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The John Muir Trail: Through the Californian Sierra Nevada (Cicerone Guide) Vinyl Bound – 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alan Castle has trekked and cycled in over 30 countries and five continents and for many years led organized walking holidays in Europe. He has written more than a dozen guidebooks for Cicerone, several on long-distance mountain routes in France and has been exploring the French Massif Central for over 20 years.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl Bound: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Cicerone Press Limited; 1 edition (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781852843960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852843960
  • ASIN: 1852843969
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Brodhead on February 6, 2006
Format: Vinyl Bound Verified Purchase
I purchased this book last summer as part of a planning effort for hiking the trail in September. Even though I was quite familiar with the Sierra, I had no idea on how to plan the trip out as far as legs and campsites. I found this book to be invaluable as far as proposing a reasonable itinerary and giving the person a good idea of what to expect on each leg and where to find campsites. Castle first gives an overview of what should be done before the trip, and then breaks it out into a very doable 21-day itinerary (with 2 layover days) that range from 10-15 miles per day. He gives you a quick-hit overview of elevation gains and mileage and then a more detailed description of the day's hike. Also, he does a good job of planning the days so that you start with a climb and end with a descent. The one unfortunate is that the book is a bit heavy, though compact in size to actually carry with you -- the person I hiked with did carry it though and we enjoyed reading it along the trail as well as at night. I suppose one might xerox the pages you found necessary. By the way, I also had the Winnett book and found that far less helpful, and less organized as far as actually planning the trip. This is an awesome trip, and I strongly recommend both the book as well as doing the JMT -- it is a life-changing experience!
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Format: Vinyl Bound
Just finished the JMT. The book was useful for planning my trek since the book is organized into a 22 day hike and I planned our hike for 20 days, so I would recommend it for that purpose. Having it on the hike itself wasn't very rewarding. The distance and altitude change intervals were somewhat useful, although the numbers don't necessarily mesh with the Harrison topo maps. What was disappointing was the lack of detail about campsite locations. The author basically indicates where they camped, but provides little information about where other campsites are located or their quality. Not a problem if you follow his itinerary, but if you're like us (and most of the other JMT hikers) it doesn't help when it's late in the day and you're trying to figure out how much further you need to go to get to a decent campsite. I basically stopped referring to the book after the first week and relied on the other guide I had which had much more detailed information on the trail and camping. I would have burned the Cicerone guide except we couldn't have fires most of the way and one of my friends wanted to carry it for reading material. The maps it contains were fairly worthless, so you'll definitely want topos. The author also comes across a bit snobbish at times, which certainly allowed my friends and I to poke fun at him and added to our entertainment. Logistical informtation on getting to the trailhead and dropping a vehicle at the end of the trail is also incomplete. YARTS only serves Merced to Mammoth, so getting from Whitney Portal to Mammoth requires a hitch, getting a local to shuttle you, or paying high dollars for a commercial shuttle. Bottom line is this is a decent book for planning a 3 week trek on the JMT, but it's not worth the weight to carry it. The Winsett guide was much more valuable on the trail, although it also has it's flaws.
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Format: Vinyl Bound Verified Purchase
I own all the available guides to hiking the JMT that are mentioned by reviewers of this book and, as someone who used this book, along with the Tom Harrison map pack, to plan a JMT solo thru-hike that I successfully completed, I can, without reservations, recommend this book. Keep in mind that it is aimed at those who are planning a north-to-south thru-hike (though it can be "reverse engineered" for going the other direction.) I can say from experience that this book, along with the above-mentioned map pack, is all you need to plan and guide your trip.

The strength of this book is how it breaks the trip down into reasonable segments, aimed at a 21-day itinerary, and provides very helpful diagrams detailing what kind of elevations and ascents and descents you will encounter on each segment, along with nice summaries of other things to expect along each segment. I didn't follow the 21-day itinerary exactly--my trip lasting 25 days--but the itinerary was a great foundation that I tweaked as my trip progressed.

(By the way, if you are planning a thru-hike, try to give yourself as many days as possible and be aware that I found that nearly every thru-hiker I encountered on my trip, no matter what their experience or stamina, seemed to have underestimated the strenuousness of this hike, and had "over-booked" the number of miles they could comfortably complete each day.) There is so much AWESOME beauty on this trail that every extra moment you can find to relax and savor the experience is like gold!

I didn't bring the entire book on my trip (save weight wherever you can!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have 3 JMT guidebooks and this one is my favorite. It is well organized and complete. I love the brief summary at the beginning of each day followed by the more detailed descriptions. There is some flora and fauna described but not to the point of total distraction that I prefer not to have when planning my trip. Also, great little maps, elevation chart and mileage chart at the beginning of each chapter. I highly recommend this book for planning a thru hike on the JMT. The guide is also very helpful for someone coming from a country other than the U.S. There are helpful hints on travel plans and etc. They did apply to me, but it seems like that would be helpful if you were not starting from the U.S.
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