John Muir Trail and Habitat Improvements in Lyell Canyon

The popular John Muir Trail / Pacific Crest Trail runs along the Tuolumne River Wild and Scenic corridor in Lyell Canyon and is one of Yosemite’s summer wilderness highlights. A variety of users access this trail, from backpackers and day hikers to stock users. Trail restoration addressed habitat impacts while enhancing the visitor experience.

This trail crosses through wetland habitat where the ground remains extremely damp into the summer months when visitor traffic is heaviest. In an attempt to avoid the mud, hikers and stock users unintentionally created numerous parallel trails that became deeply rutted over time. These ruts altered natural wetland hydrology, which impacted Yosemite toad habitat and changed plant distribution. These drainage issues also make trail maintenance challenging and unsustainable.

This project re-routed three to five locations on the John Muir Trail / Pacific Crest Trail in addition to the Peninsula Stock Camp crossing the Tuolumne River. These trail sections were moved out of sensitive wetland habitat to drier, more resilient areas that are easier for visitors to access. By restoring these vital habitats, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy views of healthy, functioning wetland ecosystems on an improved trail system. 

Together we are improving Yosemite’s trails for both visitors and wildlife.

Partnering with Yosemite National Park.

More Trail Rehabilitation & Access Projects

Project Notes

Yosemite’s trail system is an amazing gift that has been passed down from previous generations. It allows easy access to visitors and includes incredible dry-stone masonry built in the most spectacular scenery.

Dave Kari
Trails Supervisor
Yosemite National Park