John Muir Trail Day 2 – Little Yosemite Valley to Sunrise Lakes. 8.6 mile acclimation hike.

Hiking the John Muir Trail

We have another lazy start this morning, leaving Little Yosemite Valley for Sunrise Lakes Campground at around 9:00 am. Most of the trail today takes us along a wandering path through a forest that was devastated by a wildfire back in 2013. Blackened and charred trees dot the hillsides.

New growth is beginning to show, but it will be years before the forest in this area makes a full recovery.

Hiking the John Muir Trail
Charred trees are all that remain on this section of trail

Around Sunset Lakes Campground the forest and meadows are in good health. The views here are just as beautiful as I remember from the last time I hiked this section of the trail through Yosemite. The campground is full, but we manage to find a nice spot with a fire ring and plenty of space for all of us overlooking the meadow.

Hiking the John Muir Trail

Entering the meadow near Sunset Lakes CampgroundDon makes his usual rounds through the campground, introducing himself to our neighboring campers. He invites Elijawa, a JMT thru-hiker who is one day out from finishing his 23 day trek, over to our camp. He shares stories from his adventure and fields all of our questions while enjoying the warmth of our campfire.

Hiking the John Muir Trail
Elijawa (left) is near the end of his John Muir Trail thru-hike

Across the meadow, a full moon rises from behind the mountains. The sky turns to a magical mix of blue and purple before giving way to darkness.

Hiking the John Muir Trail
Full moon rising over the meadow

The tent I’ve chosen for this tip has to be staked, but there are no sites available where I can get a stake into the ground, so I set up cowboy style on a boulder overlooking the meadow and sleep under the stars.

Hiking the John Muir Trail
Cowboy camping above Sunset Lakes meadows

My meal plan for the day once again included Oatmeal with milk and blueberries for breakfast. For dinner, I switched it up with Pesto Parmesan noodles along with some green tea to wash it down.


Robb Keele

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