Pioineer Basin, John Muir Wilderness, CA

  Pioneer Basin

  John Muir Wilderness

Pioneer Basin, 2nd Lake

Pioneer Basin Backpacking Trip Resources

Books and Maps

Sierra South is the leading backpacking resource for backpacking in the southern Sierra. Reliable maps facilitate trip planning and are invaluable in the back country. Tom Harrison's Mono Divide High Country includes Pioneer Basin and all connecting trails.


Rock Creek Pack Station

Rock Creek Pack Station can pack you and your gear into a campsite in Pioneer Basin. If you prefer they will pack your gear to your campsite while you hike in on the trail.


Wilderness Permits

A Wilderness Permits is required for every party camping overnight in the John Muir Wilderness. Since your hike to Pioneer Basin begins in the Inyo National Forest, obtain your permit from them. There are daily quotas for the number of people admitted each day at each trailhead, so obtaining a wilderness permit reservation is recommended.

The trail to Pioneer Basin over Mono Pass is allotted 20 permits per day, 12 of which may be reserved ahead of time. The other 8 are set aside as walk-up permits, available after 11 AM the day before your departure.

Permits can be reserved from 2 days up to 6 months prior to your departure. The permit reservation costs $5 per person in your party and $10 for a transaction fee. Wilderness permit reservations are now handled by Recreation.gov, which also handles most national forest campground reservations. Obtain your permit at their website: Recreation.gov Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permits.
Arrange to pick your permit at one of these locations no later than 10 AM on day of departure (or call 1-2 weeks early to arrange late pick up):

  • Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center, Hwy. 395, 2 miles south of Lone Pine, CA
  • Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center, 2500 Main St., Mammoth Lakes, CA
  • White Mountain Ranger Station, 798 N. Main St., Bishop, CA
  • Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, Hwy. 395, North of Lee Vining, CA

You may be able to arrange to pick up your permit after hours.

Backcountry Regulations for the Pioneer Basin

Bear canisters are not required beyond Mono Pass, but they are highly recommended.
Campfires are not permitted in Pioneer Basin.
Groups are limited to a maximum of 15 people.