1. Ravi
    Ravi February 4, 2014 at 5:14 am

    I have a June 1 permit which is way too early normally but just might be possible this year due to the low snow conditions. I am monitoring the snow pack almost every day using this link:


    It is getting a little better but still 18% of normal in the central and 22% in the southern Sierra. Using the same link to go back to this time last year (which turned out to be a low snow year), the central sierra was at 83% of normal and the southern Sierra was at 75% of normal.

    I suspect that a June 1 start will seem more like a July 1 start in a normal year so lots of insect repellant and a headnet will be going in my pack. Fire season could be really bad this year. I was only impacted by the Rim fire one day on my hike last year but I could see the smoke in the distance on several days and it added uncertainty at the start of the trip.

  2. Mitch
    Mitch February 4, 2014 at 5:36 am

    I have another chart I monitor which allows me to compare snow from different years. Right now the snow is tracking the Minimum snow year from 1976-1977.


    1. Ravi
      Ravi February 4, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Looking at past history, charts seem to show that there is at least a chance of much more snow between now and the end of March. Hopefully some precipitation comes in. I’m following some data on reservoir levels and I can see why California is taking drastic steps to deal with the drought.

  3. Darryl
    Darryl February 4, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I like anything after mid Aug. If I want to get molested by mosquitos I will stay here in Wa. Smoke in the lungs is bad but you can always change your plans if it gets too bad. If you really want smoke hike Yellowstone. I’m 4 for 4 there. Never has been good & we finally gave up.

    Be sure to always carry a SPOT if you do need to be rescued — just first find a lake. I now carry mine even when I travel outside the country & into some sketchy areas. Purchase Evac insurance — Global Rescue is best even in the Sierras.

  4. Steve Netherby
    Steve Netherby February 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Avoiding mosquitoes was my motivation for through-hiking the JMT in September of 2012, and the weather was perfect: mild temperatures, only one short nighttime rain event—and maybe six suspected mosquitoes. And, as you say, Ray, creek crossings were a piece of cake. Now I’m researching the best area along the trail for a weeklong trek in the snow in 2015; I want to experience the beauty and solitude that only the Sierras snowclad can supply. Pray for snow.

  5. Patti
    Patti February 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    This will be my first JMT hike. I have a July 9th start date. I’m hiking it as a warmup for my last 43.5 mile section of the AT, in Maine, late Aug or early Sept. Hence the early start. It’s also my intro hike to the PCT.

    I’m a little concerned about the mosquitoes, but it may be so dry that they have no where to breed. And thanks to a good headnet, I survived them in NJ, NY, CN, MA in June and July on the AT last year.

    If it stays this dry will there be enough water or will we have to hike further between watering holes? And might the fires be early also?

    I just figured I’d wait until closer to my start date to decide for sure if I’m going. While I’m asking questions, how cold can I expect it to get at night in July and early August? I plan on taking about 30 days for the hike. I really want to have plenty of slow down, goof off, and enjoy it time.

    Thanks for listening.

  6. Liz
    Liz February 19, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    My husband and I are thinking about doing a thru-hike on the JMT and deciding on a good month to go has been a tricky one to answer. So this post was really informative, thanks!

    I was just wondering if you had any more opinions about the late summer months. I know the mosquitoes can be bad, but that aside, is the trail overcrowded? Or are there just hotspots where there are a lot of day hikers and short-term backpackers like through the Yosemite and Kings Canyon sections?

    I also wonder about how impacted the area gets around the trail from campsites of the thru-hikers. I am a firm believer in the Leave No Trace philosophy and if that means being one less person having an impact on the area at a particular time, I am happy to go hiking somewhere else that isn’t as popular.

    Any thoughts or insights on this would be greatly appreciated.


  7. Roger Hayse
    Roger Hayse January 10, 2015 at 6:09 am

    I have really enjoyed your book as my brother and I prepare for a fall thru-hike this fall. With the recent limitation changes to the permit system I am concerned about getting permits for 2 starting HI. With people ending vacations and people going back to school what fall date would you target as being the beginning of the slower demand period? We would ideally like to start by 8/20-8/31.
    Thanks much and good hiking to you.

  8. Sally
    Sally September 1, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    So Ray how are you?

    Know, you don’t know me, but I have looked at some of your internet posts. I am so interested in anyone that can help me with time of the year to go on the JMT. I want the water flowing in the falls, least amount of misquitos during that time and least chance of smoke from fires!

    Ok, I know it is a lot to ask for. I have searched and tried to figure it best. I’m thinking mid July but really an educated guess from reading on the web.

    Thanks, Sally

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