On November 30th of last year there was some sort of catastrophic weather event which resulted in the blow down of thousands of trees along a northern portion of the John Muir Trail. (The damage occurred in areas other than the trail as well, but I’ll concentrate on the JMT portion.) Winds in some areas were recorded in excess of 150 miles per hour.
As of the current reports, a southbound John Muir Trail hiker will first encounter trail blockages as you descend off Island Pass to Thousand Island Lake. The last of the damage occurred near “Horse Heaven” on the way to Silver Pass.
Between those northern and southern landmarks, over half of the trail is affected—nearly seventeen miles, at least according to the latest maps provided by the Inyo National Forest. (Of course not all of the affected areas are completely clogged. We’ll get better data once hikers start to report back after their excursions.)
What impact will this have on your hike? That depends on how fast trail crews can do their work and when you are intending to hike. If you’ve read my book (you have read my book, right?), you know that I ‘m a fan of hiking in late August and early September. A lot can change between now and then.
Keep planning and keep training, but with one eye on the Inyo National Forest website. Regular updates are available at:
Just click on the “Wind Storm Damage Information” link on the upper right.
For an idea of what the damage looks like, check out:
Good hiking, Ray