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My Comprehensive John Muir Trail Food And Resupply Guide

My Comprehensive John Muir Trail Gear List

See My Full John Muir Trail Guide

Putting together a daily meal plan for the John Muir Trail was one of the greater challenges for me in my preparation for the trail. I had done quite a few multi-day trips before, but this was my first sustained backpacking trip that would require me to ship resupply packages ahead. This meant no perishable foods. I’ll start by mentioning that foods and meals that are great for hiking and backpacking, tend not to be so great for living. Non perishable foods are packed with empty calories, refined sugar, preservatives, and salt. If you’re like me, and avoid these kinds of foods in your daily life, make sure to train your body to consume them on the trail. I took a month of mixing these foods into my diet before hitting the trail. I felt like Morgan Spurlock in Supersize Me. At first, I was loving the tasty packaged treats, but by the end of the JMT, I was dying for some fresh vegetables and real foods. I made the mistake of thinking I could eat the same foods everyday. Looking back, I wish I would have thrown in a little more variety.My main focus in selecting food items for the John Muir Trail was calorie replacement, carbohydrates for energy, and protein for muscle repair. I cobbled together a meal plan that offered all of these, while still trying to remain relatively light weight. Below, you’ll find my comprehensive meal plan, as well as my thoughts on what I would keep and things I will change when I walk the JMT again.


I. My JMT Food And Resupply Itinerary

II. My Daily Meal Plan And Meal Composition

III. My Cooking Setup And Bear Canister

IV. Resupply Logistics And Mailing Address Information


I. My JMT Food And Resupply Itinerary

This is my 11 day food itinerary, starting in Yosemite Valley and finishing at Whitney Portal. On Day 1, Julia and I fastpacked to Tuolumne Meadows. This allowed us to pack light with just breakfast and snacks. We ate dinner at the Tuolumne Meadows Grill. We also resupplied at the Tuolumne Meadows Post Office for the next stretch. On Days 2 and 3, we hiked from Tuolumne Meadows to Deer Creek, with a resupply and lunch stop at Red’s Meadow. I had two big burgers. From Days 4 to 6, we hiked from Deer Creek to Colby Meadow, with a resupply at Muir Trail Ranch. The stretch from MTR to Whitney Portal is a long one, so I cut back my intake a little bit to save weight. From Days 7 to 11, we hiked from Colby Meadow to Whitney Portal, and ate a celebratory lunch at the Whitney Portal Grill.

11 Day Itinerary Calories Weight
Fastpack from Yosemite Valley 1.19 lbs
1 Yosemite to Tuolumne Meadows 2060 19.00 oz
Resupply And Dinner Tuolumne Meadows 5.36 lbs
2 Tuolumne to Thousand Island Lake 4830 50.75 oz
3 Thousand Island Lake to Deer Creek 3070 34.98 oz
Resupply And Lunch Red’s Meadow 9.52 lbs
4 Deer Creek to Silver Pass Lake 4830 50.75 oz
5 Silver Pass Lake to Marie Lake 4830 50.75 oz
6 Marie Lake to Colby Meadow 4830 50.75 oz
Resupply Muir Trail Ranch 11.16 lbs
7 Colby Meadow to Grouse Meadow 4000 39.55 oz
8 Grouse Meadow to Marjorie Lake 4000 39.55 oz
9 Marjorie Lake to Kearsarge Pass 4000 39.55 oz
10 Kearsarge Pass to Guitar Lake 4000 39.55 oz
11 Guitar Lake to Whitney Portal 2490 20.30 oz

II. My Daily Meal Plan And Meal Composition

This is what my daily meal plan and meal times looked like on a full day with max intake. Being able to eat dinner at Tuolumne Meadows and lunch at Red’s Meadow saved a lot of weight. Be sure to schedule those stops into your itinerary. I also cut back on the second half of the John Muir Trail to cut weight. I did so by removing a packet of tuna at dinner, and a bag of Starburst minis for my afternoon snack.

Daily Overview

Meals Calories Carbs Protein Weight
6:00 Breakfast 480 96g 16g 4.42 oz
9:00 Snack 630 80g 22g 6.05 oz
12:00 Snack 950 191g 14g 8.53 oz
15:00 Snack 810 118g 30g 7.24 oz
17:00 Snack 450 100g 0g 5.35 oz
19:00 Dinner 1510 140g 66g 19.16 oz
Totals: 4,830 725g 148g 50.75 oz

Daily Food Item Breakdown 

6:00 Breakfast Items Calories Carbs Protein Weight
4xQuaker Instant Oats Packets  480 96g 16g 5.13 oz
2xStarbucks VIA Coffee  0 0g 0g .29 oz
Totals:  480 96g 16g 4.42 oz

My breakfast on the JMT was pretty similar to my breakfast at home. I just had to swap my plain Old Fashioned Quaker Oats for Quaker Instant Oats (reduced sugar). This breakfast works really well for me in terms of energy and digestion. I never get an GI problems or nausea with oatmeal before a hike. I ate my instant oats with cold water. This allowed me to save a lot of time and energy each morning. The one thing I would change for my next thru-hike is to empty all four instant oats packets into a sandwich bag. I’ve done this on trips since the JMT, and it helps to reduce weight. I’m also able to pour water right into the bag, which means I don’t have to clean a bowl. My morning coffee routine was on the JMT was pretty similar to home as well, with kickstart of two cups. I drank my coffee cold, just like my oats. The Starbucks VIA packets mix very well with cold water and taste pretty good. Getting 2 cups of caffeine ingested early each day really helps with my energy and digestion regularity.

9:00 Snack Items Calories Carbs Protein Weight
Probar Meal Bar Proberry Blast  360 51g 8g 3.14 oz
Jack Links Beef Jerky  50 3g 8g .87 oz
3xSlimJim Original Snack Size  120 3g 6g .87 oz
VFuel Endurance Gel  100 23g 0g 1.17 oz
Totals:  630 80g 22g 6.05 oz

On most days, Julia and I would take a break at around 9:00. I usually wasn’t too hungry after eating so much oatmeal for breakfast, so I’d start with a ProBar and eat the beef jerky while hiking. ProBars are a godsend on the JMT. It’s easy to get tired of the nonperishable processed and sugary foods you’ll bring along on the JMT. ProBars are one of the food items I never got sick of. I think it has to do with the whole ingredients and lack of overall garbage in them. The only problem is that they are very pricey, at around $3 a bar. The Jack Links and SlimJim beef jerkies were perfect for sodium replacement and protein. My final snack item was a VFuel Endurance Gel. I love VFuel gels for trail running and hiking, as they give me sustained energy without any stomach issues. Much like my breakfast, there isn’t anything I would change about my morning snack session.

12:00 Snack Items Calories Carbs Protein Weight
Poptarts Strawberry (2 Pastries) 400 74g 4g 3.98 oz
Cliffbar Blueberry Crisp  250 44g 10g 2.37 oz
Tailwind Packet w/Water  200 50g 0g 1.01 oz
VFuel Endurance Gel  100 23g 0g 1.17 oz
Totals:  950 191g 14g 8.53 oz

I didn’t actually eat a full lunch while hiking the JMT. This ended up working out for me, but next time I might try to combine my 12:00 food stop  with the 15:00 food stop for one break around 13:30.  This break is when I had my first Tailwind water mix. Tailwind Endurance Fuel mixes easily with water and provides calories, electrolytes, and hydration.

15:00 Snack Items Calories Carbs Protein Weight
2xFruit Strip Stretch Island 100 22g 0g 1.12 oz
Nature Valley Protein Bar  160 14g 10g 1.45 oz
ProBar Bite Cherry Cashew  190 28g 6g 1.66 oz
Tailwind Packet w/Water  200 50g 0g 1.01 oz
Wrapped Dry Salami  160 4g 14g 2.00 oz
Totals:  810 118g 30g 7.24 oz

Hiking the JMT in 11 days requires some high mileage hikes that go late into the afternoon. This 3:00 PM stop was critical to keeping my energy up for what was usually the final stretch of hiking to our campsite for the night.

17:00 PreDinner Snack Item Calories Carbs Protein Weight
Starburst Minis 450 100g 0g 5.35 oz
Totals:  450 100g 0g 5.35 oz

I list the Starburst Minis as my 5:00 PM snack, but I would actually snack on this bag of Starburst throughout the day and finish what I had left while setting up camp.

19:00 Dinner Items Calories Carbs Protein Weight
MountainHouse Chili Mac 230 31g 12g 4.74 oz
2xStarkist Tuna w/Olive Oil 380 1g 36g 5.85 oz
2xFlour Tortillas 240 36g 6g 3.30 oz
Peanut Butter M&Ms 660 72g 12g 5.27 oz
Totals: 1510 140g 66g 19.16 oz

This was easily my favorite meal of the day, and the only meal that Julia and I ate hot. I mixed the tuna into my MountainHouse meals while they rehydrated. It’s not the most delicious addition, but adds some much needed protein. The flour tortillas were great for dipping, and the M&Ms were a more than adequate dessert. I opted for the MountainHouse ProPak meals to save on space in my bear canister. They’re a little more expensive than the standard MountainHouse packets, but it was worth it in this case.

My Comprehensive John Muir Trail Gear List
My Food

III. My Cooking Setup And Bear Canister

I brought the BV500 bear canister on the John Muir Trail, you can read my review here. For water, I used a combination of Smartwater bottles, and the Sawyer Mini. It’s a slow a slow filtering process that requires a little effort, but the Sawyer Mini is nice and light. I used the MSR Pocket Rocket for cooking, and brought along a foil wind screen. I carried a 100g fuel canister.

Bear Canister, Water, And Cooking Weight
 BV500 Bear Canister 41 oz
 Sawyer Mini Filter 2 oz
 1L Smartwater Bottles X3 5.4 oz
 MSR Pocket Rocket 3 oz
 Snow Peak Cookset 8 oz
 MSR Fuel Canister 3.5 oz
 Totals: 3.93 lbs
My Comprehensive John Muir Trail Gear List
My Comprehensive John Muir Trail Gear List

IV. Resupply Logistics And Mailing Address Information

To get started with your resupply mailings, you can go to home depot and grab some 5 gallon paint buckets or some boxes for the shorter sections. Make sure to tape the lids down, and use a marker or tape on the sides to make your package clearly identifiable. I used a leopard print duct tape. It looked ridiculous, but made my buckets very easy to describe for retrieval. You also need to add your name and an estimated pickup date on your package.

Tuolumne Meadows Mile 24:

  • Add your name to the package
  • Address: c/o General Delivery, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
  • Add your estimated arrival time
  • No Money required

Make sure to arrive by 5:00PM to pick up your package and to eat the Tuolumne Meadows Grill. The Tuolumne Meadows store has a nice variety of food items as well and a microwave. Julia and I made our way to the Store after the Grill closed, and were able to heat up some frozen pizza!

My Comprehensive John Muir Trail Gear List
Tuolumne Meadows

Red’s Meadow Mile 60:

Reference this PDF for Red’s Meadow. 

  • Add your name to the package
  • Mail by USPS only
  • Address:Red’s Meadow Resort, P.O. Box 395, Mammoth Lakes, CA  93546
  • Add your estimated arrival time
  • Mail PDF with $40.00
  • Send 14 days before arrival

Packages can be picked up at the Red’s Meadow Store from 7AM to 7PM. There is the Mule House Cafe right next door, which has a lot of great food on the menu.

My Comprehensive John Muir Trail Gear List
Red’s Meadow

Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR) Mile 88:

Reference the VVR website for more

  • Add your name to the package
  • Mail by UPS only
  • Address: Vermilion Valley Resort, c/o Rancheria Garage, 62311 Huntington Lake Road, Lakeshore, Ca. 93634
  • Add your estimated arrival time
  • $25.00 June to September
  • Send 14 Days before arrival

VVR is a little bit off trail, which is the reason I did not plan on using it. The other reason is that it’s in between Red’s and MTR, making it a bit unnecessary. This resupply is located on Lake Edison and requires a boat shuttle or a 4.5 mile hike. Much like Red’s and Tuolumne, food can be purchased at their store, and hot food can be had at their restaurant.

Muir Trail Ranch Mile 108:

Reference the MTR resupply website for more and view their Info Page

Muir Trail Ranch is a nice resupply option that is only a short detour off trail, and the final “on trail” resupply option. MTR has a very small store and only offers food to those staying the night.

  • Add your name to the package
  • Mail by USPS preferred
  • Address: Muir Trail Ranch, P.O. Box 176, Lakeshore, CA 93634
  • Add your estimated arrival time
  • $75.00 up to 25lbs Pay Here
  • Send 21 days before arrival
My Comprehensive John Muir Trail Gear List
Muir Trail Ranch

Independence Onion Valley Mile 180:

If the 100 mile back half of the JMT from MTR to Whitney Portal is too far and you plan on hiking slower, you can exit via Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley. You’ll need to catch a ride down to Independence to make this one happen, but it’s a nice option to help break up that final stretch.


I'm Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

14 comments on “My Comprehensive John Muir Trail Food And Resupply Guide

  1. Mike Hohmann

    Great info.. I especially liked the detailed re-supply logistics. How was the gas stove at higher elevations? I usually carry liquid-fueled stove in higher elevations if cold temps are expected… just wondering. Great post! Thx.

    • Thanks, Mike. The gas stove was pretty good at elevation. Not as good as my Jetboil Flash, but we didn’t have any issues getting water boiled above 9000ft. We didn’t have a lot of wind though, so that was a blessing. We did get a few nights right around freezing though.

  2. Amazing info! Thank you!

  3. Wow … Quite a bit of amazing information here! Great post.

  4. “you can go to home depot and grab some 5 gallon paint buckets or some boxes for the shorter sections”

    You can mail the big orange Home Depot buckets?

  5. Chris Bradley

    Hi Drew, here is another resupply option for the Kearsarge Pass-to Onion Valley-to Independence. It’s not cheap but does cost less than a pack train resupply AND they’ll wash your clothes! Check it out: http://mtwilliamsonmotel.com/resupply/
    Chris

  6. langejorstad

    Thanks for the heads up on how many days in advance to mail resupplies to the various places. Do you know how international visitors normally handle this? I’m coming from Australia and may only be there a week or less before starting my walk. Do people mail in resupplies from overseas? Seems impractical, but I’m not sure what the alternative is… would be grateful for any advice!

    • I’ve only read a few accounts on international resupply options. Tuolumne and Red’s Meadow are easy, as you can hand deliver your packages if you have enough time. This would allow you to put a resupply package together in the States or travel with one. As for MTR, I’m not sure what the best option for that would be.

    • I’m planning on doing the JMT hike this year and am also travelling from Australia. Muir Trail Ranch website had a link to Zero Day Resupply. It’s a website that handles resupplying for you. My intention is to utilise this service for resupplying on the JMT.

    • For international travelers, check out Zero Day… https://zerodayresupply.com/

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