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  1. #1

    Default JMT Map and Guide

    Is the JMT trailguide from 2014 the most up to date?

    And would you get a map for the JMT or is it pretty obvious?

    Yes, I know that currently you can't hike it.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  2. #2

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    I'd recommend some sort of map, even one you find online. A lot of trail junctions are not marked JMT but instead tell you some major feature (lake name or pass name) is in the indicated direction. The trail hasn't changed in a very long time. How good of a map depends on when you hike it, i.e. are the passes still buried in snow or not. The last time I hiked it (a few years ago), I carried Erik the Blacks JMT guide which is just a tiny map book. I mainly used it to plan my day and occasionally check at trail junctions to make sure I was heading the right way. Previous time (in June with a lot of snow), I used the Tom Harrison Map pack as I didn't own a GPS and smartphones were new and not reliable GPS devices back then. Today there are apps you can download maps from or use something dedicated like Guthooks JMT guide.

  3. #3
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Both times I hiked the JMT I broke my usual AT-esque no-map method and on the JMT I carried actual paper maps. There is so much visual eye-candy everywhere, I really enjoyed knowing the big surrounding picture like what all the peaks and other features were. Something like 8 ounces of color printed paper maps. I generated all of them myself using caltopo, just because I wanted full customization.

    I also used a GPS track now and then (on my phone) to make sure I was on the right trail whenever in a doubt. There are some weird tricky turns here and there, like around Reds Meadow, for one example.

  4. #4
    Registered User gollwoods's Avatar
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    was helpful for me as I hiked and deciding how far to go over day. https://www.theatguide.com/product/j...t-profile-map/

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  5. #5

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    We took the Harrison Maps and used Guthook in 2019 going NOBO. I have since bought the Blackwoods pocket guide which is really nice. If you go NOBO from Horseshoe Meadows, be sure your map includes the PCT section leading up to Crabtree Meadows. Not all JMT specific maps have this.

    On our next JMT trip, we will take the Blackwoods hardcopy and the Harrison Maps in PDF format on my phone as well as use Guthook.

    Although the JMT is very easy to follow you will want to have an information source that will show you the side trails (and the mileage) that exit the JMT. Showing this information is probably more important than showing the actual tread of the JMT itself in the situation that you need to exit for one reason or another (fire, injury, resupply, etc.)

  6. #6

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    lots of good info here guys. thanks so much and keep chiming in. No idea when I will dare to tackle this but hopefully "soon." (which for me means within the next 5 years but hopefully more like 3)
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  7. #7
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    I bought the Harrison Maps because some people rave about them and the detail.
    Geographically they may be detailed, but they totally lack some of the detail I really liked on the National Geography "book" map, like the location of the known campsites.

    So what I did was to buy a set of pens that will write on waterproof maps. Details that were missing (such as some of the campsites in the Wenk data book) I added.
    I then took the Nat Geo map AND the Gunthook App.

    Like Miner points out, there are numerous trail intersections near populated areas with pretty much ZERO indication as to which way the JMT goes.
    And there seems to even be some conflicting information on exactly which trail is officially the JMT in some places. One example is in the area of Tuolumne Meadows. There is a trail that stays south of the road and campsite, and there is a trail that crosses the road and passes thru the meadow in Tuolumne. Some sources say the trail south of the road is the JMT. The Nat Geo map says the path that crosses the road the the JMT.

    In any case, what I did was every time I went thru a trail intersection, I fired up the Gunthook App and used it to determine if I was still on the JMT. In the area of Tuolumne and Devil's Post Pile, I found myself going down the wrong trail (at least according to Gunthook) despite the signs and my NatGeo Map.

    Beyond trail intersections, the other main thing I used the maps and App were for finding campsites. I generally hiked until about 5 o'clock simply enjoying the scenery and not necessarily keeping up with exactly where I was on the map. Around 5, I would fire up the Gunthook App and use it to figure out where along the trail I was, could visually transfer that location to the NatGeo map and see what camp sites were ahead (Gunthook App includes campsites and water sources, but at the time in 2016, it didn't include all the campsite Wenk's data had).

  8. #8
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    I recommend the Harrison Maps, but with a caveat: The "John Muir Trail Map Pack" is the lightest option, comprised of 13 sheets, but provides only a relatively narrow view of the trail corridor. This is adequate for most thru hikers and is what I used on my first two JMT hikes. However, after that, I wanted to explore more of the side trails. For that purpose, you can opt for the following maps (from North to South):

    Yosemite High Country
    Mammoth High Country (or Ansel Adams Wilderness, although this one misses a tiny section of the JMT south of Silver Pass)
    Mono Divide High Country
    Kings Canyon High Country
    Mt. Whitney High Country

    You need not take all of these five maps on each segment of a JMT thru hike. You could take the Yosemite and Mammoth High Country maps when starting out on a SOBO JMT, add Mono Divide at Red's Meadow when resupplying and the Kings Canyon and Mt. Whitney maps at VVR or MTR. At MTR, you could send the maps you're already done with back home.

    This year, I plan to hike an alternate to the JMT still starting in Yosemite but not overlapping with the JMT until south of VVR. So I will be taking the more detailed Harrison maps with me, not the JMT map pack.

    On the JMT itself, it is very hard to get lost but having a map is useful anyway. I have never found that I needed an App, although I have used one.

    One piece of advice: Do not camp at ANY of the campsites documented in the apps unless you want company. These are the camps everyone goes to. On the JMT, you can disperse camp anywhere you want (subject to park rules and LNT) and in most places, you can explore and find an unused or lesser used site. The JMT is crowded, especially the documented campsites.

  9. #9
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    I used Erik the Black's guide. That was back in 2017 before I was turned onto Guthooks style tracking. If I could go back in time, I would have just used that. As somebody else mentioned, the JMT is not clearly marked. I made a few wrong turns myself that thankfully I didn't go very far before something didn't feel right. It would have been nice to see my actual location relative to the trail with an app. Wouldn't hurt to carry a paper map. Either way, carry something!
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    And there seems to even be some conflicting information on exactly which trail is officially the JMT in some places. One example is in the area of Tuolumne Meadows. There is a trail that stays south of the road and campsite, and there is a trail that crosses the road and passes thru the meadow in Tuolumne. Some sources say the trail south of the road is the JMT. The Nat Geo map says the path that crosses the road the the JMT.
    As someone who has been hiking in the Sierra Nevada since the early 90's, all the printed material back then showed the official trail crossing Hwy 120 to go by the historical cabin over there and soda springs where it then joins up with the PCT. The so-called southern route was/is just a cutoff for those that want to get to the store and TM campground (to the hikers campsite) quickly and avoid having to do a 1/4mi off trail roadwalk back to them from the PCT/JMT where it crosses Hwy 120. The problem with the internet is there is too much conflicting information put out by people who really don't know or care about getting the details right. In the scheme of things, it's a minor difference, but I personally like visiting the naturally carbonated Soda Springs and always go that way.

  11. #11
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    Miner is correct about the JMT crossing 120. The springs, the cabin, the meadow are all worth a visit with some interesting 'educational kiosks' teaching you about the natural history along the way.

    I used the Harrison maps and was glad I had them. They allowed me to do some side hikes which I enjoyed and identify the features around me. I also very much enjoyed carrying and reading Elizabeth Wenk's JMT guide. Not so much for route finding, but for learning about the flora, fauna, and geology I was seeing along the way. Gave me something to read before I fell asleep at night and as I planned my next day.
    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


    John Greenleaf Whittier

  12. #12
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    It’s absolutely worth following the official JMT through Tuolumne Meadows. I’ve never understood why most hikers are so eager to get to the store. And then most just head up Lyell Canyon. Tuolumne isn’t wilderness but it’s great to see and Soda Springs is interesting.

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