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Best Side Trips and Camp Sites along the JMT

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Best Side Trips and Camp Sites along the JMT

Postby tyler675108 » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:59 pm

Hey HST! I'm going to be thru-hiking the JMT (southbound from Happy Isles) from June 26th - July 17th this year (21 days) and wanted some insight as I am sketching out my itinerary. I was curious as to what everyone would recommend for campsites along the trail as well as some cool side trips. Since I have 21 days to do the trail, I am looking to do a lot of fly fishing (at least 1-2 hours a day) and some side trips. So if you guys have any camp spots along the trail you recommend and some great side trips please let me know! :D :D :D


Experience Level 3: Numerous Backpacking trips and some cross country travel
Comfortable with Class 2 travel and easier Class 3: River crossings, passes, glacier travel, etc.
Looking for: Big Mountain scenery, good fly fishing, stargazing, lakes, and possibly even some slight climbing.

Thanks! :D
Last edited by tyler675108 on Sat Mar 05, 2016 1:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best Side Trips and Camp Sites along the JMT

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:48 pm

Hi Tyler,

Please answer these questions so we can get an understanding of your experience, and then folks can recommend you side trip accordingly.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member:
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Re: Best Side Trips and Camp Sites along the JMT

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:46 pm

If you are a very social person and want the camaraderie of the group, then by all means, camp at the established campsites along the trail. On the other hand, there is no need to camp at ANY of these established campsites. If willing to get off the trail as little as a quarter to half a mile, your trip can feel very much like a wilderness experience. Sometimes it is as simple as just moving to the opposite side of a lake. If you are proficient at navigation and off-trail travel, then many more possibilities open up. Let us know your style of hiking. Also, how much of a purist are you? Do you want to stay true to the route or open to a few variations?
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Re: Best Side Trips and Camp Sites along the JMT

Postby Pietro257 » Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:17 pm

I assume you're going north to south and you're interested in cross-country routes, not alternative trails. Here's a couple in the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

When you get to Thousand Island Lake consider going around the west side of Thousand Island Lake and traveling cross-country to Garnet Lake (this lake is also on the JMT). This is an easy route to take and to follow. It's beautiful and it will only divert you for about four hours.

Here's another a few miles down: When you get to the junction west of Shadow Lake, go west off the JMT to Ediza Lake. From there you can take one of the triedest and truest cross-country routes in the Sierra: Go to Iceberg Lake, Cecile Lake, and over the pass to MInaret Lake. From there you can pick up the trail to Devil's Postpile and resume your JMT. This one will divert you for a day. I'm kind of hesitant to recommend it, though, as you're going early in the season and there might be a lot of snow in this area. If there is snow, however, you'll be quite used to trudging over it by the time you get to the Ansel Adams.

The JMT is beautiful but I like the solitude of cross-country hiking.
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Re: Best Side Trips and Camp Sites along the JMT

Postby Troutdog 59 » Fri Mar 04, 2016 3:51 pm

A nice side trip for fishing that wouldn't take you far off of you're route would be to visit the lakes up the headwaters of Bear Creek (Lou Beverly, Sandpiper, Medley, etc.) just before you go over Selden Pass (that's assuming your hiking north to south) . From the JMT follow the short cutoff trail to Lou Beverly which is a small forested lake. A use trail leads one up the drainage to Sand Piper and Medley Lakes that are more open than Low Bev below. From Medley, head west to an easy cross country walk over to Marie Lake and join back up with the JMT.
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Re: Best Side Trips and Camp Sites along the JMT

Postby Cross Country » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:40 pm

Orchid lake and you can fly fish there.
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