The Park’s permitting process has changed for the 2020 season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instructions for acquiring a permit are detailed below.
Awilderness permit is required for all overnight camping and climbingin the wilderness of Mount Rainier National Park. Start planning your wilderness trip using the Wilderness Trip Planner. NOTE:The wilderness trip planner has not been updated to reflect changes in response to COVID-19 restrictions.
The traditional advance reservation period started on March 15 and was closed on May 22. Reservation requests opened again in mid-June. Permit requests will not be accepted after October 10, and all permits after that date will be at self-registration stations.
Self-Register for Permits During the Winter Season
During the winter season, October 2020-April 2021, self-register outside the Wilderness Information Centers (WIC) at Longmire, Paradise, White River, and Carbon River.
Rangers can assist with self-registration Mon-Thurs, 9 am - 4 pm, on the porch of the Longmire Museum. Rangers cannot assist at the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise.
CLIMBING: Self-registration is outside the Longmire WIC or the Old Paradise Ranger Station. All climbers must still pay the annual climbing fee (valid through January-December of the caldendar year).
How to Apply for a Wilderness Permit Reservation During the Summer Season
Permit reservation requests are now CLOSED for the 2020 season. Backpackers who are interested in the Wonderland Trail are encouraged to apply for the 2021 lottery in the winter of 2021. Look for the reservation request form to go live on March 15.
The traditional advance reservation period starts on March 15 and in 2020 closed on May 22 (closure date can vary depending on the number of requests). Reservation requests opened again in mid-June. Due to the large volume of reservation requests, once the traditional advance registration period closes requests must be made at least one week (7 days) in advance of the desired trip start date and no more than one month (31) days in advance of the desired trip start date. Requests submitted outside of this window will not be reviewed. In 2020, there was no walk-up availability.The park will not accept requests by standard mail, fax, or other delivery methods.
Permit requests were only accepted through the online reservation application form through October 3 with October 10 being the last reserveable date. Trips starting after October 10 will be by self-registration only. Backpackers can self-register outside the Wilderness Information Centers at Longmire, Paradise, White River, and Carbon River.
Park rangers will review and approve or deny submitted requests within 2-4 days, and send a confirmation of your itinerary if your reservation was approved. Instructions for fee payment and permit activation will be included with your reservation confirmation email. If you recieve a rejection notice, it is most likely because the sites on your requested itinerary were already full for the dates you requested.
Confirmed reservations cost $20 per trip (up to 14 consecutive nights). After a reservation is confirmed,applicants must pay the non-refundable application fee and obtain a confirmation code no more than 48 hours after their reservation is confirmed, or the reservation will be canceled. Payments are made online through a secure government portal at Pay.gov. Process for paying the application fee:
Submit your reservation fee once you receive a confirmation letter. The confirmation letter will have a payment link within your reservation confirmation letter.
All payments are non-refundable. Each Pay.gov Tracking ID can be used only once. Your trip will be denied if a duplicate ID has been used.
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 paid for your reservation.
Activating your Permit
Once your permit request is successfully processed you will be contacted by a ranger up to one week before the start of you trip in order to activate and issue your permit. The ranger will confirm:
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 an email with a printable copy of your permit and a list of permit conditions. Print the permit at home and carry it with you on your trip. Rangers in the field may request to verify your permit during your trip.
First-come, First-served "Walk Up" Permits are not currently available
Some park facilities are currently closed because of public health concerns. The park will engage in a phased reopening. The possibility remains that the burden of disease could increase or more restrictive guidelines could be implemented. For 2020 only, in order to make the permitting process more predictable and accessible, all wilderness camping and climbing permits will be obtained in advance. “Walk-up” permits will not be issued at the Wilderness Information Centers, visitor centers, or ranger stations, until it is safe and reasonable to do so.
Find a Ranger Station
Ranger stations are currently closed, and will reopen when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Ranger stations where you can normally 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.