Wilderness permit reservations for backpackers are available (and strongly recommended) up to 24 weeks (169 days) in advance, and up until four days before your hike. Sixty percent of reservations are available 24 weeks in advance; the remaining 40 percent are available two weeks in advance and up to four days before your hike. (This is a temporary change in 2021.)
Each confirmed reservation costs $5 plus $5 per person. This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. All changes to permit reservations must be made by the trip leader. Do not submit more than one application per request or group each day: this will not increase your chances of winning the lottery. If you (or your group members) apply multiple times for the same request or group, your request will be excluded from the lottery and may be subject to a non-refundable fee. (You can submit additional applications for other dates as long as you only submit one application per day.)
Wilderness permits are required all year, but reservations are not necessary for trips November through April.
The reservation office is open mid-November through the end of September and accepts reservations for trips from May through October. The reservation office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm, with extended hours from Memorial Day through Labor Day: Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, and Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm. The office is closed on federal holidays and for lunch (noon to 1 pm).
How to Make a Reservation
When applying, you can list three options for your trip, but only one will be granted. You will be notified of the results within one to two full business days. If you do not hear from us within that time, please contact our office. If your reservation is granted, you will receive an email notification requesting the processing fee payment via a secure online form. You will have 48 hours to pay for your reservation. Denied requests will not be charged.
John Muir Trail Thru-Hikers
If you are flexible on the start date for your trip, you can submit one application for a longer range of dates by using the JMT rolling lottery application. Use this form if you are requesting a wilderness permit to hike from Yosemite to an area outside the park, exiting over Donohue Pass. Learn more about wilderness permits for John Muir Trail hikers or about statistics for the JMT rolling lottery.
Overnight Big Wall Climbers
Starting May 21, 2021, a wilderness permit will be required for all overnight big wall climbers. During this pilot, wilderness permits for climbers will be free and there will be no quotas or limits on the number of permits available. The pilot will help climbing rangers better understand use patterns on big walls. The pilot will also increase compliance with existing regulations (e.g., proper disposal of waste) and minimize impacts to wilderness character through improved education.
If space is available within the same season, you can request a change to your existing reservation's date or trailhead for free by calling 209/372-0826 or using this form. If you would like to add people to your permit (if space is available) or add a Half Dome permit (if space is available), please use this form; these changes require a fee. Processing fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Last updated: July 19, 2021