Backcountry Permits

A Student Conservation Association volunteer assists visitors to the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount with backcountry permits and trip planning information. Image Credit: NPS/NOCA Staff
Visitors stop by the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount, the park's main backcountry permit office, for permits, trip advice, and more. Photo by NPS

Winter Permits

The Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount will be closed starting October 10th, but backcountry permits are required year round. While the WIC is closed for the season, physical self-issue permits will be available outside the ranger stations in Marblemount and Stehekin, or you can submit your permit via email.To submit via email, please complete the following steps:

  1. Review regulations and Leave No Trace principles.
PERMITS ARE REQUIRED and valid only for the trip leader, number of people, and sites/dates listed. Your group must follow this itinerary!
KNOW AND FOLLOW ALL PARTY SIZE LIMITS: 12 pairs of eyes (people + stock) in all trailed areas and around the Boston Basin, Eldorado, and Sulphide Glacier Cross Country Zones; 6 in all other areas.
CAMP ONLY IN DESIGNATED SITES along trail corridors. Learn more about designated sites here.
IN CROSS-COUNTRY ZONES camp on snow, rock, or bare ground. Avoid vegetation and water.
STORE FOOD PROPERLY at all times. Hang food and scented items at least 12 feet up, 5 feet out from any tree limb, or use a food canister or box.
MINIMIZE CAMPFIRE IMPACTS — Use a stove instead. Where allowed, use established campfire rings only, and burn only small, dead and downed wood. Campfires are prohibited in all cross-country zones. Never burn trash.
PROPERLY DISPOSE OF WASTE — Use toilets where provided; if no toilets are provided, dig a cathole in organic soil. On rock, snow or ice, pack out human waste. Pack out all garbage—never burn it!
LEAVE WHAT YOU FIND — Leave all natural and cultural objects as you found them.
PETS are not allowed in the National Park (except on the Pacific Crest Trail). Leashed dogs allowed in the Recreation Areas.
STOCK PACKERS must use stock trails and camps. No grazing in the National Park, grazing permit required for Recreation Areas where allowed.
HUNTING / FISHING must follow state regulations and require a valid WA license. Hunting prohibited in National Park.

2. Copy the contents below. (To copy, select the content in the box below, right click and select "Copy".)

1: CAMP/ZONE: __ DATE: __
2: CAMP/ZONE: __ DATE: __
3: CAMP/ZONE: __ DATE: __
ENDING TRAILHEAD (If different.): __
REQUIRED: Do you agree to abide by all NPS regulations and Leave No Trace principles? Violators are subject to fines. If so, type YES: __

3. Send us an email. An email form will appear after clicking the previous link. Paste the above contents into the Your Message field then fill out all the fields. (To paste, right click the text box and select "Paste".) If you're having difficulties, include all the above information and send it as a permit request to Your email submission is sufficient during the winter season (October 10 - May reopening.) Ranger follow up is not needed.

4.Be safe and enjoy your trip!


Are you a Pacific Crest Trail hiker?

Beginning in 2020, North Cascades National Park will honor the long-distance Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hiking permit issued by the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) for camping at specific camps. This is a policy change from previous years. PCTA long-distance permit holders no longer need to obtain an overnight backcountry camping permit for Six Mile Camp and Bridge Creek Camp within North Cascades National Park.

Any hiker without a PCTA Long-distance Permit must obtain, in advance, a park-issued backcountry permit at designated ranger stations for camping inside North Cascades National Park.

Visit the Pacific Crest Trail page for more information.

A climber travels on snow at sunset
Permits help ensure solitude and a quality backcountry experience. Photo by NPS /F. Shafer

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 and prevent overcrowding at camps or climbing routes, provide for opportunities for solitude and a quality backcountry experience, and protect 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 park managers to gather data important for planning and decision making. Thanks for doing your part to help steward these important wilderness resources.

Last updated: October 9, 2021

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810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley , WA 98284


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