1000 I Lake camp via John Muir Trail

2 reviews #3 hike out of 134 in
12.4 mi
6 hrs 10 min
2,429 ft
Elev Gain


This is the JMT! Easy? Not! But the route shown is blissful trek from Devil's Postpile up to the spectacular 1000 I Lake camp in Devils Postpile National Monument.

This trail goes by Johnston Lake, Trinity Lakes, Rosalie Lake, and Ruby Lake.

It's strange to list this a single hike. I did this trail in 2020 (Yes, Covid 19 times) hiking from Silver Lake on the Rush Creek Trail to 1000 Island Lake and then continuing down to Devil's Postpile. We hiked at a leisurely pace of about 8 miles per day, and the trail shown would indeed lend itself to a 3 or 4 night backpack trip. 1000 Island lake is one of those destinations that you get tired of hearing everyone say "Have you been to 1000 Island Lake?" I was happy to check it off as I did the second half of my Dog-Friendly JMT. Once I got there, I saw what people meant. A giant lake with a complicated shoreline of coves and islands and an abundant number of places that entice you to sit, swim, or fish as is your wont. As shown here, the trail would wind up from Devil's Postpile. The first 2 miles of the trail head north on the western side of the canyon across from the amazing geology of the Devil's Postpile. The trail is a bit exposed and can be hot on an afternoon until you get into the tree-covered sections near Johnston Lake. You are in for an uphill, since the trail starts at about 7,800 feet and tops out at over 10,000 ft.

Take your time and enjoy as you climb because you'll be passing many lakes along this enchanting path. Marshy and sometimes buggy Johnston Lake is first, and then the trail ascended to the Trinity Lakes where you'll have to leave the trail to appreciate their beauty and perhaps make this you first stop after about 5 miles. Or you can continue past wonderful Gladys Lake to and climb up to Rosalie Lake at 9,400 ft which has a huge campsite located on the north end amidst the large pines. After Rosalie, the trail climbs more up to Shadow Lake which we couldn't enjoy because we were fast marching through the common afternoon thundershowers that fill the summer afternoons. (there's no campling allowed at Shadow anyway.) From Shadow, you climb up the creek of the same name until the JMT makes a right and climbs up to a 10,000 ft plateau with it's own little lakes (Clerice and Laura Lakes).

From the plateau, the trail opens out and gives you a view of Garnet Lake. The only problem with Garnet Lake is that, as beautiful as it is, you'll soon see 1000 Island Lake, and Garnet doesn't quite compare. The trail drops down to the outfall of Garnet which has a nifty footbridge for pictures and then arcs around the lake and climbs up to the divide at 10,000 ft again before dropping down into 1000 Island Lake. The trail goes up the north side of 10,000 Island Lake. Your only quandry now is "how much solitude do you want." Hike the whole 2 miles to the end of the lake and I don't doubt you could camp with no one around. But usually folks are enchanted by one of the many island, peninsulas, beachs on the way. During the semibusy Covid August, we camped and had two neighboring groups within view. We really didn't mind.

Leave yourself time to enjoy the warm rocks and the cold water. Sunsets over the right shoulder of Mt. Ritter are amazing. Also, please be gentle and LNT at the special place. It's very popular, and gets way too much use, so please pack out your toilet paper and obey rules about fires. We couldn't have a fire any of the nights in this area, and I really didn't mind.

Reverse your route to return to Devil's Postpile. Remember that the last two miles are pretty hot. Enjoy the adoring and worshipful gaze of all the dayhikers oogling your pack as they make their way 1 miles to the Post Pile or Rainbow Falls. (Maybe even go to the falls yourself, it's worth it to go for the soak after your hard hike out.)

Getting Started

The trailhead listed is the Devil's Postpile which has the only overnight parking along with nearby Rainbow Falls Trailhead. In a normal year, you are required to park outside near the lodge and take a bus to the trailhead. In the Covid year, the busses were sidelined,and parking was dear at the above two locations.

Taking Children

This is a challenging backpack trip and therefore not likely to be good for little kids. We did see families with 7 and 10 year olds robustly climbing the trail though. The area is wilderness and not national park, so it's dog friendly and we did it with 6 people and 5 dogs.

    Rate this Hike

    user_profile stars
    1 year, 9 months ago
    Beautiful trip down a section of the JMT. I wrote the above description, so enjoy.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    2 years, 3 months ago
    ★ ★

Public Tracks

grushin 4 years, 1 month ago
CA Sec H - JMT Alternate
The information presented here was produced by the Halfmile Project, a volunteer mapping and geodata effort coordinated by Lon Cooper ("Halfmile") and David Lippke ("White Jeep"). <br/><br/> HISTORY: These tracks and waypoints are derived from GPS data collected every year from 2007 through 2017 by Halfmile and over dozen other Pacific Crest Trail hikers with further input from dozens more. In 2013, four sections (CA L-O) and portions of others were recorded with survey grade GPS equipment by Tina and David Lippke. Those sections now have mean accuracies better than 0.7 meter. Also in 2013, five hikers carried GPS loggers which had been custom designed and built by Dal Brandon. In 2014, Dal, David, and Jeff Hayward worked together to design and deploy even higher capability loggers based on the uBlox NEO-7P diffential GPS receiver. Those were carried and operated by SOBO thru hikers John and Christine Haffner (aka Dirt Stew and Dormouse) and also by Lon on his NOBO thru hike. In addition to the track data, these hikers collected over 5000 geo-tagged voice notes. <br/><br/> ACCURACY METRICS: The efforts of 2013 and 2014 have resulted in the replacement of 90% of all prior data for the mainline PCT (76% overall). The mean (1-sigma) horizontal accuracy is now 1.9 meters but per section accuracy varies between 0.5 meters and 3.8 meters. State averages for horizontal accuracy are 1.2, 2.7, and 2.8 meters for California, Oregon, and Washington, respectively. The track data in this KML has been decimated using the Ramer-Douglas-Peucker algorithm with an epsilon of 0.5 meters. <br/><br/> This KML, the Halfmile maps, and trail notes apps are updated each year. The filtering, analysis, and final track determination is performed by David. The final waypoint set determination and the particulars of each point are set by Lon. On the basis of geo-tagged voice notes made by both Lon and the Haffner's in 2014, nearly 1000 new waypoints have been added and most legacy points have had both their positions and descriptions tweaked. Several hundred waypoints have been renamed and all trail mileages north of Tuolumne Meadows have been recomputed -- sections north of there no longer start and end on even half mile boundaries. <br/><br/> 2018 Track and Mileage Updates: The Sierra Buttes Realignment has replaced the mainline PCT between mile mark 1203.402 (39.601596, -120.662091) and what was mile 1207.891281 (39.650247, -120.668375). The realigned trail adds approximately 2.35 miles to the overall length. However, this length is expected to increase over the next year or two as the realignment is refined and the new track is recorded with better GPS equipment. Consequently, we have decided slightly stretch the alignment's miles and add exactly 2.5 miles to the overall trail mileage. Also note that the realigned section was recorded with basic GPS equipment that did not provide per-point accuracy information. The accuracy metrics stated above do not hold for this new section. <br/><br/> In addition to the track and mileage changes, a great many waypoints have been renamed for 2018. <br/><br/> WARNING: As a result of the major changes described above, the 2018 maps, data, and apps cannot be used with any material from prior years. Make sure everything you have is based on 2018 data .. e.g., don't try to use saved maps from prior years with this year's electronic data and apps. <br/><br/> See <a href="http://www.pctmap.net">www.pctmap.net</a> for free printable PCT maps and <a href="http://www.halfmileproject.org">HalfmileProject.org</a> for more information. This data is provided as a free service to PCT hikers. We do our best to ensure its accuracy, but it may contain errors. We assemble and distribute this information in the hope that it will be useful, but do so WITHOUT WARRANTY. Please use common sense at all times and hike safely! <br/><br/> ----- Copyright 2018 by Lon Cooper and David Lippke ----- <br/><br/>
jay.mart.09 1 year, 3 months ago
zjm92692 1 year, 10 months ago
kimberlypratten 2 years, 8 months ago
Terry 3 years, 8 months ago
kevpod 6 years, 3 months ago
JJVR 6 years, 7 months ago
JJVR 6 years, 7 months ago
dalem1959 6 years, 11 months ago
rbalch217 7 years, 3 months ago
OutsideAaron 52 years, 4 months ago