Skip to content

Muir Pass (11,955 feet)

Muir Pass, named after John Muir, of course, is one of several passes that we crossed that measured near 12,000 feet.  This part of the Sierras has some of the most stunning and remote mountain vistas, scores of alpine lakes, and deep canyons.  At the top is a bungalow!  In the photo to the left, one sees a view from my camping spot on the shore of Wanda Lake and looking across Wanda Lake.

Looking back from the summit of Muir Pass to Wanda Lake where I had camped the night before. It may be a mile or so away.

The Muir pass is located at the center of the photo where there is a dip or saddle. The trail circled to the left and around the lake. Wanda Lake in the foreground was named for one of John Muir’s daughters. On the other side of the pass is Helen Lake, named after his second daughter.

The John Muir Rest Hut and the backpack I carried for 21 days.

From the Sierra Club Bulletin Feb 1931: “Through the generosity of the late George Frederick Schwarz, the Sierra Club was enabled during the season of 1930 to construct a shelter hut on the summit of Muir Pass. This unique structure is built entirely of stone, including the conical roof. The design, by Henry H. Gutterson, San Francisco architect, follows a type of construction much used in the province of Apulia in the heel of Italy. It was first introduced into the United States through the Agnes Vaille Memorial, on Longs Peak, Colorado by Arthur A. Fisher, architect, of Denver. Mr. Fisher contributed the results of his experience through correspondence with Walter L. Huber, who acted for the Sierra Club in connection with the design of the shelter and organized the construction program.”

It is hard to picture fully the hardships experienced by the workmen. The shelter stands squarely on the summit of Muir Pass, between the watersheds of the Kings and the San Joaquin Rivers, at an elevation of 12,059 feet. Since it is several miles above all timber, fuel as well as building materials had to packed to the site on mules. All sand for mortar was packed nine miles, and during the last of the season even water had to be packed two and one-half miles. The trip from the end of the last road took four days, and much of the time an alternate trip had to be made between each regular trip of the pack train to bring fuel up from the nearest timber supply. It is then not surprising that the packing cost exceeded all other costs.”

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jim #

    A fascinating story and gorgeous views…thanks for sharing this!


  2. Thanks, Jim. It was a challenging trip, the longest hike I have ever tried, and the most difficult to organize. I had planned well enough that I had no food left, none, when I walked out. That is the way it is suppose to happen. I felt a bit proud afterward.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: