Wilderness Permits

 

Get Your Permit

A permit is required year-round for all overnight stays in the backcountry. A wilderness permit allows the permit holder and their group to camp in a designated camp or area. A climbing permit is required for travel above 10,000 feet or on glaciers. Permits must be obtained in person at a wilderness information center or visitor center. Advance reservations are available for peak season (June-September) on Recreation.gov.

 

Reservations

Reservations are encouraged but not required. Approximately two thirds of summer season (June-September) backpacking and climbing permits are made available for advance reservation. Reservations must be made at least two days in advance of the trip start. The remaining one third of permits are issued on-site on a first-come, first-served walk-up basis and can be requested a maximum of one day before your trip start date.

Early Access Lottery

Because demand for trips on the Wonderland Trail and high-use climbing routes exceeds capacity during peak periods, an optional early-access lottery is available. This lottery limits the number of users competing simultaneously for multi-night itineraries, which allows for more complete itineraries overall.

Successful applicants are granted early access to reservations, with the earliest access offering the most options to build a complete Wonderland Trail circuit or secure permits for the most desirable dates.

Lottery participants with later access might not have access to their preferred itinerary, but can create an alternate trip using available camps.

The application period for the 2021 early access lottery was March 2 through March 14. Successful applicants were provided a date and time that their individual access window opened, falling between March 22 and April 21. Applicants were able to create a reservation at any time after their access window opened. Lottery participants were limited to making a single reservation during the early access period, but may create additional reservations after April 27.

Have questions about the early access lottery? Please review the Wilderness Permit Frequently Asked Questions.

General On-Sale

All remaining reservable inventory became available on Recreation.gov starting April 27. Camps may be reserved for dates that fall between June 1 and September 30th when there are reservable spots available.

How to Apply for a Wilderness Permit Reservation During the Summer Season

  • To plan your trip, download a copy of the Wilderness Trip Planner. Check the Wilderness Alerts page.
  • Review the Wilderness Permit Frequently Asked Questions. The Wilderness and Climbing Permits 2021 document also provides a quick comparision of the three reservation stages (early access, general on-sale, and walk-up).
  • Navigate to Recreation.gov.
  • Backpackers who are interested in completing the Wonderland Trail were encouraged to apply for the early access lottery. As of May 2021, it is unlikely that visitors will be able to create a full Wonderland Trail itinerary on a reservation basis; these itineraries have largely been booked during early access. Visitors may still be able to create a Wonderland Trail itinerary on a walk-up basis.
  • Confirmed reservations cost $26 per trip (up to 13 consecutive nights/14 days).
  • After paying the reservation fee, no additional wilderness permit fee is due, other than the Climbing Cost Recovery Fee, if applicable.
  • The permit is not effective until it is activated. See below for next steps once you have secured your reservation.
 
A rustic building built with rocks and timber framed by tall trees.
The historic Longmire Administration Building, home to the Longmire Wilderness Information Center.

NPS Photo

Activating your Permit

After you secure a reservation, the person named on the reservation must come into a ranger station to get the permit. The ranger will confirm:

  • The reservation holder's photo ID
  • An emergency contact phone number for a friend or family member not on your trip
  • The color, make, model, and license plate number of any vehicle being left overnight in the park

  • Current safety, food storage, and route information

You will then receive a printed copy of your permit and a list of permit conditions. You must carry it with you on your trip. Rangers in the field may request to verify your permit during your trip.

Please note that your reservation will be canceled by the park if you do not show up by 12:00 pm on the day your trip begins. If you will be later that 12:00 pm, 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. You can pick up your permit one day before the the day of the scheduled departure, but no sooner than one day.

 

How to Acquire a Walk-up Permit

  • Approximately one third of campsites are not reservable in advance and are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Walk-up permits can be obtained on 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 walk-up permit is by coming to a Wilderness Information Center in the park and attempting to get the permit. Permits for specific sites are subject to availability.
  • Walk-up permits cannot be issued over the phone.
  • There is a non-refundable $6 fee for all walk-up backpacking and climbing permits. Payment is accepted by credit/debit only, NO CASH.
  • Visitors attempting to obtain walk-up permits for the entire Wonderland Trail should review the Wilderness Permit Frequently Asked Questions.
 
 

Find a Ranger Station

In the summer, ranger stations where you can acquire permits and information are:

  • The Longmire Wilderness Information Center at Longmire.
  • The Paradise Wilderness Information Center (formerly the Climbing Information Center) at Paradise. Note: The Jackson Visitor Center will not process wilderness permits.
  • The White River Wilderness Information Center at the White River Entrance. During the winter, self-register at the SR410 entrance arch at the park's north boundary.
  • The Carbon River Ranger Station located 2.5 miles before the Carbon River Entrance. Note: There is no ranger station at Mowich Lake or Ipsut Creek. The closest ranger station is the Carbon River Ranger Station.

Most ranger stations are open seasonally, so make sure to check their hours of operation.

For any further questions, please call 360-569-6650.

 

Register for Permits During the Winter and Spring Season

  • During the winter and shoulder season (October-May), register for walkup backpacking permits in person at Longmire and Carbon River. For climbing, self-register in person at Paradise and White River.
  • All individual climbers must still pay the annual climbing fee (valid through January-December of the caldendar year) prior to registering for a permit.
  • Learn more about winter recreation.

Last updated: May 29, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

Phone:

(360) 569-2211

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