Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
8,664.00 ft (2,640.79 m)
Trail type
39.80 mi (64.05 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The route from South Lake to Muir Hut is a nearly 40-mile out-and-back in the Eastern Sierra. It connects the Bishop Pass Trail to the Pacific Crest Trail/John Muir Trail (PCT/JMT), turning around at Muir Pass. This is a fine, short backpacking trip or an ambitious trail run. If backpacking, be bear aware and bring a canister. See permit information below. 

Parking at South Lake is free, and there is a designated lot for overnight users. The trail skirts the northeast corner of the lake, where hikers should note the impressive rock walls holding the trail. Trail building is an art. The journey to Bishop Pass is a nearly 6-mile climb, passing a number of objectively gorgeous lakes before a push of steep switchbacks to the crest. The pass, at 11,950 ft., sits just west of Mt. Agassiz, and offers a look into the Dusy Basin below. A long, scenic descent follows, a section that you may curse on the way back up. The Le Conte Ranger Station is situated at the junction here in Le Conte Canyon, where the Bishop Pass Trail meets the PCT/JMT. Head north to begin climbing again, passing Little Pete Meadow and Big Pete Meadow along the Middle Fork of the Kings River. Muir Hut, at the top of Muir Pass (11,939 ft.), is our destination for this route, though there are endless adventures in the vicinity. Muir Hut was built by the Sierra Club in 1930, and serves both as an emergency shelter in a treeless landscape and a memorial for John Muir. The hut is situated between Wanda Lake and Helen Lake, named after Muir’s daughters.  

Hikers will pass through the John Muir Wilderness in Inyo National Forest and enter Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. Wilderness permits are required for backcountry camping, which can be found at For more information regarding advisories, weather, road conditions, campgrounds and more, check out the Inyo National Forest website at, and the Sequoia-Kings Canyon website at Practice the principles of leave no trace, and take action to defend threatened wilderness areas (

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round





Mountain vistas. Lakes and rivers. Solitude.


Mosquitoes in summer. Becoming more popular.

Trailhead Elevation

9,866.00 ft (3,007.16 m)

Highest point

11,950.00 ft (3,642.36 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Big vistas
Geologically significant
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required


Permit self-issue on site



Nearby Adventures

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.