A wilderness permit is required for backpacking when camping in John Muir Wilderness. California Campfire Permits are required for both campfires and stove use. A bear canister is required for food storage while backpacking.
Western access via one of the entry points for Rainbow Pack Station Trail #31E04
, either near South Lake or Parchers Resort or Tyee Lakes Trail
and run up to the signed junction. (It is also popular to run along a buried pipeline, however this is not a trail and should not be expected to run like a trail.) The trail immediately starts climbing 1000 feet before flattening out into the first lake basin. It passes by Bluff Lake, Brown Lake, and then Green Lake after a short additional climb. Green Lake is a popular camping area. Another climb gets to a high plateau of a ridge, the high point of the trail, and the John Muir Wilderness boundary. Look for columbines on the ridge in the early summer.
Peak baggers with an eye for Vagabond and Cloudripper often do so via the trail taking off near Green Lake or the wide ridge.
From the ridge, the trail descends steeply. Thunder and Lightning Lake is accessible via a use trail, but has no real camp sites. Trail passes close to a tarn and then arrives at Baker Lake and Hidden Lake. A short descent leaves the Wilderness and brings it to the dirt 4x4 road 7S10. Another short segment of trail connects with Baker Lakes Trail