john muir trail travel

Mastering John Muir Trail Transit: Essential Tips

Mastering transit for the John Muir Trail ensures a smooth and enjoyable adventure. Begin by flying into Mammoth Airport for convenient access, or opt for larger airports like SFO for more choices. YARTS buses link Mammoth to Yosemite Valley, simplifying your journey. Once there, you can find free parking at Curry Village or Tuolumne Meadows. If you're starting at Whitney Portal, aim to arrive early due to limited parking, or utilize shuttles to Lone Pine. Tools like Rome2Rio can aid in planning your trip efficiently. By making the right preparations, you'll feel confident and well-prepared for your JMT hike. Be on the lookout for additional valuable tips coming your way!

John Muir Trail Overview

The John Muir Trail (JMT) spans 212 miles from Yosemite Valley to Whitney Portal, offering stunning views in the Sierra Nevada. If you seek freedom and adventure, hiking northbound is a popular choice for easier altitude adjustment. Planning is crucial as permits vary based on your starting point. Securing northbound permits from Yosemite is simpler than southbound ones. Remember, sorting out these logistics early on will ensure a smoother journey. Yosemite provides convenient public transit and parking, easing the start of your trip. Embrace the wilderness but plan wisely for a seamless adventure!

Air Travel Options

Once you've sorted out your permits and planned the logistics, it's time to consider your air travel options to reach the John Muir Trail. Depending on where you're starting from, you have several airport choices. Mammoth Airport is the closest option, but you may need to transfer in Reno. Alternatively, major airports on the west side like SFO, OAK, and LAX are further away but offer a wider range of flight options.

When selecting an airport, keep these factors in mind:

  • Proximity: How close is the airport to your trailhead?
  • Accessibility: Is there convenient transportation from the airport?
  • Cost: Do flights and transfers fit your budget?
  • Convenience: Are there frequent flights available at the airport?

Choosing the right airport can set the stage for a smooth start to your John Muir Trail adventure.

Shuttle and Public Transit

transportation options for everyone

Navigating the extensive network of shuttles and public transit options can simplify your journey to and from the John Muir Trail. Shuttle services like YARTS connect Mammoth Airport to Yosemite Valley, streamlining your trip. For a more flexible choice, private shuttles from Whitney Portal or Horseshoe Meadow to Lone Pine are available. Eastern Sierra Transit buses operate from Lone Pine to Mammoth, providing reliable bus routes for hikers.

If you're feeling adventurous, hitchhiking is common from Whitney Portal to Lone Pine. Remember, practicing good hitchhiking etiquette involves being polite and patient. These transportation options offer you the freedom to explore without the hassle of logistics, enhancing your JMT adventure with a stress-free experience.

Parking Information

Securing long-term parking at JMT access points is crucial to ensure your vehicle's safety as you embark on your hiking journey. Free long-term parking is available at Curry Village and Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, making them convenient starting points for your trek. Whitney Portal also offers some free parking options, but they tend to fill up quickly, so arriving early is advisable. If you're beginning your hike from Horseshoe Meadow, rest assured that there are ample free long-term parking spaces. Remember to take necessary precautions to protect your vehicle from wildlife encounters.

  • Curry Village and Tuolumne Meadows: Free, convenient parking options.
  • Whitney Portal: Limited free parking, arrive early.
  • Horseshoe Meadow: Ample free parking spaces.
  • Security: Be vigilant to prevent wildlife incidents.

Having access to these parking spots will give you peace of mind so you can focus on the exciting trail ahead.

Additional Resources

informative guide for beginners

Planning your John Muir Trail adventure requires utilizing various resources to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Start by using Rome2Rio to map out your journey from home to the trailhead. This tool helps you find the best routes and transportation options, whether you're flying, driving, or taking a bus. Consider YARTS services for convenient bus routes from Mammoth Airport to Yosemite Valley, which can save you the hassle of parking. Check local shuttle services for any gaps in your plan. With the right resources, you'll be able to focus on the trail and the adventure that awaits.


As you wrap up your planning for the John Muir Trail adventure, remember that good logistics are key. Whether you're flying into Mammoth or Reno, or sorting out shuttles and parking, a bit of preparation goes a long way. With everything sorted, you can focus on soaking in the breathtaking landscapes and creating unforgettable memories. Happy hiking, and may your journey on the JMT be just as incredible as you've envisioned!

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