John Muir Trail: Camping at Thousand Island Lake

Thousand Island Lake, Madera County, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Backpacking

  • Skill Level:

    Advanced

  • Season:

    Summer

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Swimming Hole

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.

Find out everything you need to know about your John Muir Trip at Bearfoot Theory.

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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.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This lake is so close to Garnet it's a toss up on which one has better views. Numerous spots to choose from to camp and the sunrise and sunset's are nothing short of spectacular.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

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.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

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!

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Hands down my favorite spot to camp in the Sierras. Huge alpine lake, ridiculous mountain backdrop, great camping spots...what more could you want?

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Kristen Bor

www.bearfoottheory.com - outdoor adventure for the everyday explorer

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