A wilderness permit is required year-round for backpacking, overnight climbing, or any other overnight stay in the Yosemite Wilderness. A wilderness permit is not required for day hikes (unless hiking to Half Dome) or for staying in lodging facilities and frontcountry campgrounds.
Wilderness permits are only issued to a limited number people for each trailhead in order to provide outstanding opportunities for solitude, as required by the Wilderness Act. Since many trails are very popular, reservations are required from late April through October. Of each daily quota for a trailhead, 60 percent can be reserved 24 weeks in advance. The remaining 40 percent are available seven days in advance.
Trip Planning Resources
Please consult our trail descriptions to help you decide where you want to hike. Once you know where you want to start your hike and your direction of travel, use the trailheads map [1.5 MB PDF] to determine which trailhead to apply for. The trailhead information page has additional information, including quotas for each trailhead, parking information, and other details.
Wilderness Permit Reservations
Sixty percent of wilderness permit reservations become available by lottery 24 weeks in advance. Of these, any remaining reservations after each week's lottery become available on a first-come, first-served basis the Friday after the lottery application period closes and are available up to three days in advance. The remaining 40% of reservations become available seven days in advance (up to three days in advance).
Walk-Up Wilderness Permits
Late April through mid-October
Do not arrive at Yosemite expecting to get a walk-up wilderness permit. While any unreserved permits will be available in person at wilderness centers on the start date of the trip, few, if any, unused permits will be available. You must arrive at a wilderness center during business hours to get a permit. All wilderness centers operate from 8 am to 5 pm. After-hours permits are not available.
Late October to mid-April
Most of Yosemite is covered in snow during winter. Before planning a wilderness trip during this time, please ensure you're prepared for winter conditions.
Wilderness permits are required all year. You can get a wilderness permit the day before or day you intend to start your hike at the permit issuing station nearest the trailhead. While trailhead quotas are still in effect, most trailheads don't fill up. Bear canisters are only available for rental at the Valley Welcome Center (starting December 3; before then, they are available at the Valley Visitor Center/Yosemite Exploration Center).
Frequently Asked Questions
We now have one list of frequently asked questions about wilderness permits.