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John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America's Most Famous Trail Paperback – June 3, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
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—Roleigh Martin, Backpacking Light
"The very best way to get the most out of your experience in the wilderness is to understand it, and there is no better way to do that than to carry along Elizabeth Wenk’s John Muir Trail: The essential guide to hiking America’s most famous trail. The fifth edition has just been released andto use a software analogyit’s a major upgrade."
Ray Rippel, author of the JMTbook (Planning your Thru-Hike of the John Muir Trail ebook)
From the Inside Flap
Running from Mount Whitney to Yosemite Valley in the Sierra Nevada, the 212-mile John Muir Trail passes through some of the most dramatic mountain terrain in the United States--massive granite peaks, dizzying waterfalls, pristine alpine lakes, and vibrant meadows filled with wildflowers.
Each year, thousands of backpackers traverse some or all of the trail, having relied on Sierra veteran Lizzy Wenk's John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America's Most Famous Trail, now in its 5th edition from Wilderness Press, to guide them along the way.
The definitive one-stop shop for the JMT, the new John Muir Trail has information found nowhere else. It meticulously describes the entire passage, with detailed directions for readers of all levels of familiarity, as well as UTM coordinates for important junctions, lateral trails, nearly 300 campsites, food-storage boxes, and points of interest.
Probably the most significant update to John Muir Trail, though, consists of 16 brand new, original topographic maps, created by the author, incorporated throughout the trail's 13 sections, as well as a list of 15 side trips to nearby, notable peaks. Panoramic vista point photographs label summits on the skyline as hikers make their journey.
Top Customer Reviews
In the previous edition she included information for both the popular direction (Southbound also called SOBO) and the less popular Northbound (also called NOBO). She migrated the 79 pages of information about the NOBO route to the electronic edition of the book that is forthcoming. This is because the vast majority of JMT hikers do the SOBO route because it starts at a low elevation (around 4,000 feet) versus starting at the end, Mt. Whitney, which is 14,505 feet high. Most hikers want to slowly acclimate to higher elevations, myself included. I have done the JMT Southbound 6 times now and will be doing my 7th consecutive annual JMT hike in the summer of 2014.
She has used these freed-up 79 pages to go into more depth about doing the JMT hike.
The book has new maps of the trail and now number 16 maps instead of 13. In the 4th edition, each page of a book showed one of the 13 map pages. In the 5th edition, each map page spans two book pages, so the maps are more than twice as big in the 5th edition, and they include an extra color (black/white/red vs black/white). The new maps represent the biggest improvement from the 4th edition.Read more ›
The new edition features custom-made maps showing the entire trail and all the junctions, established campsites, and other points of interest along the way. This alone is worth the price of the book. The edition also provides sketch maps for key resupply areas and descriptions of access via lateral trails. Another nice touch is that panoramic pictures from the passes are labeled with the major peaks. Just reading the book is making my feet itchy to get back on the JMT!
Note that, for brevity, the printed guide describes the trail from north to south, which is how > 90% of hikers travel today. The south-to-north description will soon be available as an e-book.
I used the previous edition while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail through the high Sierra in 2012 and learned a great deal about the botany and geology despite having years of prior experience in the Sierra. I hike light, so I cut the book apart and only carried the parts directly relevant to sections of the trail. For those who want "just the facts" with maps and distances but none of the natural history, Wenk also will soon have a JMT datebook available.
The book only contains the southbound trail description. Great for when you're planning to go SoBo, but unfortunately I'm doing the trail in the other direction! The book states that a digital version of the NoBo trail description is available, but I haven't been able to find it yet!!
Nowhere in the book description on Amazon or the publisher's website is it made clear that only the SoBo-trail description is in the book. Had that been clear, I wouldn't have waited for this updated version (however good it is) but have gone ahead and ordered the previous version.
Now that one can take a peek inside the book, it is clear that only the SoBo-description is in there. Unfortunately, at the time I ordered it, that peek was not yet available to me. I wish the publisher or Amazon had warned me about that fact.
So that explains my 3-star rating for an otherwise excellent book!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had this in the top pocket of my pack when llama-packing most of the trail. I'd often pull it out as I'd walk to check on where I might be getting to or what I might be seeing. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Craig H. Jones
My son is hiking the JMT next month and I bought a copy of this so I would be educated. I liked it so well, I had one sent to him, and he is profiting from it. too. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Susan Hicks
a little too full of descriptions of every rock and leaf. I was looking more for a logistical guide. The tables of distances is very helpful though.Published 18 days ago by Jeffrey W. Kuhnhenn
Great book, so incredibly helpful. We used this while planning our whole JMT trip this year, and it made everything so much more simple and manageable. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tamara C
Very well written, everything you need to know about the John Muir Trail.Published 5 months ago by Jerald H.