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12392RE: [John Muir Trail] Camping spots between YV and TM

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  • robert shattuck
    Feb 4, 2011
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      "My plan is to hike the YV to TM section in about 2.5 days" 

       That's about exact speed/time that I used to do for the first seven or so . . . I always just started in the morning and just stopped once I got to LYV. Short, sweet, day meant for saying hello to your future trail partners and your body––if you're fresh on the trail and not quite acclimated, that first day can say hello rather quickly (this was also before I cut my pack weight in half)  but if you're experienced and want the miles, LYV is a short day if you hit the trail at dawn. 

      Maybe fifteen minutes past the HD junction the vistas open up on your right and there are lots of places there to camp. NO WATER, but great views and if you walk off the trail there and plop yourself down, no one will know you're there. 

      Once you get past the HD junction there are perhaps 2-4 stream crossings, or rather, water sources as they don't require pulling out your water socks, or sandals or whatever you brought to cross streams––but they're fine spots to fill up on water and I would drink and fill at every opportunity as it seems that the water isn't there every summer, at other than two spots . . . last year the other crossings were dry and . . . 

      . . . if you're banging out the miles (though few they may actually be) and looking to get to sunrise, you might think about camping just short of there. Once you get up all the hot switch-backs and the trail levels out before the descent down into Sunrise, you're walking across this great, flat, stretch and there are any number of places you can camp up here, although it looks as though no one ever does. There's no water, so you have to know to bring it up. 

      I imagine most people just get Sunrise Camp in their head and that's where they're gonna go––it's another 20-30 minutes down the hill––but if you have water and want absolute peace and quiet without having to squeeze into one of the spots at Sunrise, then I'd spend the night up here. Lovely views, total silence (nothing like listening to the LOUD STAFF at the HSC there at Sunrise) and also, as I've said before the bears all seem to want to do their dining and late night wandering down in Sunrise Camp, but I've never heard a peep from anything up top. 

      BONUS SPOT: if you don't want to stay up top and you don't want to hit Sunrise, then keep your eyes open . . . last year as I headed down from the top, I stopped at one spot where the view just opened up and I had to take a picture. I jumped up on a rocky crop about ten feet off the right side of the trail and when I looked down, there was a gorgeous camp spot in the rocks, on a ledge . . . just big enough for a tent and some sunset lounging––this is where I am headed this year. 

      As for anything between Sunrise or Cathedral, I am sure there are some sweet spots, but by then, I can smell the burgers and beer down in TM and there's no stopping for me. 


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