Do I need a Wilderness Permit?
Permits are required for all overnight wilderness trips in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. During the Parks' busy summer season a quota and fee system is implemented to regulate the number of people allowed up each trail, each day. Below you will find information on how to obtain permits.
Getting Permits Inside the Quota Period
May 27, 2016 to September 24, 2016
During this time period, there is a $10 per permit, plus a $5 per person wilderness permit fee.
Permits are issued on the day of your hike by trailhead rangers during normal operating hours.
The rangers provide important information about trail conditions in the area. No night drops are permitted. You may, however, obtain permits the afternoon prior to your hike (after 1:00pm).
Approximately three-quarters of the daily trail quota (see trail descriptions) may be reserved in advance. The remaining spaces are available on a first-come-first-served basis. The permit fee applies to both walk-up and reserved permits; and both walk-up and reserved permits must be picked up at the issuing station closest to your trailhead. The Lakes Trail/Pear Lake Trail is NOT reserveable.
The following are the permit-issuing locations and operating hours for the 2016 season. Please note some hours have changed. The trailheads each station can issue permits for are listed as well:
- Kings Canyon Visitor Center (in Grant Grove) 8:00am to 4:30pm daily
- Redwood Canyon, Belle Canyon, JO Pass, and Sugarloaf Valley
- Lodgepole Visitor Center 7am to 3:30pm daily (closed from 11am-12pm for lunch)
- Twin Lakes, Pear Lake (Walk-Ups only), Alta Peak, and the High Sierra Trail
- Road's End Permit Station 7:00am to 3:30pm daily
- Woods Creek, Bubbs Creek, Copper Creek, and Lewis Creek
- Mineral King Ranger Station 8:00am to 3:45pm daily
- Franklin Pass, Sawtooth Pass, Timber Gap, Farewell Gap, Eagle Lake, White Chief, Mosquito Lakes, Tar Gap, and Hockett Meadow
- Ash Mountain Wilderness Office (located below the Foothills Visitor Center) 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. This location accepts credit cards and checks only. No cash. Permits are available at the permit box outside of the Foothills Visitor Center on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Middle Fork Trail, Garfield Grove, and Ladybug
Trailhead Availability and Trail Descriptions
Check which trailhead start dates are already booked by clicking here.
You can find out more about our parks trails on the trail descriptions page or in the 2016 Wilderness Trip Planner
Once you have chosen your starting and ending trailhead you are ready to fill out the permit reservation application. Providing alternate start dates and trailheads increases your chances of securing a permit.
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, contact Inyo National Forest at http://www.fs.usda.gov/inyo or call them at (760) 873-2483.
Reservation applications for trips taking place within the quota period are only accepted by fax or by US mail. Reservations can be made no earlier than 12:01 am March 1st, and no later than two weeks prior to the trip. (Note: the popular "Lakes Trail" to Emerald Lake and Pear Lake is non-reservable. First come, first served.) Fill out the Permit Reservation Application. Please type your information onto the form prior to printing and submitting.
- As of August 15, 2016, our phone system is not receiving incoming calls or faxes. Our phone carrier is actively working on repairs. Until the system is fixed, we will not be able to receive faxed permit applications. Please send applications by mail until the problem is resolved.
- Do not submit form via both fax and mail. Submit only once and submit only 1 copy.
- Please do not send cover letters/pages with faxed forms.
- Please do not call to verify that we received your fax. Please be patient and wait for an email confirmation. If you do not receive one after a two weeks, you should email us to verify that we received your request.
- Wilderness Permit fees are non-refundable. If you have to cancel your trip, you may transfer the dates of the permit to an alternate set of dates within the current quota period.
- After you have submitted your application you should hear back from the Wilderness office no more that two weeks from receipt of your application.
- If you are granted your chosen start date and trailhead you will receive a confirmation email. This is not a wilderness permit. You will need to present you confirmation letter at the corresponding issuing station for your trailhead on the day of your trip or after 1:00 PM the day before. See above for which issuing stations correspond to which trailheads.
Getting Permits Outside the Quota Period
September 27, 2015 to May 26, 2016
Wilderness permits are free, self-issued, and are not limited to daily entry quotas during this time period. The information you provide on your self-issued permit may be helpful in a search and rescue incident.
Self-issue permit stations are available 24 hours a day at the following locations: (permit box is located outside)
- Kings Canyon Visitor Center (in Grant Grove)
- Road's End Permit Station In the winter, Highway 180 is closed to vehicles approximately 15 miles from Road's End
- Mineral King Ranger Station and Atwell Mill In the winter the Mineral King road is gated 10 miles from Highway 198 at the park boundary. For access past the boundary gate, contact the Foothills Visitor Center. A second gate is located approximately 17 miles from Highway 198. There is no vehicle access past the second gate.
- South Fork Campground