John Muir Trail: Camping at Thousand Island Lake

Thousand Island Lake

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.

Pack List

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Activities Backpacking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Summer
Features
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Swimming Hole

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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.

Perfect Spot

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.

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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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