Wilderness Permit Descriptions


When Do You Need a Permit?
Permits are required for all overnight trips, including climbing bivouacs, all through-hikes of The Narrows and its tributaries, all canyons requiring the use of descending gear or ropes, and all trips into The Subway and Left Fork.

All permits (including those with reservations and those awarded though the lottery) must be obtained in person the day before or the day of the trip at the Zion Canyon or Kolob Canyon Visitor Centers.

How to Obtain a Permit
There are several ways to obtain a permit for your trip into the Zion Wilderness. Over half of all available permits are secured using the advance reservation system. The remaining permits are obtained through the Last Minute Drawing (canyoneering day trips) or as Walk-in Permits (backpacking trips).

Permit Fees
Fees help cover the costs of issuing permits, wilderness patrols, resource monitoring, and trail repairs. Fees are non-refundable and based on group size.

  • $15.00 for 1 to 2 people
  • $20.00 for 3 to 7 people
  • $25.00 for 8 to 12 people

Calendar Reservations: 3 months in advance
|All visitors can reserve a wide variety of canyoneering, camping, and climbing trips using the online reservation system. Please note that calendar reservations are not permits.

Making a Calendar Reservation
Reservations are available online during a three month time frame. On the fifth day of every month at 10:00 am MT, reservations for the next month become available. If they are still available, reservations can be made until 5:00 pm MT, on the day before your trip.

For a trip in...... calendar reservations are available on....
March.............. January 5
April................. February 5
May.................. March 5
June................. April 5
July................... May 5
August............. June 5
September....... July 5
October........... August 5
November........ September 5
December........ October 5
January............ November 5
February.......... December 5

There is a $5.00 non-refundable fee for an online calendar reservation, and there is an additional charge for a permit that is determined by the size of your group. Backpackers that intend to camp in multiple locations need to make a separate reservation for each location.

Many of the permits for The Subway (Left Fork) and Mystery Canyon are secured through the Advance Lottery system prior to calendar reservations becoming available.


Advance Lottery Reservations: 3 months prior
The Advance Lottery is for trips through The Subway (Left Fork) and Mystery Canyon. Due to the popularity of these areas, the park created an online lottery for reservations. The Advance Lottery does not run from November through March due to a low demand for permits.

Advance Lottery applications are completed online. Entries must be submitted three months prior to your planned trip. Entries are limited to one request per individual per canyon per month. Entrants can request three prioritized dates. The non-refundable lottery application fee is $5.00.

Applicants will be sent a notification email on the fifth day of the following month with information about the status of their request. If a reservation is awarded, the permit must be obtained before the trip at a park visitor center.

Occasionally, a few spaces remain after the Advance Lottery has been held. These spaces can be reserved through the Calendar Reservations system.


Last Minute Drawing Reservations: 7 to 2 days in advance
All visitors can apply for the Last Minute Drawing for canyoneering day trips.The Last Minute Drawing eliminates the need to wait in long lines for last minute permits.

When a slot canyon day trip is fully booked online through the Calendar Reservations system or the Advance Lottery, the Last Minute Drawing becomes an option. Individuals can submit an application for the Last Minute Drawing to obtain any remaining reservations for permits. The Last Minute Drawing is limited to one request per individual per canyon.

Last Minute Drawing applications are completed online. Entries can be submitted as early as one week prior to a trip date until two days before at noon MT. The drawing is held at 1:00 pm MT, two days before a trip date. Any spaces not taken through the drawing will be available as Walk-in Permits the day before a trip date.

Applicants will be sent a notification email with information about the status of their request. If a reservation is awarded, the permit must be obtained before the trip at a park visitor center.


Walk-In Permits
About one-third of wilderness campsites are not available through the reservation system. They are made available as Walk-in Permits and can be obtained the day before your trip starts. Any slot canyon or climbing permits not taken through the reservation system are available as Walk-in Permits. Wilderness campsites, climbing areas, and slot canyons that are not listed in the reservation system, are only available as Walk-in Permits. Plan ahead and obtain a reservation to avoid any disappointment.


Zion Express Membership
Zion Express Membership allows members who have obtained a reservation to convert it to a permit online, three days before their trip. The entire permit process can be completed online. Zion Express Membership is recommended for frequent visitors.

The benefits of membership include:

  • No cost to enroll.
  • No waiting in line to pick up permit.
  • No need to coordinate with Wilderness Desk hours of operation.
  • Greater flexibility in planning (allows for early starts and late finishes)
  • Reservation fees are applied to the cost of the permit.

Membership is valid for three years. To become a Zion Express Member, visit the Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk to complete a short orientation and sign a program agreement form.


Last updated: March 8, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale, UT 84767


(435) 772-3256
Staffed daily from 9 am - 12 noon. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day. If you are unable to reach someone by phone, please email us at zion_park_information@nps.gov.

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