Explore John Muir Wilderness

Long Lake John Muir Wilderenss
Photo of Long Lake by Jane Richardson CC BY 3.0

Inspired by Exploration and "Wander"

The John Muir Wilderness spans over 100 miles of the Sierra’s most iconic alpine landscape from Mammoth Lakes to Mt. Whitney. Named after one of the Sierra biggest life long advocates and most quoted explorer, the John Muir Wilderness consists of more than half a million acres, bringing together some of the most spectacular landscape in the Sierra Nevada. It was designated in the 1964 Wilderness Act and contains the highest peak in the lower 48 states: Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet. In addition to granite peaks and glacially carved canyons, the John Muir protects the headwaters of the South and Middle Forks of the San Joaquin River, as well as the North Fork of the Kings River.


MT. Whitney

Latest John Muir Access News



Permits are required for all overnight trips in the John Muir Wilderness, and all trailheads have quotas. Why? Quotas apply to all overnight visitors, whether you use the services of a commercial outfitter/guide or not.

Wilderness Permits are available from the Sierra and Inyo National Forests, depending on where you plan to enter the Wilderness.


As the tallest peak in the lower 48 states, Mt Whitney is a popular destination. In order to preserve this area as a wilderness, permits are required for all all multi day trips and day use in the “Whitney Zone.” All the info you’ll need is available from the Inyo National Forest.

Trails & Access

Inyo National Forest and Sierra National Forest share management responsibility for the John Muir Wilderness. Approximately 299,000 Acres (46%) of the its 650,000 acres is managed by INF. It is contiguous with Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Golden Trout Wilderness and several other wilderness areas. Together, they constitute one of the largest roadless areas in the lower 48 states.

The John Muir Wilderness is very heavily used. Approximately 30 million people live within a few hours’ drive. Access routes to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, as well as the iconic John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails, pass through it. High levels of use and the flux of visitors across jurisdictional boundaries require that visitors to adhere to high standards of conduct. Before visiting, familiarize yourselves with jurisdictional boundaries, regulations and appropriate Leave No Trace practices.

Sierra / Kings Canyon Trails and Access

J54Maxon (Courtright)1510
J59Bear Diversion64
J60Bear Ridge64
J61Mono Creek1812
J63Margaret Lakes53

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