John Muir Trail - Menu

My JMT menu planning wasn’t the most meticulous or creative but I spent a lot of time looking to maximize calories/weight, include foods to help repair tired muscles, and provide some variety for the 3-week trip. This was my first time making a meal plan with the goal of maximizing my calorie intake, so that was fun! Longer term I plan to put together a more ideal backpacking menu with other solutions, but this is what worked for me on the JMT.

>> Click here for my JMT trip summary page

Things I liked:

Things I would change:

The list below covers a majority of what I ate on the JMT, including brands and how I packed the foods. Total calories and calories per ounce are approximate and averages for various brands. Portions listed are for one person, although some foods were packaged with several servings.


Each morning we boiled a pot of water for oatmeal and coffee. It was nice to have a hot meal to start off the day, although it was a bit time consuming. We also prepared an electrolyte drink mix for the day.

Average calories per breakfast: 200


We took lunch breaks after the first few hours of hiking when we found a good scenic spot. We intentionally chose foods that did not require cooking to speed things up. We had one of the following and supplemented with snacks from the next list below

Average calories per lunch: 460


We took quick snack breaks in the morning and afternoon. I typically had 2 bars per day and a couple extra snacks.

Average calories for snacks (daily): 1000


Immediately after reaching camp I mixed up a recovery drink to help my aching muscles. We boiled water to make simple dehydrated dinners and sides like mashed potatoes and hot chocolate. We packed extra tortillas for additional sides with dinner. For days immediately after resupplies we usually had a mini wine bottle as a post-dinner treat.

Average calories per dinner: 870

Average calories per day: 2500

Supplemental foods

Extra food that I wasn't expecting along the trail:

Top Foods

My favorite foods from the whole trip:

What is your favorite food to take on the trail? Comment below!