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  1. #1
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    Default High Sierra Trail entry option for NOBO JMT

    This is a belated post I intended to make when I got back from my hike at the beginning of September. This year, I had a whole bunch of plans up in the air and the reservation windows for Yosemite and Inyo National Forest passed by before I got my act together and decided what I was going to be able to do. Most of the reservation options were closed to me for both SOBO and NOBO, although I could have done a flip flop pretty easily. However, I decided to try something different and was able to very easily secure a permit for the High Sierra Trail starting in Sequoia National Park at Crescent Meadows. The quotas were not full for several days in August at the time of my inquiry. I faxed in my request and a couple of weeks had my permit (cost: $15). I also made reservations for two nights prior to the trip at Lodgepole campground so I could hike the giant sequoia groves. That is a MUST see in my opinion and the trails aren't crowded in the groves outside the main attractions.

    This option was fantastic and the High Sierra Trail is beautiful and relatively uncrowded after getting past Bearpaw High Sierra Camp and Hamilton Lake. It is about 48 miles from Crescent Meadow to the JMT junction at Wallace Creek so it is a long approach but the trail deserves to be hiked on its own merits. It is a further 12 miles southbound on the JMT to Mt. Whitney. From there I turned around and started hiking the JMT northbound. The SEKI permit is good for as far as you want to go northbound. You could even go to Tahoe.

    I hiked the 60 miles from Crescent Meadow to the Whitney summit in almost exactly 72 hours - 3 days so if you are fit it need not take the 6-7 days recommended on SEKI's trip planner.

    Anyway I highly recommend this approach to the JMT and I'm perplexed that more people aren't using it.

    Here is information from SEKI on the HST:

    https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvis...erra-trail.htm

    Photo album from the HST:

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=2197917540
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  2. #2
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Awesome and outstanding info coffee, much obliged! as to why it's not more used is simply that is unknown, now it is more known, thanks to your post. I know, now, precisely what I'm going to do next year!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Awesome and outstanding info coffee, much obliged! as to why it's not more used is simply that is unknown, now it is more known, thanks to your post. I know, now, precisely what I'm going to do next year!
    I believe that I only saw eight hikers after leaving Hamilton Lake - which was croweded - (around mile 16) until I joined the JMT at Wallace Creek (mile 48). The ascent to Precipice Lake and Kaweah Gap and the descent to Big Arroyo is JMT-class in terms of scenery, in my opinion. I've heard some people talk about the big descent to the Kern River, the walk along the river, and then ascending up Wallace Creek as being an impediment but, other than the descent to the Kern, I enjoyed all of it. The descent wasn't much fun but it was late in the day. Glad the info helped!

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    Shhh, I do stuff like this regularly. When not needing to hike a named trail from official terminus to official terminus or not starting or ending a trail at a official terminus options to explore the JMT are basically endless. It very much so can free up creativity and obtaining permits. Someone posted on WB a map of the Sierra(maybe Malto?) not long ago that depicted the Sierra High Route, JMT , PCT and High Sierra Trail(HST). If you want it could be overlaid in color on one map with the Kings Canyon High Basin Route and explore the virtually unlimited options.

    I was exploring the opps and logistics connecting the Low to High Route with the HST which combined seemed to be a much better hike than either of those trails/routes by themselves. I also considered the Japhy Ryder Route but substituting the HST for the Low to High Route both starting and finishing west of the Sierra. I see other LD options that involve pt to pt and loops in Cali and Oregon that are just waiting to be connected by an adventurous intrepid break the mold of having to hike on a named trail all the time hiker.

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    It's kind of crazy how the side trails in the high Sierra are relatively deserted, isn't it? Hiking out of VVR I opted for Goodale Pass to reconnect to the JMT. On the 11 mile segment from VVR to the JMT junction near Squaw Lake, I saw two groups camped (not far from VVR) and one guy hiking to VVR. That's it. No one at the pass. No one at Papoose Lake (right off the JMT). Looked like no one at lake of the lone Indian (didn't visit but could see it). Then back on the JMT I encountered several dozen sobos within just the first hour. I was very fixated on hiking every inch of named trails and that's what I did on my first JMT but I'm more open to alternates now. My rule now is I just want connecting footprints from one place to another.

  6. #6
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    I have a question about the HST. How possible is it to do the HST with a hammock?

  7. #7
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    Yeah, I had that desire to bag ABC trails at a time and still do but no where to the extent I once did. I like piecing together segments of trail and routes to do my own unknown hikes. I'm going out to hike not bag trails so everyone is familiar with what I've hiked.

    "It's kind of crazy how the side trails in the high Sierra are relatively deserted, isn't it?" It's the same in large measure with side trails, even some well known ones, with the AT.

    Yeah, I had that desire to bag ABC trails at a time and still do but no where to the extent I once did. I like piecing together segments of trail and routes to do my own unknown hikes. I'm going out to hike not bag trails so everyone is familiar with what I've hiked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Backpkrmn View Post
    I have a question about the HST. How possible is it to do the HST with a hammock?
    Very possible in terms of tree availability. Kaweah Gap & few miles on each side are the only areas I recall where it might be an issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    Anyway I highly recommend this approach to the JMT and I'm perplexed that more people aren't using it.


    Photo album from the HST:

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=2197917540

    HST is fairly sought after, and most people that want to hike JMT dont want to hike 60 extra miles.

    Hell, most of the dumbass people sobo today skip 7℅ of the trail by taking Goodale pass to VVR ,and shuttling out to skip the switchbacks up bear ridge. All because it's easier and someone sells a shuttle. That tells you all you need to know about the Facebook hikers on the JMT today. Just like yellow blazers in AT.

    Almost half again start at Tuolumne, missing another 10%. So a lot actually are skipping 22% + of trail.

    Keep in mind 25 % of these JMT hikers don't finish a little 200 mile hike......too hard for them. Even when they allocated 4weeks for it. Or possibly..because they allocated that time, and carried too much wt, and only hikes 10 am to 3 pm each day. Gave themselves trail names too...

    It's a clown circus out there
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 09-17-2016 at 20:09.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    ….. and most people that want to hike JMT dont want to hike 60 extra miles…
    See how much and fast that changes when those who want to be recognized for or as JMT thrus should the JMT be changed to include the HST with the new JMT terminus being relocated to Crescent Meadow. See how many more hike the Approach Trail or Pinhoti Tr should the southern AT terminus be changed to Amicalola Falls SP or Flagg Mt in Alabama. Should an AT hike or thru-hike be recognized by taking alternates through GSMNP or the Benton McKaye Tr or elsewhere and see how many more utilize those trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    See how much and fast that changes when those who want to be recognized for or as JMT thrus should the JMT be changed to include the HST with the new JMT terminus being relocated to Crescent Meadow. See how many more hike the Approach Trail or Pinhoti Tr should the southern AT terminus be changed to Amicalola Falls SP or Flagg Mt in Alabama. Should an AT hike or thru-hike be recognized by taking alternates through GSMNP or the Benton McKaye Tr or elsewhere and see how many more utilize those trails.
    Im for keeping the masses on their trail they want bragging rights for. And minimizing their impact.

    Mmoooooo.

  12. #12
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    Jeeze, what with all the damn negativity and self-praising and holier-than-thou crap? Same old few do it all the time. I made the mistake of removing you guys from my ignore list, not sure why.

    Anyway, this kind of out of the box thinking could really help out a lot of folks, again thanks for posting this Coffee. My wife and I are formulating a plan on doing a nice combo of all those trails with side trips to a whole slew of California 14ers along the way; we're working on that silly list now, and repeating the JMT with detours will polish off quite a few.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Jeeze, what with all the damn negativity and self-praising and holier-than-thou crap? Same old few do it all the time. I made the mistake of removing you guys from my ignore list, not sure why.

    Anyway, this kind of out of the box thinking could really help out a lot of folks, again thanks for posting this Coffee. My wife and I are formulating a plan on doing a nice combo of all those trails with side trips to a whole slew of California 14ers along the way; we're working on that silly list now, and repeating the JMT with detours will polish off quite a few.
    I agree.
    What happened to HYOH?
    Everyone's different.
    I've hiked the JMT 5 times and each time, I did it differently, resupplied differently, split it in half twice, did it fast, did it slow............
    I don't understand the judging going on?
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  14. #14
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    HYOH is a good rule of thumb.

    I esrimate that that I hiked about 250 miles in my two weeks this August so technically more than a kosher JMT thru but I got to see some new places I wasn't previously familiar with. To avoid the Labor Day hordes in Yosemite, I elected to finish up at Red's so it wasn't a pure JMT thru but I feel like I got more out of it.

    Personally I think people should be less focused on a pure thru hike and more on the experience. But yes HYOH!

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Jeeze, what with all the damn negativity and self-praising and holier-than-thou crap? Same old few do it all the time. I made the mistake of removing you guys from my ignore list, not sure why.

    Anyway, this kind of out of the box thinking could really help out a lot of folks, again thanks for posting this Coffee. My wife and I are formulating a plan on doing a nice combo of all those trails with side trips to a whole slew of California 14ers along the way; we're working on that silly list now, and repeating the JMT with detours will polish off quite a few.
    The problem is, unlike the AT , LT, CT, etc at current time, there's limited permits for JMT. Facebook fools consume an increasing percentage, preventing others from getting a chance, despite the plethora of good advice available.

    I believe HYOH. Till it impacts others.
    These people impact others.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 09-18-2016 at 01:46.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    The problem is, unlike the AT , LT, CT, etc at current time, there's limited permits for JMT. Facebook fools consume an increasing percentage, preventing others from getting a chance, despite the plethora of good advice available.

    I believe HYOH. Till it impacts others.
    These people impact others.
    I think that this is a little harsh to say the least. These people are certainly consuming permits, there is no doubt about that, but they have the same right to compete for the limited supply of permits as anyone else. And to the extent that they gravitate to the "popular" trailheads leaving room at the alternate locations (that are many times better) for the rest of us, they could actually be helping provide access to more experienced hikers to those alternate starts.

    Also we should keep in mind that the popularity of long distance hiking, communicated on sites like Facebook, has two sides to the coin. Yes some permits are harder to obtain but greater awareness of the wilderness also makes it politically more likely for parks to be protected.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Jeeze, what with all the damn negativity and self-praising and holier-than-thou crap? Same old few do it all the time. I made the mistake of removing you guys from my ignore list, not sure why.

    Anyway, this kind of out of the box thinking could really help out a lot of folks, again thanks for posting this Coffee. My wife and I are formulating a plan on doing a nice combo of all those trails with side trips to a whole slew of California 14ers along the way; we're working on that silly list now, and repeating the JMT with detours will polish off quite a few.
    Heh. I thought that you hike a trail and then you come to WhiteBlaze to disparage anyone else who hikes the same trail in a slightly different manner. That's how this works right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    .

    Also we should keep in mind that the popularity of long distance hiking, communicated on sites like Facebook, has two sides to the coin. Yes some permits are harder to obtain but greater awareness of the wilderness also makes it politically more likely for parks to be protected.
    If they weren't of the mentality to do trail magic and hold parties in the wilderness, .....maybe so. Many people are out there for wrong reasons...just like AT.

  19. #19

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    I really like this option as well. I am in the planning stages of a very late August 2017 JMT hike and really do not care how I access or complete my hike. It will be a thru hike from my chosen starting point to final destination I guess. I am seriously considering starting at Crescent Meadows and just continuing on to Yosemite from the JMT intersection. I have been to Whitney before and, at the present time, do not think it will bother me to skip it this time around. I have never been on the HST so am looking forward to it. This will also be my first thru hike of the JMT, but not first trip in the Sierra, so any JMT specific advice would be very much appreciated.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Im for keeping the masses on their trail they want bragging rights for. And minimizing their impact. . .
    YES! +1

    I generally think of the PCT and AT treads as kinda like the freeways of the trail world: useful at times to get places, sadly necessary to get to certain places, but unpleasantly busy and dirty if a less well known alternative is available.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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