John Muir Trail Day 9 – Colby Meadow over Muir Pass to Grouse Meadow.

hiking by Wanda Lake near Muir Pass

Day: 9 | Distance: 17.9 mi | Mountain Pass: 6/10 – Muir Pass (11,955′)

Early to bed, early to rise gives you those glorious grand mountain highs.

Starting from Colby Meadow, we hit the trail early in the morning for Muir Hut on Muir Pass, and the scenery quickly captured our attention. The trail led us to a series of stunning lakes that left us in awe, starting with Evolution Lake, then Sapphire Lake, and finally Wanda Lake. Each lake was more beautiful than the last, and we couldn’t resist taking plenty of pictures to capture the moments.

hiking the trail to Muir Pass
On our way to Muir Pass, not a cloud in the sky.

However, the day was hot and cloudless, which made the hike up to Muir Pass quite challenging. The trail offered no shade, and the exposure to the sun was taking its toll on me. But the reward was worth it, and I made a final scramble to the summit, where Muir Hut offered a cool refuge from the heat. Inside Muir Hut, it was perfectly dark and cool, allowing me to rest and have a bite to eat.

Muir Hut on Muir Pass
Muir Hut provided a nice cool spot to get out of the sun

Muir Pass to Grouse Meadow

After a refreshing break at Muir Hut, the hike down from the summit was grueling, and my feet were feeling the strain. But the stunning scenery of the 12 and 13,000 foot peaks surrounding us was enough to keep us motivated. We took a break at a creek to soak our feet in the cold water, and it was a welcome relief.

As the day drew to a close, we reached camp in Grouse Meadow, only to find all the campsites were full. As a result, we had to settle for a spot in someone else’s campsite, which was a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, our camp host was gracious and didn’t seem to mind our intrusion.

descending from Muir Pass
The beginning of our descent down from Muir Pass

Overall, the journey over Muir Pass to Muir Hut and Grouse Meadow was a highlight of our JMT backpacking trip. I highly recommend it to any backpackers looking for a challenging yet rewarding adventure in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Tomorrow, we’ll hike the Golden Staircase over Mather Pass, our highest pass on the JMT so far at 12.080 feet.

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