John Muir Trail: Camping at Thousand Island Lake
Yosemite › Thousand Island Lake
Added by Kristen Bor
Thousand Island Lake is an iconic and historic JMT location. This campsite is located at mile 42 of the John Muir Trail.
This is one of the most recogizable lakes on the John Muir Trail and is known for being one of Ansel Adams' favorite places to photograph. Banner and Ritter Peaks tower over the tree covered islands and make for incredible scenery. This is a good spot to spend the day eating lunch and swimming out to the islands so if you can, plan on arriving earlier in the day to snag a campsite and enjoy all that the lake has to offer.
Because Thousand Island Lake is so iconic and well known it can be crowded. If you can't find a suitable campsite here, head south to Ruby Lake which has great campsites, too.
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Worth the Trek
Thousand Island is a must see for all avid backpackers or general nature lovers in California. Be aware that the lake is very much a secluded spot and has no easy/short way in or out. But for those who have the drive and physical ability, you will be rewarded with amazing views of the Sierras.
The Queen Of Alpine Lakes
I first day hiked here in 1971 from our base camp at Shadow Creek. TIL makes for a great day trip or overnight camping if you are passing through. If you are a novice backpacker this area is ideal for day hikes. Reds/Agnew meadows is your parking and/or pack operator. It is now in the third generation family owned. You can have them pack in your heavy equipment for week long base camps as we did or you can have them do everything including supplying a cook and your horses. Once you have experienced the beauty and grandeur of this area, you will be hooked on the Sierras the rest of your life.
Great Fishing as Well!
This lake is one of the most picturesque campsite in the Sierras! Not only does it offer great photo opportunities, but great trout fishing as well! I plan to camp at Thousand Island Lake every summer. If you pack in a fishing pole and a water filter, you can leave food and water behind. Your back will thank you later!
More Adventures Nearby
Backpack to Big Bird Lake & Moose Lake
Yosemite / Alta Peak Trailhead
This trip requires a wilderness permit. You can get one at the Lodgepole Visitor Center where you can also rent a bear canister or use the bathroom before heading out.
Backpack to Vogelsang and Merced Lake High Sierra Camps
Yosemite / Lyell Canyon Trailhead
If you love the idea of backpacking to remote mountain destinations, but shudder at the thought of carrying a heavy pack and digging a hole to poop in, the High Sierra Camps are a great option.