing dates for Reds Meadow and MTR? I want to make sure I can pick up my supplies?

      I think they close in mid-September, but both are closed now for the season, so we’ll have to wait to see what they say when they open for 2016. Dates may be different than last year.

    This blog is awesome; Thanks for all the great advice!

    Random question – What do you do with your plastic 5-gallon bucket after you take all the contents out of it?

    I imagine these places rack up a large number of buckets, but I was just curious if there is a system in place for them to remove/reuse/dispose once you are done with them. Do you just leave them there and they will take care of it?

      Steve – Yes, Reds Meadow and MTR both take buckets and recycle, reuse them.

    Kristen,~ I\\\’m doing the JMT mid June. I will be starting at Sunrise Lake and spending the first night at Lower Cathedral Lake, is there a shuttle that will take me to the trailhead?

    Love your blog, I\\\’ve been using it to plan my trip! Thank you!

      Hey Tami – Yep! There is a shuttle that leaves from the Tuolumne Meadows Rangers Station that is free. Have fun and stoked it’s been helpful!

    How do you get to Sunrise Lake? This is where I will be starting from.

      There is a free shuttle from the Tuolumne Meadows Ranger station.

    Hi Kristen,

    I can not thank you enough for all the great information and resources you have provided. I do have one question regarding the permit process. Where was it or who suggested the 12:01am-7:30am time frame for priority consideration? I spoke with a couple of Rangers, and they would not confirm this. They suggested that it did not make a difference. I have been faxing my permit at all hours ranging from 12:01-3am-7am. So far, I’ve been denided 7 days in a row. I’m am eager to do whatever it takes in order to secure a permit. Any advice or additional information is much appreciated.

      The time you submit your fax doesn’t make a difference as long as it’s in before 7:30 am. My fingers are crossed for ya!

    Hi Kristen!
    Thanks for all of your detailed information about planning and hiking the JMT. Your eloquent posts and beautiful photos have definitely inspired my husband and me to do the trail this coming summer. We were denied permits from Yosemite for the 2+ week window we had to start our trek, so we have decided to hike from south to north instead. We have reserved a permit from Cottonwood Pass, a few days south of Mt. Whitney, and will be starting from there. We will definitely resupply at Onion Valley, but I have read that you are not allowed to leave caches unattended at all and that rangers will confiscate your food if they find them. I was curious how you arranged with the Mt. Williamson Hotel. Do the rangers know Strider and leave her drops alone? Or did you time your arrival there to meet her in person? We are not quite sure how starting at Cottonwood Pass is going to affect our resupply strategy yet. We are not sure if adding 3 days on to the beginning of the trek will mean that we need to resupply before leaving Mt. Whitney. Any suggestions for that? Also, I read in one of your comments that none of the other resupply points (Muir Trail Ranch and Reds Meadow) give you the option to charge batteries. Is that really true? How many camera batteries did you use on the trail? Thanks in advance for your advice!

      Hi Alison – You are going to have the best time. As far as the Mount Williamson motel, I would call and talk with Strider and she what she says about the Onion Valley resupply. I have a hard time imagining rangers taking people’s food, but maybe things have changed since I hiked it.

      I don’t think you’ll want to need at Whitney, and I’m not sure where you would even do that. It’s only about 3 days between Whitney and Onion Valley, so as long as you start with a weeks worth of food, I think you should be good.

      For your camera batteries, yeah there really isn’t anywhere to charge stuff. Maybe if you eat at the restaurant at Reds Meadow you could charge there. I’d suggest bringing a small solar panel to charge your electronics. Check out my gear list from the hike if you need recommendations.

      I have heard that if you resupply at Onion Valley you need to put your name and puck up date on your cache. The Rangers occasionally clean out the storage bins for crap people leave behind. Good luck. Maybe I’ll see you on the journey. I’m on the same route starting Aug 20.

    I got my permit from Lyell Canyon for the end of August and I can’t wait. I used your website for the whole process. It was ironic that I got an email from amazon suggesting I purchase the JMT maps and sure enough I got my confirmation email that same day!!! It was nice to get the confirmation email instead of the we’re sorry email I received several times.

      hey Shane! That’s awesome. So stoked for you and you’ll have to come back and let me know how your trip goes!

    Kristen,
    Did cooking the freeze dried meals in freezer bags affect the re-hydration at all? When did you transfer the meals to the bags and do you know how long they last once after being opened? Do you know if the fuel has to be kept in the bear canister as well? I usually throw it in my bear bag just in case but there’s a lot more room in the bags.
    Love your blog btw! Keep up the good work!!!

      Canisters do not have to be stored in the bear bin. Freeze dried meals will last long enough for you to do the hike. I wouldn’t eat them months afterwards, but a month or so they should be fine. Have fun out there!

    Thanks for all the great info! Is the only way to reach Berner’s through email? I couldn’t find a website. Also, any idea how easy the JMT walk up permit is at Inyo visitors’ center in Lone Pine? Hitting the trail this August!

      Hey Maria – I don’t have any other contact info for the Berners. Sorry about that! And I’m also not sure about a walk up permit in lone pine. If you get any info though, please come back and share it!

    Is there anything you wish you would have sent yourself in the resupply buckets that you might of forgotten or didn’t think was important then realized you needed it? Hiking the JMT June 18 and your blog is seriously saving my life at moment!

      Miguel,
      I\’m hoping to do the hike at the same time next year. Could you share about the weather, mosquitoes, and any snow you encounter when you come back?

    I am leaving in 14 Days! I am excited and a little panicky.
    What did you do for lunches? I cant get past meal bars, cliff bars, etc…
    I was thinking tortillas ans tuna just by looking at your buckets.
    also, I see you have fuel in the buckets… did you send some anyway?

    Hi, My boyfriend and I are thru hiking northbound on the JMT and I was thinking of renting the Expedition bear canister from Bearikade which states roughly it will hold 12 days of food for a solo hiker. From your experience, is it better to have two bear canisters for two people, or does one large work out ok? My main concern is the 110 miles from Whitney to JM Ranch.

      I think its better to have 2 to help distribute the weight of the food between the both of you.

    I am going Northbound and trying to plan the resupply with the least amount of stops or time off the trail. We are starting at Crabtree Meadows, so we have two days before Whitney and then possibly 8 days to Reds Meadows to resupply? Any suggestions on resupply as it seems the three close resupply locations are all approx 3 days apart and that would not really buy us much time. I don’t want to send a three day resupply bucket but I am finding it hard to fit 10 days of food in my BV-500.

      Really the only options that are pretty close to the trail between Whitney and Reds are VVR & Muir Trail Ranch. Have you looked into these?

    Hey Kristen!!!

    Great blog, it has answered many JMT questions that I have.
    I plan to be on the JMT this time next year in 2017!!! (permit gods willing that is)

    I do have a permit question for you. Does each permit application cost you $10 or do they charge you only if a permit is granted?
    $10 isn’t much, but if they charge you $10 for each permit application and it takes 3 weeks to land a permit, it can add up fast.

      For confirmed reservations only there is a processing fee of $5.00 per permit plus a $5.00 per person reservation fee. So you only get charged if you are successful.

    Thank you for all the great information, we are planning a 2017 JMT hike. Do you have any information on the difficulty of getting a walk up permit from Tuolumne? I am hoping if we cannot secure a permit by faxing, we would be able to get in line early and secure one of the “10”.

      I’m not sure how that process went this year. I’d call the ranger station in Tuolumne and inquire. Good luck!

    Starting at Cottonwood Pass, would I be able to carry extra food each day outside my BV 500, and just store the extra food each night in bear boxes located along the trail?

      I’m not sure about the area around Cottonwood Pass. If there are bear bins available, it sounds like your plan would work, but you’d want to be sure about their location before starting your hike. You’d also not be able to leave your pack unattended during the day

    Would you happen to know if the resupply locations where you pick up your buckets also have a means to ship out a box or bucket ? I was thinking I would like to ship home extra stuff especially if we do the climb up half dome using a harness, we would like to send those home rather than carry them the entire trip. I was thinking of having a self addressed and stamped label for either a box or bucket to send home….

    I love your wealth of information, resupply is such a mystery and it is great to have all the information succinctly documented, thank you !

      You can ship stuff out at the post office in Tuolumne Meadows. I’m not sure about the others. You probably can, but I assume it’s expensive. If you are doing Half Dome the normal way up the cables, you don’t need a climbing harness.

      Harness is not really needed. Every 10 feet or so are wooden slats that you can stand straight up on to rest. I would encourage you to strengthen your arms and hands by doing pull-ups. If you can’t do a pull-up stand on a chair then pull your chin up above the bar and hang for as long as you can. repeat. Even if you only do this half a dozen times before you climb HalfDome you’ll appreciate having done it. The cables will fatigue your arms and grips if you are not a workout fanatic… good luck and enjoy the view. It’s amazing!

    Great article. Resupplies are the most stressful part of planning this trip. This helps bunches! Hiking JMT June 30 – July 20, 2017.

    You\’ve got a great guide which answers much of the concerns around resupply along the track. One hurdle was determining how far I\’d walk each day, but a 10mi (roughly 20kms) average seems like a good estimate for me. As a non-U.S. resident living overseas organising for this trip seems like a logistical nightmare. I would like to do JMT in August 2017 but preparing the resupply drops is confusing. I\’ve considered arriving at Mammoth Lakes a week before I set off from Happy Isles trail head, using the week to buy food supplies and organize packing, preparing and mailing them to the corresponding addresses ( Reds and Ranch)…would this work, as you\’ve mentioned they recommend sending supplies 3weeks before you set off. Love to get your feedback on how an overseas visitor might accomplish this. Thanks for your time.

      If you arrive a week early and ship your food to Muir Trail Ranch immediately, that should give you 3 weeks, since MTR is about 2 weeks in.

      You can drop your supplies off directly at Reds Meadow since it’s right next to Mammoth. As for Onion Valley, I’m not sure what people are doing this year since they’ve said they aren’t’ allowing people to leave food in the bins in the parking lot. But with an extra week, if you drove to Independence and chatted with some people you could figure it out.

    Hi Kristen,

    I am organising my JMT hike from Australia and have a question regarding the re-supply at Muir Trail Ranch. Do you think I would be able to fit food for two people into one bucket? It would be the final re-supply for my sister and I. It is difficult to figure these things out without actually having all of the food in front of you!

      Yes I fit food for two people in each of my resupply buckets.

    Hi Kristen,

    The reds Meadow resupply form link is not up to date, the price is $40 now.

    Tony

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