John Muir Wilderness

Little Lakes Valley

The John Muir Wilderness stretches for 100 miles along the crest of the Sierra. It is a land of lofty snow-capped mountains, deep canyons and vast expanses of glacially carved terrain. The John Muir Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1964. It covers 650,000 acres. The wilderness was named in honor of John Muir, who once described himself as a "self-styled poetico-tramp-geologist-bot. and ornith-natural, etc.!!!” Muir spent his life advocating for the protection of the wild parts of the Sierra Nevada.

Inyo National Forest and Sierra National Forest share management responsibility for the John Muir Wilderness. Approximately 299,000 Acres (46%) of the its 650,000 acres is managed by INF. It is contiguous with Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Golden Trout Wilderness and several other wilderness areas. Together, they constitute one of the largest roadless areas in the lower 48 states.

The John Muir Wilderness is very heavily used. Approximately 30 million people live within a few hours’ drive. Access routes to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, as well as the iconic John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails, pass through it. High levels of use and the flux of visitors across jurisdictional boundaries require that visitors to adhere to high standards of conduct. Before visiting, familiarize yourselves with jurisdictional boundaries, regulations and appropriate Leave No Trace practices.

At a Glance

Permit Info:
  • Wilderness permits are required for all overnight use, and for all day use in the Mt. Whitney Zone.
  • From May 1 through November 1, use is regulated by limited entry quotas.
  • Permits are reserved online at
  • Wilderness Regulations
Closest Towns:
  • Mammoth Lakes, CA (full service, hospital)
  • Bishop, CA (full service, airport, hospital)
  • Big Pine, CA (gas, food, lodging)
  • Independence, CA (gas, food, lodging)
  • Lone Pine, CA (full service, hospital)
Information Center:

General Information

General Notes:


  • USDA Forest Service: A Guide to the John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness

To purchase maps and guidebooks go to