News Release

Backcountry Permits Available Online Through Recreation.gov

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Date: January 25, 2022
Contact: Wilderness Information Center, 360-854-7245

Sedro Woolley, WA – North Cascades National Park Service Complex will offer online trip planning and reservations on Recreation.gov for the May 27 through September 30, 2022 peak hiking season. Visitors will have the opportunity to see real-time site availability and secure definitive backcountry trips across the park complex. While the park has offered advance reservations for wilderness camping and climbing for four years, the 2022 shift to fully online reservations will allow visitors greater control over their itinerary and earlier notification of a confirmed trip. The park will retain one third of all available sites for “walk-up” reservations throughout the summer. 

Visitors will have three options to acquire a backcountry or climbing permit for overnight trips during the peak season, May 27 through September 30, 2022. 

  • Option One: Beginning March 3 through March 15, 2022 visitors may apply for the Early Access Lottery by going to the North Cascades National Park page on Recreation.gov. The Early Access Lottery is based on a fair and randomized process to provide an equal opportunity for each applicant to be selected. If selected, successful lottery applicants will be assigned a date and time to book their proposed reservation online during the Early Access Period (March 21-April 19).    
  • Option Two: General access (also called the General On-Sale) for advanced reservations will be available from April 26 through September 28 for booking without an appointment online. 
  • Option Three: As in previous years, approximately one-third of all available sites will be held for walk-up permits, which can be obtained up to 24 hours in advance of a trip at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount during peak season. Cancelled reservations and no-shows will allow additional permit opportunities available as walk-up permits. 

While the lottery system reduces the number of users competing for a site simultaneously during the Early Access Period, users will still face competition for available sites and will need to plan out their preferred itinerary prior to making any reservation. Early Access Period users will be able to login as early as March 21 to view availability and plan their trip, but users will not be able to reserve their permit until their assigned date and time. Visitors will need to ensure that the itinerary they select is realistic, and takes into account their entire party’s fitness, the challenging terrain and seasonal snowpack. 

Recreation.gov will replace the labor-intensive legacy permitting system. For the past four years, the park has made a portion of backcountry permits available for advance reservation. For most of that period, reservations received in the first two weeks have been processed in random order, with lengthy wait times from up to six weeks. The new system will allow visitors to plan in real time with the known available inventory, with immediate confirmations of successful permits.   



Last updated: February 1, 2022

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Sedro-Woolley , WA 98284

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