Backcountry permits are available the day before or day of a desired trip start date on a first-come, first-served basis. There are many options for walk-up permits in the park, including areas that are not popular or crowded. Use the Wilderness Trip Planner to map out your trip and arrive early for the best campsite availability. Permits must be obtained before entering the backcountry.
Where to Obtain a Permit
Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount (7280 Ranger Station Road, Marblemount WA 98267)- Obtain permits here for all areas of the park. This center is the main backcountry permit office for the park complex. Wilderness rangers are on hand to provide firsthand trip planning advice for all wilderness and backcountry areas of the park, including Ross Lake and climbing areas. You'll also find current trail and camp conditions, maps, and more to assist with your trip planning. Note: All permits for the Cascade River Road are issued via Marblemount in person only (including Sahale, Cascade Pass, Boston Basin)
Glacier Public Service Center (10091 Mt. Baker Hwy, Glacier, WA 98244)-This is a U.S. Forest Service ranger station that is jointly staffed by National Park Service wilderness rangers during the summer season. Backpackers and climbers can obtain backcountry permits required for overnight stays in areas within North Cascades National Park that are accessed via trailheads along the Mt. Baker Highway, such as the Fisher Chimney’s route on Mt. Shuksan, the Chilliwack River drainage, or Copper Ridge.
Please email us early in the morning the day before you want to start your trip and provide us with a good callback number. For trips starting from Stehekin, you may contact us the day before arriving in Stehekin.To expedite the process please, create a Recreation.gov account before contacting us. For driving directions and current hours for all National Park Service ranger stations click here.
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.
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: May 20, 2022