Wilderness Permits & Reservations

Franklin Lake at sunset
Franklin Lake at sunset.

Photo by N. Ver


Wilderness permits are required year-round for all overnight trips in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks' wilderness.

Outside the quota season: Wilderness permits are self-issued, free of charge and not subject to quota limits. They can be obtained at anytime from dropboxes located outside of Visitor Centers/Permit Stations.

The 2019 quota season has ended. The 2020 quota season will begin May 22nd. In this timeframe a limited number of people are allowed on each trailhead per day in order to provide outstanding opportunities for solitude during the busy summer months, as required by the Wilderness Act. Applications for the entire summer season will be accepted begining March 1, 2020 at 12:01 am Pacific Time. Day hiking does not require a wilderness permit.

Permitting Desk Hours of Operation and Trailhead Specifics

  • Kings Canyon Visitor Center (in Grant Grove) 8:00 am-4:30 pm daily: Redwood Canyon, Belle Canyon, JO Pass, and Sugarloaf Valley
  • Lodgepole Visitor Center 7:00 am-3:30 pm daily: Twin Lakes, Lakes Trail (walk-up ONLY), Alta, & High Sierra Trail
  • Roads End Permit Station 7:00 am- 3:30 pm daily: Woods Creek, Bubbs Creek, Copper Creek & Lewis Creek
  • Mineral King Ranger Station 8:00 am-3:45 pm daily: Franklin Pass, Sawtooth Pass, Timber Gap, Farewell Gap, Eagle Lake, White Chief, Mosquito Lakes, Tar Gap & Atwell/Hockett
  • Wilderness Office (near Foothills Visitor Center) 8:00 am-4:00 pm M-F (go to Foothills Visitor Center on weekends): Middle Fork, Garfield Grove & Ladybug

Obtaining a wilderness permit during the quota season:

  1. Decide where you want to go by looking at Trail Descriptions, the Park Atlas and Trail Conditions.
  2. Find the name of and quota limit for your desired trailhead on the Wilderness Trip Planner.
  3. Make sure that there is space left in the reservable quota on the date that you wish to start your trip here: Trailhead Availability.
  4. Submit a Wilderness Permit Application at least 2 weeks in advance OR learn about How Walk-up Permits Work. Please double check the sent email to ensure the wilderness permit application you submitted was not sent blank. Blank applications often lead to delays in the permitting process.


Step 1: Apply

Download first and fill out the Wilderness Permit Application electronically. You can then attach it as a .pdf to an e-mail addressed to seki_wilderness_reservations@nps.gov. This can be done no sooner than March 1, at 12:01am PST and at least 2 weeks ahead of when you wish to start your hike. Quota limits are solely based off of the entrance point on a given day so please provide alternate start dates and trailheads to increase your chances. Include a daytime phone number to avoid delays. Duplicate applications may result in duplicate, non-refundable charges. Please, indicate in the body of your e-mail if you wish to reserve more than one trip and be sure to fill out a separate application for each trip. Faxed applications are no longer accepted; e-mail and U.S. mail are the only accepted methods for application.

Applications may be mailed to this address:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Wilderness Office #60
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271-9700

Step 2: Pay

Upon completion of your reservation, we will e-mail you a link to our pay.gov payment form. Wilderness permits cost $10 plus $5 per person within the quota season. In the e-mail you will be given a Permit ID number that you will use to pay for your reservation. Do not copy and paste this number, you must type it in with no spaces for it to work. The fee is non-refundable, non-transferable, not for use in future years and is not for re-sale. Technical issues with the pay.gov website should be directed to the pay.gov helpdesk.

Step 3: Pick-up permit

Your confirmation letter is not a wilderness permit and cannot be used for overnight travel. Bring your pay.gov confirmation letter to pick up your wilderness permit at the start of your trip.Your confirmation letter will include details of where to pick up your permit. Wilderness permits are only issued during Permitting Desk Operating Hours by trailhead rangers who provide important area information. There are no, “night drops”. You may pick up your wilderness permit as early as the afternoon prior to your entrance date after 1:00 pm or no later than 9:00 am on the morning of your entry date. If you need to pick up your permit later than 9:00 am on the morning of your entry date, simply notify the Wilderness Office at (559-565-3766) or e-mail at seki_wilderness_office@nps.gov ahead of time. If you do not make arrangements for a late pickup, your reservation will be canceled at 9:00 am and your spot(s) may be given to people waiting for walk-up permits.

Can I make changes to my trip after my application is processed?
Changes to the entry date or trailhead and increases in group size must be made at least one week before your entry date. Additional people will incur an additional $5/person fee but can only be increased if quota space is available and must be paid for over the phone ahead of time. Changes to reduce group size can be made at any time with no additional cost. Once processed, fees are not refundable.

Starting your trip outside of the parks?

If you will be entering Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks but starting your trip outside of the parks (i.e. surrounding Forest Service lands) you can obtain your permit for your entire itinerary from the agency where your trip begins. To hike Mount Whitney from the east side of the Sierra Nevada, visit Inyo National Forest's website or call them at (760) 873-2483. To plan a long distance hike for 500 miles or more that goes through the parks, find more information from the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

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Last updated: February 3, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271


(559) 565-3341

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