Tuolumne Meadows Yosemite to Mammoth Lakes on John Muir Trail

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Distance 30 Miles one way.
Day 1 Tuolumne Meadows along Lyell Creek to Ireland Creek Fork
Day 2 Hike to Foot Bridge
Day 3 Hike over Donohue Pass to Rush Creek
Day 4 Hike to Island Pass
Day 5 Hike to Garnet Lake
Day 6 Hike to Agnew Meadow Mammoth via River Trail
Trail Head / Directions Make reservations in advance to take YARTS Bus from Mammoth Mountain Inn to Tuolumne Meadows. Park you car in "Back Country Parking" leave you key at the MMI front desk. The bus trip is about 1.5 hrs. You will need to pull your wilderness permit at Tuolumne Meadows (they would not let me pull my permit in Mammoth). Walk out at Agnew Meadows take a shuttle bus back to MMI.  When you walk out you will pass the Pack Station. We hitched a ride with some pack station guys and gave them $20 for their trouble.
Group Danny age 43 and Brian age 11
Fishing Good along upper Lyell Creek between Ireland Cr. and Kuna Creek; Good 1/4 mi above foot bridge; Good Rush Creek area; Excellent Garnet Lake (Large Fish);
Water Plenty
Crowds Moderate but friendly
Mosquito Factor Very Light. August 22 Good time of year to go. Would do it again.
Other trail tips
  • Foot Bridge Excellent campsite with fishing of Lyell Creek between foot bridge and Lake before Donohue Pass. Go 1/8 mile South of the Foot Bridge. Look for two large rocks on either side of trail with flat granite off to your right. May see some sort of deer trail. Look for a large dead tree with the top broken off with a tree trunk that acts as a bridge to cross the creek. The side is near the fork of the Maclure Creek and the Lyell Creek. Some falls and some pool. We used the spinners above. Small but tasty trout.
  • Rush Creek Campsite - Off JMT About 1/2 mile north of the Waugh Lake fork. Go past flat area with bluff dry campsite overlooking the Creek then JMT will start descending  just before the decent you will see a rain cut train that heads left follow this trail left along the bank until you see the creek and a large fallen tree. This tree marks the site. We used spinners very small trout.
  • Island Pass - Stay here. No fish in the lake but no people and great view 2 small lakes.
  • Garnet Lake - Limited camp sites here with quite a few people. We sayed on NE side of lake near trail. The best spot is on the SE side of the lake. From the North cross the foot Bridge and follow the train along the Lakes edge towards Shadow Lake. Break off the trail to the Lakes edge. Look for a green meadow area hear he Lakes edge near the narrowest part of NE part of lake. This is on the east side of the lake. My son caught 2 14-15 in. Trout on the point  on the north side of the Lake, just off the trail.
Bears From Lyell to Rush you will have Bears. You will need bear canisters.

Pictures of our 6 day Trip Summer 2003

Day 1 Lyell Creek
Frost on the ground morning of Day 2
Day 2 - 1 mile before Foot Bridge.
Day 3 Lake before Donohue Pass
Day 3 Small Lake Before Rush Creek
Day 3 - Fall next to our camp site. Some fish in here.
Day 4 - Island Pass Lake
Day 4 - Our Camp at Island Pass
Day 4 - Island Pass looking back on where we came from.
Day 5 - Ruby Lake. Fishing not so good.
Day 5 - View of Thousand Island Lake
Day 5 - Fishing at Garnet Lake. This was on 2 lb test. We had mac & cheese on the menu until Brian pulled this one in. He caught 2 like this. North East side of lake using a Super Duper.
Day 6 - Foot Bridge at Garnet Lake bound for River Trail to Agnew Meadows.