When Is a Backcountry Permit Required?
Note: Permits are not required for day use or for camping in car-accessed campgrounds along State Route 20 or at the drive-in campground at Hozomeen. Parking passes (required at USFS trailheads) do not substitute for a backcountry permit.
What Is the Cost? There is no cost for a backcountry permit. The primary objective of the permit system is to better manage the backcountry and prevent overcrowding and resource damage.
How to Get Your Backcountry Permit
There are no backcountry permit reservations! Backcountry permits are issued:
Where to Obtain a Permit
For driving directions and current hours for all National Park Service ranger stations, click here. If you have any questions about obtaining a permit, please call the Wilderness Information Center at 360-854-7245.
Winter Permits: Backcountry permits are required year round. When the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount is closed, a self-issue permit station is available at an outside kiosk, and is accessible at any time, or permits may be obtained in Sedro Woolley (winter only). Ranger station hours are listed here.
Permits Are Limited
To protect the wilderness and visitors’ experiences, the number of permits issued for each area is limited. Popular areas such as around Cascade Pass, along Ross Lake, on Copper Ridge, and at Thornton and Monogram Lakes can be very busy during the height of summer, and permits can fill quickly. The busiest climbing areas are: Sulphide Glacier, Boston Basin, and Eldorado cross-country zones. To maximize your chance of obtaining a permit and finding solitude, visit these areas midweek or after Labor Day, and have a backup itinerary or climb in mind if your first-choice area is already full. Ask a ranger for less busy alternative areas to visit. There is always somewhere to go.
Why do I need a permit?
Backcountry permits protect your wilderness experience by preventing overcrowding at camps or climbing routes, and protecting natural resources so that all visitors, including future generations, can enjoy them. Permits also serve an important safety function in the event of an emergency or wildfire, and allow managers to gather data important for decision making.