Tuolumne Meadows to Red’s Meadow Trail

Yosemite Village, California

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Many thru-hikers begin the John Muir Trail in Tuolumne Meadows, since it’s easier to get permits here than from the Happy Isles trailhead. Others start here to avoid the big climb out of Yosemite Valley and enjoy a more manageable trip start. Indeed, this section begins with the flattest expanse of the John Muir Trail: nearly 8 miles of gentle walking along the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River through wooded thickets and picture-perfect meadows. Eventually you will tackle Donahue Pass (11,056 feet), home to many enchanting tarns, and Island Pass (10,205 feet), with its unique islets floating at high elevation. The next few days of hiking bring you past lovely alpine lakes with ample camping. Finally, reach the unique geologic formation of Devils Postpile and the relative creature comforts of Red’s Meadow, with free hot-spring showers, home-cooked meals, and a general store. Outstanding features: Lyell Canyon, Donahue Pass, Island Pass, Thousand Island Lake, Shadow Lake, Red’s Meadow Resort and Campground

Tuolumne Meadows to Red’s Meadow Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Many thru-hikers begin the John Muir Trail in Tuolumne Meadows, since it’s easier to get permits here than from the Happy Isles trailhead. Others start here to avoid the big climb out of Yosemite Valley and enjoy a more manageable trip start. Indeed, this section begins with the flattest expanse of the John Muir Trail: nearly 8 miles of gentle walking along the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River through wooded thickets and picture-perfect meadows. Eventually you will tackle Donahue Pass (11,056 feet), home to many enchanting tarns, and Island Pass (10,205 feet), with its unique islets floating at high elevation. The next few days of hiking bring you past lovely alpine lakes with ample camping. Finally, reach the unique geologic formation of Devils Postpile and the relative creature comforts of Red’s Meadow, with free hot-spring showers, home-cooked meals, and a general store. Outstanding features: Lyell Canyon, Donahue Pass, Island Pass, Thousand Island Lake, Shadow Lake, Red’s Meadow Resort and Campground"

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Yosemite Village
Distance: 37
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 3–5 days
Trailhead Elevation: 8,700 feet
Top Elevation: 11,150 feet

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