Wilderness Permits

Backpackers hike along a trail through subalpine meadows.

NPS/Kevin Bacher


Get Your Permit
A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the wilderness of Mount Rainier National Park. Please Note: Those wishing to climb above 10,000 feet or onto any glaciers must purchase a Climbing Pass. Climbers who wish to camp overnight must also get a Wilderness Permit in order to reserve a camp site.

If you would like to camp in Mount Rainier's wilderness you will need a wilderness permit. It is recommended that you make a reservation to secure a permit. Your wilderness permit reserves you a specific wilderness camping site for the night you want to stay. Mount Rainier National Park has thousands of visitors during the peak summer months and backcountry camping sites can fill up quickly. About 70 percent of the available wilderness permits can be reserved while the remaining 30 percent are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

How to Reserve a Wilderness Permit

First, download and complete the Wilderness Reservation Request Form.

  • PLEASE READ: Critical Tips for Getting a Wilderness Reservation
  • The park starts accepting reservation requests on March 15th each year.
  • We do not accept reservations for trips starting after September 30. If your hike or climb starts after September 30, you must show up in the park in person and attempt to acquire a first-come, first-served permit.
  • Reservation requests can be made by fax, letter, or in person (after it opens to the public in late May) at the Longmire Wilderness Information Center only. No other Ranger Station in the park is set up to accept and process reservations. We do not accept reservation requests by telephone. Fax number and mailing address are listed on the Wilderness Reservation Request Form.
  • If you are filling out the Reservation Request Form by hand, please use black ink only. Other colors often do not fax clearly. When this happens we cannot process your request until we are able to contact you and sort out the problem in question. In the meantime we move onto the next reservation request while yours sits in a folder waiting.
  • Park rangers will begin processing reservation requests on April 1. All requests received between March 15 and April 1 will be processed in random order. Requests arriving April 1 and after will be processed in the order in which they were received.
  • Please do not fax and mail your reservation form. Choose only one method. Doing both creates problems when processing your reservation.

Requests received in March, April and May could take up to six weeks to process because of the large number of applications. During this initial two week period (March 15-31) the park will receive around 1,400 or more reservation requests. Each one is processed by hand with usually only 2 rangers assigned to this duty. It will be well into May before this initial batch of reservation requests are completed. This means you may not get a reply from the park for some weeks, depending on when your request is processed. As the season goes on and the initial pile of requests are whittled down, the park is able to process and reply to reservation requests in 1-2 days.

If your reservation request is successfully processed you will receive a confirmation letter that shows your itinerary. Please note that this confirmation letter is NOT your permit. You must come into a Ranger Station to get your permit. If we are not able to process your reservation request you will receive a letter stating why, and what your options are. If we cannot book a reservation for you, you will not be charged a reservation fee.

The historic Longmire Administration Building, home to the Longmire Wilderness Information Center.

The historic Longmire Administration Building, home to the Longmire Wilderness Information Center.

NPS Photo

What you need to pick up your permit
When the day arrives for you to come into a Ranger Station to get your permit, be sure to have the following information:

  • An emergency contact phone number
  • The license plate number of any vehicle being left overnight in the park
  • The make, model, and color of the vehicle

Also, please note that your reservations will be canceled by the park if you do not show up by 10:00 a.m. on the day your trip begins. If you will be later than 10:00 a.m. you need to let the park know in advance. Once canceled, the camps you had reserved become part of the first-come, first-served pool of permits that other hikers will have the opportunity to use.


Wilderness Permit Reservation Fee

  • Reservations cost $20 per party (1-12 people) per trip (up to 14 consecutive nights). Reservation fees are non-refundable.
  • The park accepts VISA, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS and DISCOVER credit cards.
  • One change may be made to a Wilderness Camping Reservation after it is confirmed at no additional fee, provided the change can be accommodated by the park. Each subsequent change requires an additional charge of $20.

How to Acquire a First-come, First-served Permit
The park saves approximately 30 percent of available wilderness permits to be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • These permits can be issued the same day your trip starts, or up to one day before your trip starts, but no sooner than one day.
  • The only way to acquire a first-come, first-served permit is by coming to any Ranger Station in the park and attempting to get the permit, which is subject to availability.
  • Remember to bring:
    • An emergency contact phone number
    • The license plate number of any vehicle being left behind in the park
    • The make, model, and color of the vehicle
  • First-come, first-served permits cannot be issued over the phone.
  • There is no fee for a first-come, first-served permit.

The first-come, first-served permit was not available when I tried to get it.

I want to get a first-come, first-served permit for Summerland on July 15, but when I get to the Ranger Station they tell me there are no more permits for that night. How is this possible?

Scenario 1: Other parties may have gotten the permits before you that very same day (or one day before) from any Ranger Station in the park.

Scenario 2: Let's say you want Summerland on the night of July 15. You show up at a Ranger Station that has the earliest opening hours only to find the permits are gone. How is this possible?

A party may have come into the Ranger Station on July 13 to get a first-come, first-served permit to do a four day hike. Their permit looks like this:

July 13 Sunrise Camp
July 14 Glacier Basin Camp
July 15 Summerland Camp
July 16 Indian Bar

Summerland Camp has been obtained by this party for the night of July 15, the same night you are attempting to get that campsite.

The Wonderland Trail winding through old-growth forest near Box Canyon.

NPS/Daniel Keebler


Find a Ranger Station

In the summer, Ranger Stations where you can acquire permits are:

  • The Longmire Wilderness Information Center at Longmire
  • The Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise
  • The White River Wilderness Information Center at the White River Entrance
  • The Carbon River Ranger Station located 2.5 miles before the Carbon River Entrance
    Note: There is no Ranger Station at Mowich Lake. The closest Ranger Station is the Carbon River Ranger Station.

In the winter, permits are available at the Longmire Information Center every day and the Jackson Visitor Center on weekends. Self-registration is available at the Carbon River Ranger Station, Ohanapecosh Ranger Station, and at the Highway 410 entrance arch at the park's north boundary. Learn more about winter camping.

Most Ranger Stations are open seasonally, so make sure to check their hours of operation.

Did You Know?