Pet Restrictions in Effect March 15 through Labor Day
Dogs/other pets (except for service animals) are not allowed in the wilderness or on any of Fire Island's federally owned oceanfront beaches from March 15 through Labor Day to help protect threatened and endangered beach-nesting shorebirds. More »
Backcountry Camping Permit and Access Procedures
Reservations for required permits must be obtained through www.recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Watch Hill or points west, and involve a 1½ to 8 mile hike. More »
Attention Watch Hill Ferry Passengers
Due to channel conditions, delay or cancellation of ferry service between Patchogue and Watch Hill may occur. For updated ferry schedule information, please call 631-475-1665.
Wilderness Area Backcountry Camping
Reservations and Permits
Two backcountry camping zones are available within the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, the eastern and western zones. Camping is restricted to no more than 12 people at a time in the eastern zone (with a maximum group size of 4 campers/site) and no more than 24 people the western zone (with a maximum group size of 8 campers/site). See Wilderness-Backcountry Camping Zones map.
From March 15 to Labor Day (when seasonal driving restrictions are implemented), backcountry campsites may be selected on the beach in front of the eastern zone or western zone, in areas where there are no restrictions or closures (e.g., for the protection of nesting shorebirds or other protected species, or where beach conditions are not suitable).
At least one member of each camping party must be 18 years of age or older in order to obtain a backcountry camping permit.
There is a 3-night limit of stay for wilderness camping.
Choosing a Campsite
Please be aware that you and your party will need to hike on soft sand from 1 to 3 miles to reach the western camping zone, and from 4 to 5 miles to reach the eastern camping zone. This is a carry-in, carry-out area, and there is no water once you leave Watch Hill. Be prepared for ticks and mosquitoes when the weather is warm!
Bring drinking water and all necessary supplies, and carry out all garbage. Open fires are prohibited; use a backcountry stove for cooking.
If you have additional questions, call the Office of Interpretation at 631-687-4780.
Things to Know
Between Labor Day and March 14, campsites should be north of the primary dune, in a sandy area with no vegetation, and at least one mile inside the wilderness boundary.
There are limited dune crossings from the wilderness to the beach. No bicycles or other wheeled vehicles are allowed in the wilderness area.
No dogs/pets allowed March 15 - Labor Day (plover nesting season); at other times they are permitted but must be on a 6' leash at all times.
Take safety precautions for ticks and mosquitoes. Plan for quickly changing weather conditions.
Bury human waste in a hole 300 feet from water and 6" from land surface; no trenches allowed.
Leave no trace of your campsite: "Take only pictures, leave only footprints."
Did You Know?
New York's state gem—the garnet—may be found among the sands that comprise Fire Island's beaches. Due to differences in size and weight of the grains of sand, you may sometimes see ribbons of garnet and magnatite among the white quartz, as the sand settles on the beach. More...