The trail starts from Tuolumne Meadows and follows the river until the ascent up Donahue Pass. As you climb higher and higher, you have expansive views of the meadows below and where you hiked from. You get a great view of Mt. Lyell and Lyell Glacier right underneath it. And you’ll pass a couple of pristine alpine lakes.
The hike to Minaret Lake was one of my favorite hikes. It’s challenging but the elevation gain is spaced out enough that you don’t feel the burn as much. The views are stunning and around every turn, they just keep getting better and better.
This paradise is nestled on the Havasupai Reservation next to the Grand Canyon and has become a huge attraction due to the turquoise waterfalls flowing against the bright red rocks of the Arizona desert.
I’ve seen the most beautiful sunrises on Mt. Whitney time and time again, nothing compares to watching the whole mountain light up pink in the sunrise glow. Now that you’ve gotten your permit, you know what you're getting yourself into, and you are getting prepared for this stunning hike, let’s get into the trail report.
Because our “trail” was the road, it never got too steep. It stayed extremely gradual, which made for a perfect day! We were able to focus on the peaks and views ahead instead of worrying about the condition or steepness of the trail. Once we got to the Portal, there was so much snow! The Mt. Whitney trailhead sign was almost buried.
In the summer, this trail is a road, but in the winter, it’s unplowed which makes it the perfect trail to follow, and perfect for a beginner snowshoer or someone looking for a stroll through the woods.
I break down the whole permit system, including permits leaving Yosemite heading SOBO, permits heading NOBO, section hikes and basically every way you can get a permit to end up on the John Muir Trail.