Every year, thousands of hikers, horses and mules tread the 9-mile stretch of the John Muir Trail (JMT) that passes through Yosemite’s Lyell Canyon. As people and animals step off the trail to avoid mud and water, they inadvertently create ruts in the surrounding meadow, fragmenting critical habitat that supports diverse plants and animals, including rare Yosemite toads and Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs.

Thanks to Conservancy donors, crews have been able to undertake major restoration work in Lyell Canyon to protect the wetland ecosystem and improve the JMT hiking experience. In 2018, building on recent progress in the canyon, crews continued to reroute the trail out of wet areas, and restored the meadow by removing ruts, loosening soil and planting new vegetation. By the end of the season, they had built approximately 936 feet of rerouted trail tread, restored 1.3 acres of meadow habitat and enhanced 10.7 acres of the Tuolumne River watershed.

Your support helped park crews enhance visitor access to a stunning wilderness area and preserve important subalpine meadow habitat.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park.

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.