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Reservations are accepted up to six months in advance of the date of entry for all trails except the Main Mt. Whitney trail. The Mt. Whitney trail is by lottery during the month of February. All other reservations (phone, fax and mail) will be accepted no later than two days before your planned entry into the wilderness and up to six months in advance. Keep in mind that with mailed applications, your request must reach the office in time for them to process your application. If you are applying within a week of your trip date, it may be prudent to apply via fax or phone. Check here for a list of dates still available for reservations including the Main Mt. Whitney Trail.

For detailed information, please see the Inyo National Forest Site.

Applications in the order they are received in the office. Please download an application and fax it to: 760-873-2484.

Mailed applications are processed when received. The address is:
Wilderness Permit Office
873 North Main Street
Bishop, CA 93514

A $3.00 per person fee is charged for a confirmed wilderness permit reservation. This fee is necessary to defray some of the costs of the reservation system. If you are requesting more than one permit, you must submit SEPARATE checks. Do not submit duplicate requests. They will be returned.

Due to it's popularity, the amount of hikers on the trail are limited by a quota for the Mt. Whitney Trail from May 22 though October 15. The entire daily quota is reservable in advance and day-of-hike cancellations are difficult to obtain. The Whitney Portal area is not part of the wilderness and contains developed campgrounds, a store, a fishing pond, and picnic area. Your permit does NOT cover overnight stays in this area. A fee is charged for camping at Whitney Portal.

- All trailheads in the Ansel Adams, John Muir, and Dinkey Lakes Wildernesses now have entry quotas. Sample Meadow, Deer Creek, Billy Creek, and Potter Pass in the Kaiser Wilderness as well as Cottonwood Pass in the Golden Trout Wilderness also have entry quotas. Quotas apply to all overnight visitors, whether you use the services of a commercial outfitter/guide or not. Some trails have specific commercial quotas and all visitors using a commercial outfitter or guide must obtain their permit through the commercial operator. Some trails have single quotas where all commercial and non-commercial visitors must compete for the quota space.

- Quotas will be in effect from May 1st to November 1st for the John Muir, Ansel Adams, and Dinkey Lakes Wildernesses. The Cottonwood Pass trail in the Golden Trout Wilderness and the above mentioned trails in the Kaiser Wilderness will remain the last Friday in June through September 15.

- The methods of obtaining reservations for quota space differ between east and west side entry points, and is described below. If you are using the services of any commercial outfitter/guide for any activity including backpacking, mountain climbing, and horse packing, the commercial operator must reserve quota space for you. For each non-commercial quota 60% of the quota is available for advanced reservation. The remaining 40% is available for walk-in on a first-come, first-served basis, no fee charged. Commercial quotas are 100% reservable.

- There is a fee of $5 per person to make a reservation. It is due at the time the reservation is booked and is not refundable. Mt. Whitney trail reservation fees remain $15 per person.
Permit Application Form

Phone Numbers
Reservation Line** - 760-873-2483
Commercial Reservation Line - 760-873-2492
Wilderness Permit Office FAX - 760-873-2484
Wilderness Information - 760-873-2485

Mailing Address
Inyo National Forest
Wilderness Permit Office
873 North Main Street
Bishop, CA 93514

Wilderness Information from Ranger Stations/Visitor Centers
Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center - 760-647-3044
Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center - 760-924-5500
White Mountain Ranger Station - 760-873-2500
Mt. Whitney Ranger Station - 760-876-6200

Reservations can be made by mailing your application and fee payment (check or money order) to the address below that serves your entry point. You should plan to mail your reservation application at least three weeks prior to your trip to ensure it has time to arrive and be processed. You will receive a confirmation of your reservation in the mail. Included with the confirmation will be the instructions on how to redeem your confirmation card for a Wilderness Visitors Permit. Reservations may also be made in person at the offices listed below. Phone, FAX, or e-mail reservations are not available at this time. For general information please call the appropriate Ranger District office.

Area of Travel Location to obtain permit
Ansel Adams Wilderness - North
Trailheads North of Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River
Minarets/Mariposa Ranger District
57003 Road 225
North Fork, CA 93643-9734
(559) 877-2218
Ansel Adams Wilderness - South
Trailheads South of Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River John Muir, Kaiser and Dinkey Lakes Wildernesses
Pineridge/Kings River Ranger District
P. O. Box 559
Prather, CA 93651
(559) 855-5360
(TDD) (559) 855-5367

During heavy use periods all popular trails have entry quotas in effect. The number of people entering the wilderness is limited each day between the last Friday in June through September 15. These quotas are in effect to protect the wilderness resource and to provide a quality backcountry experience to the visitor.

For cancellations or party size reductions, please notify the Ranger District office as soon as possible. This will help other wilderness visitors obtain an overnight permit.

Your reservation confirmation letter is not a permit. Reserved permits must be picked up in person at the location listed on the reservation confirmation letter. Unless prior arrangements are made, any reserved permits not picked up by 8 a.m. are cancelled and made available to others on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserved permits may be claimed up to 24 hours in advance, but entry into the wilderness is allowed ONLY on the entry date stated on the permit. When offices are closed, reserved permits for the following day are placed in an outside pick-up box.

There are maximum group sizes on all trails listed on the reverse side of this paper. Certain organized groups and educational institutions may also require an Outfitter/ Guide Special Use Permit. Please contact the Ranger Station for more information.

Mail a printed or typed application with detailed information to the Ranger District managing the trail you wish to use. Incomplete applications are returned without processing. List at least 3 alternate trails and/ or starting dates in order of preference. Chances of obtaining a reservation are greater if party size is kept small and starting days are not Fridays, Saturdays or holiday weekends. Self-issue permits are available outside the quota period at all Inyo National Forest Ranger Districts. These are available on a 24-hour basis from Oct. 16 though May 21 at the Mt. Whitney Ranger District office in Lone Pine.

Mt. Whitney Ranger District
P.O.Box 8
Lone Pine, CA

Permits may be obtained on a first-come, first-served basis on the date of entry. Demand for permits is high on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. Please have alternate trips in mind and try to keep party size less than six people. The Mt. Whitney Trail has only cancellations available on the date of entry, competition for those openings is intense.

Help protect the wilderness resource by camping and burying human waste at least 100 ft. away from water and meadows. LEAVE NO TRACE. Pack out what you pack in, plus some more!

Trails are usually snow-free from early July through mid-October. BE PREPARED FOR RAIN, HAIL OR SNOW ON ALL HIKES, EVEN DAY HIKES. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer and often have lightning. Raingear, good boots, warm clothes and a first aid kit are essential.

All water in the Sierra Nevada should be treated for Giardiasis, a water-born cyst that causes severe intestinal disorders. Boil or filter all water.

Campfires are prohibited in many areas in the Eastern Sierra due to scarcity of fuel wood or other factors. Generally, campfires are discouraged in the wilderness. Where campfires are permitted, use only DEAD AND DOWNED wood, keep fires small and make sure fires are out with water, not dirt.

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