Every year, thousands of hikers, horses and mules pass through the popular stretch of the John Muir Trail (JMT) along the Tuolumne River in Yosemite’s Lyell Canyon. Over time, deep ruts have formed around the trail, the result of people and animals attempting to avoid mud and water. These parallel paths fragment the fragile wetland ecosystem, altering natural water flow and damaging critical habitat for diverse plants and animals, including rare Yosemite toads and Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs.

This grant allowed park crews to continue important trail and habitat restoration along the JMT in Lyell Canyon. Building on several years of successful work in the canyon, crews rerouted another section of the JMT out of the wet meadow, and created 1,320 feet of new trail in a more elevated, well-drained part of the canyon. They also restored more than 94,500 square feet (2.2. acres) of sensitive meadow habitat, including more than 8,800 square feet of formerly rutted areas, by loosening compacted soil, reshaping the surface and replanting. Since 2012, with support from Conservancy donors, the Lyell Canyon crews have restored approximately 13 acres of meadow and built 9,245 feet of rerouted trail.

Your gifts funded another step in a successful project to improve visitor access to a stunning wilderness area while preserving an important wetland habitat. Thank you for supporting your park!

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park and Student Conservation Association.


Victoria Hartman

Wilderness Restoration Coordinator

Project Notes

Rerouting the trail out of wet meadows into better drained upland areas results in a more sustainable trail and requires less maintenance. Well-drained trails prevent further resource damage, enhance wilderness character, protect the wild and scenic river corridor, and improve visitor experience.