Red’s Meadow to Vermilion Valley Resort Trail

Mammoth Lakes, California

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This section of the John Muir Trail travels from the relative creature comforts of one backcountry refuge to another. You’d be wise to enjoy this pampering as the trail becomes increasingly more remote as it meanders south. From Red’s Meadow, it’s a long, hot, and sometimes exposed climb through an area ravaged by 1992’s Rainbow Fire. However Purple and Virginia lakes provide the perfect setting for a high-altitude swim to wash off any trail dust. Enjoy a tremendous descent into Tully Hole and walk along the banks of Fish Creek, rolling up toward Squaw Lake. Silver Pass (10,895 feet) is the most significant climb of this stretch, affording epic views of Cascade Valley. From here, it’s virtually all downhill as the trail wanders through Pocket Meadow before descending to Lake Edison. Hop on a ferry that whisks you away to cold beer and hot food at the Vermilion Valley Resort. The “resort” part is a bit of a stretch—it’s no Four Seasons— but they’ve got tent cabins, showers, and great eats. Outstanding features: Red Cones, Purple Lake, Lake Virginia, Squaw Lake, Silver Pass, Pocket Meadow, Edison Lake Ferry

Red’s Meadow to Vermilion Valley Resort Trail Professional Review and Guide

"This section of the John Muir Trail travels from the relative creature comforts of one backcountry refuge to another. You’d be wise to enjoy this pampering as the trail becomes increasingly more remote as it meanders south. From Red’s Meadow, it’s a long, hot, and sometimes exposed climb through an area ravaged by 1992’s Rainbow Fire. However Purple and Virginia lakes provide the perfect setting for a high-altitude swim to wash off any trail dust. Enjoy a tremendous descent into Tully Hole and walk along the banks of Fish Creek, rolling up toward Squaw Lake. Silver Pass (10,895 feet) is the most significant climb of this stretch, affording epic views of Cascade Valley. From here, it’s virtually all downhill as the trail wanders through Pocket Meadow before descending to Lake Edison. Hop on a ferry that whisks you away to cold beer and hot food at the Vermilion Valley Resort. The “resort” part is a bit of a stretch—it’s no Four Seasons— but they’ve got tent cabins, showers, and great eats. Outstanding features: Red Cones, Purple Lake, Lake Virginia, Squaw Lake, Silver Pass, Pocket Meadow, Edison Lake Ferry"

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Mammoth Lakes
Distance: 31
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3–5 days
Trailhead Elevation: 7,600 feet
Top Elevation: 10,700 feet

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