Wilderness Permits & Reservations

Franklin Lake at sunset
Franklin Lake at sunset.

Photo by N. Ver


Quota season has ended as of September 19th 2020. Please see below for non-quota season permitting.

Outside the quota season (September 20, 2020 – May 28, 2021), wilderness permits are free, self-issued, and are not limited to daily entry quotas. Self-issue wilderness permits are available at the nearest permit-issuing station. There is no fee for self-issue permits. Please fill out the permit legibly. The information you provide on your self-issued permit may be helpful in a search and rescue incident .

For information about other changes and the availability of services in the parks, please visit our current conditions page.

With reduced services in the parks, it is particularly important that visitors plan ahead and arrive prepared for their trip. Rangers are not available to answer questions at the trailhead. Animal-resistant food storage containers (bear canisters) are still required in most of the park, but may not be available for rental. Rent or buy an appropriate food storage container before arriving in the park. Frontcountry camping is also limited and camping outside of established campgrounds such as trailhead parking lots is not permitted.


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

During the quota season (May 28, 2021 - September 18, 2021) the number of people beginning trips each day is limited by entry point. A recreation fee is required. Reservations are available for most, but not all entry points. Outside of the quota season, you can self-register for your wilderness permits at the nearest permit-issuing station and no fee is charged.

Important Changes in 2021
Advance reservations for wilderness permits can be made using the website Recreation.gov. At this time, we are also planning to resume in-person, “walk-up” permit issuance for the 2021 quota season. This means that a limited number of first-come, first-served permits will be available daily at select visitor centers permit issuing stations in Cedar Grove, Grant Grove, Lodgepole, the Foothills, and Mineral King. Because of the pandemic, we are working on safety measures to make this possible while protecting visitor and employee health.

Obtaining a reserved wilderness permit during the quota season:

Step 1: Plan your trip.
Decide where you want to go by looking at the Trail Descriptions, the Park Atlas and Trail Conditions web pages or by visiting Recreation.gov.

Find the name and quota limit for your desired entry point on the Wilderness Trip Planner or at Recreation.gov.

You can check space for the date that you wish to start your trip on Recreation.gov. Reservations can be made beginning up to 6 months in advance of the desired trip date. Reservations for the 2021 quota season will open in early January.

Step 2: Create a Recreation.gov account.
Creating a recreation.gov account will make reservations, payment and issuance a streamlined process. No account is needed to view availability or permit information, but you’ll need to register for an account to make a reservation and make payment at Recreation.gov. Emailed applications are no longer accepted; go to Recreation.gov to make a reservation.

Step 3: Check availability and select your entry point, entry date, and party size.
Go to Recreation.gov. Enter your party size and date range to see quota availability. Reservations can be made between six months and one week prior to your entry date. Carefully choose your entry point and entry date – these cannot be modified later without creating a new reservation.

Step 4: Provide information about your group and itinerary.
Enter up to three alternate trip leaders that can pick up the permit in your place. Select your exit point, exit date, and nightly itinerary to the best of your ability; these can be modified later but providing an accurate itinerary will save you time a the trailhead. Make sure your itinerary conforms to rules and regulations.

Step 5: Finalize your reservation and pay fees.
Wilderness permits cost $15 plus $5 per person within the quota season. You will be able to pay for your permit directly on Recreation.gov. The fee is non-transferable, not for use in future years and is not for re-sale. Refunds of the per-person portion of the fee will now be available in the event of cancellations or party size reductions.

Step 6: Go to the designated issuing station to obtain an orientation and have your permit issued
Once your payment is made, you will receive an email confirmation at the email address on your Recreation.gov account. Your confirmation letter is not a wilderness permit and cannot be used for overnight travel.

Bring your confirmation email to pick up your wilderness permit at the start of your trip. You will also need to bring proof of your identity. 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. Bring you entire party to the orientation.

There are no, “night drops”. You may pick up your wilderness permit as early as 1:00 pm the day prior to your entry date 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) leave a message with your permit number and name. You can also 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

Obtaining a walk-up wilderness permit during the quota season:

Step 1: Decide where and when to go.
Decide where you want to go by looking at Trail Descriptions, the Park Atlas and Trail Conditions. Find the name of and quota limit for your desired trailhead on the Wilderness Trip Planner or at Recreation.gov.

Step 2: Create a Recreation.gov account (optional).
While optional, creating a recreation.gov account before your trip will save time at the trailhead.

Step 3: Go to the designated issuing station to get oriented, have your permit issued and pay the fee.
Permits are only issued during Permitting Desk Operating Hours by trailhead rangers who provide important area information. You may pick up a wilderness permit as early as 1:00 PM the day prior to your entry date. Bring you entire party to the orientation. You will pay the fee of $15 per permit plus $5 per person at the issuing station.

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 you can generally obtain your permit for your entire itinerary from the agency where your trip begins (e.g. the Inyo, Sierra, or Sequoia national forests, or Yosemite National Park). If you will be accessing the park through the Jennie Lakes wilderness (Sequoia National Forest), obtain a permit following the steps above for the JO Pass, Belle Canyon, or Sugarloaf entry points. 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. For trips of 500 miles or more along the Pacific Crest Trail, you may obtain a permit from the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

Notable changes of the Recreation.gov transition.

No mail, email, or fax reservations requests will be accepted.

The reservation window can be as early as 6 months in advance to one week prior to your desired start date.

Real-time reservation availability can be checked on Recreation.gov.

An instant reservation confirmation will be emailed to you.

You can list up to 3 alternate trip leaders.

There’s a limit of six active permits at any given time.

The reservation fee base price has increased from $10 to $15, and the per-person fee will stay at $5,

Integrated payment and the ability to pay entry fees and make campground reservations at the same time you make a permit reservation on the recreation.gov website.

Refunds for cancellations and party size reductions (>1 week).

Ability to modify your exit date and itinerary locations through Recreation.gov.

Email communications about trail closures, advisories and important information through Recreation.gov.

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Last updated: December 1, 2020

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47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271


(559) 565-3341

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