Current JMT COVID-19 Updates: Mid May 2020

While hiking this past weekend, I met a man who gave up his PCT thru-hiking permit last month, further driving the point that many hikers’ dreams have been shattered by the pandemic. My heart goes out all those in the thru-hiking community that have been impacted by this unfortunate pandemic.

With that being said, my own thru-hike may be in jeopardy of being canceled—though I’m maintaining an optimistic attitude.

Though this information will likely become dated within the next month (let’s face it, maybe even the next day!), I’ve compiled a list of current JMT COVID-19 updates to be viewed in a singular place.

Nonetheless, I hope this post provides a one-stop-shop that’s helpful for others hoping to embark on the JMT this summer.

National Parks/Wilderness Areas

JMT COVID-19 Updates

Thousand Isle Lake. Photo by Jasper van der Meij

The JMT travels through an array of forest systems, all with their own unique guidelines. This list provides current (as of this post) information regarding each territory the JMT passes through.

Yosemite National Park

Per Yosemite’s webpage, the park is closed until further notice. However, I stumbled upon a recent article from The Fresno Bee that outlines what will and won’t be open in Yosemite upon potential reopening.

Inyo National Forest

Inyo National Forest has begun canceling reservations (wilderness permits, Mount Whitney permits) through May 31, per their Facebook page.

Sierra National Forest

The Sierra National Forest page on the Forest Service website simply advises that all developed camping is prohibited. It is allowing, however, hiking and dispersed camping at this time.

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park

The National Park Service states that Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park are closed until further notice. However, a notice at the top of the page declares that national forests are beginning to open in phases.

Shuttle Services

JMT COVID-19 Updates

Sunrise at Half Dome. Photo Shownen on Unsplash

Shuttle services provide the framework for transporting people to and from the trailhead. My own JMT itinerary relies heavily on these systems remaining in place in order to get from the airport to the trailhead and back again.

Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (ESTA)

Per the ESTA website, the Reno to Lone Pine route (and vice versa) has been reduced to operating on Monday and Thursday only, until further notice.

Yesterday, however, I sent a reservation request for the date I fly in from Reno in July (a Tuesday). To date, I haven’t heard anything back from ESTA.

ESTA also states that service to Mammoth Lakes will run as a reduced shoulder season.

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS)

Per the YARTS website, YARTS is running a modified schedule with the intention of it solely being for essential travel, until further notice.

Vague, I know!

Resupply

Many resupply options on the JMT will likely have their own twist on precautions. Here’s what we know so far.

Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR)

VVR has been incredibly active on their Facebook page, regularly posting updates as they come along. It appears they’ll be open this summer, but will have precautions in place such as social distancing and required mask wearing.

Muir Trail Ranch (MTR)

MTR has also been active on their Facebook page, though not to the extent of VVR. Their last significant post came on April 15th, in which it appears they too will be open in time for the hiking season.

Resources for General JMT COVID-19 Updates

The John Muir Trail Facebook Group

This is a tremendous resource for JMT questions, and more recently, COVID-19 updates. The moderators do a fantastic job of keeping the peace, as well as posting necessary updates regarding the trail.

Facebook Pages

Type the forest area, shuttle service, or resupply option you’re looking for and whoola! Most appear on Facebook and regularly update their page.

That’s a wrap for current JMT COVID-19 updates. Please leave any questions in the comments below. Hopefully, you found this information helpful.

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Comments 2

  • Darren : May 12th

    Good info!

    Reply
    • Chad Lubinski : May 12th

      Thanks, Darren!!

      Reply

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