Backpacking and dayhiking have blown up. Seeing so many people exploring the outdoors is fantastic! However, the huge popularity of a few specific locations or trails makes visiting them a challenge. I’ve gathered a bunch of information on some big name parks and trails below to hopefully make visiting a possibility for anyone interested! This post got way longer than I intended, so i’ve added the following table of contents.
|Zion NP||Wonderland Trail||Half Dome||Mt. Saint Helens|
|Havasupai||Rae Lakes Loop||Teton Crest Trail||John Muir Trail|
|The Enchantments||Mt. Whitney||Coyote Buttes||Kalalau|
Zion National Park
The fees associated with Zion vary based on group size (Prices in USD):
- 1-2 People: $15
- 3-7 People: $20
- 8-12 People: $25
There are a few ways to secure permits for Zion:
3 Months in Advance
Last Minute Reservations (2-7 days in advance)
Walk Up Permits
Zion Express Membership
Unfortunately, due to the massive number of requests received for full circuit Wonderland Trail permits, the NPS has stopped accepting advanced reservations, opting to only accept walkups for this trail. This is new as of 2016, so if you’ve been before, or are planning to visit, get there at least a day or two early!
Alternatively, pick up one of the remaining 75 Wilderness Permits and include a route on Half Dome in your reservation.
Mount Saint Helens
Permits are limited for Mount Saint Helens depending on peak season or not with the following limits:
April 1st – May 14th: 500 persons/day
May 15th – October 31st: 100 persons/day
For both, permits are required and go on sale on February 1st at 9am.
Permits for Mt. Whitney are initially distributed via lottery, held February 1 – March 15. After April 1st, any permit times that haven’t already been reserved/permitted are available for sale online, first come, first served.
The last chance to snag a permit for the year takes place on May 1, when any unclaimed permits from the first round and cancelled and made available for purchase.
Get more information on the Mt. Whitney lottery and processes on the Forest Service’s website.
As of 2016, the permit season in The Enchantments has been extended by 6 weeks. Now, in order to stay the night, you’ll need a permit from May 15th – October 31st.
The permit lottery opens on February 15th and runs through March 2nd and takes place on recreation.gov. Check out the Forest Service’s Website for more information.
You must have a permit to hike, even for day hikes. The total cost for a single person is $85 (+tax) for one night. Permits go on sale on February 1 each year, you’ll need one at least a week in advance, and they must be reserved via phone (9am – 5pm) during the week.
More information can be found on the Havasupai tribe’s website and reservations can be requested at 928-448-2121.
Rae Lakes Loop
- Bear cannisters must be carried by all hikers
- Camping only at designated campsites
- Two night maximum in Paradise Valley
- Two night maximum at Charlotte Lake
- Two night maximum at Kearsarge Lakes
- One night per lake in Rae Lakes
- No camping at Bullfrog Lake
- No fires over 10,000′
- No pets allowed
If you’re looking to hike during the quota season of May 25th – September 22, you’ll need to acquire your permit at least two weeks in advance using this PDF.
More information is available on the NPS website.
Teton Crest Trail
Sending in an application via Fax will typically yield the fastest results, as only one third of available permits are available for early reservation. After those permits have been reserved, the remainder are available for walk-ups up to a day early.
John Muir Trail
Permits headed southbound from Happy Isles and Lyell Canyon need to be applied for 24 weeks in advance. Sending in your permit via fax is recommended. Apply early, as the NPS reports that the vast majority of these permits are declined.
Alternatively, you can request a different trailhead along the route, such as Glacier Point or Tuolumne Meadow, which helps ease the daily quota limitations.
Lastly, you can try for a walkup — these permits are open for the taking at 11am the day before you intend to hit the trail.
The buttes are in the southwestern sandstone hills of northern Arizona and southern Utah, within the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. No overnight hiking is allowed in either the northern or southern portions of the buttes, due to lack of water and supplies.
Daily, only 10 permits are available via lottery, four months in advance. The other 10 permits are walk-up only, the day prior to your day hikes, at the Staircase-Escalante Visitors Center.
Camping is only allowed at Hanakoa and Kalalau, and permits are absolutely required – not having one will get you cited, followed by a mandatory court appearance!
Permits run $20 per person, per day and can be sold out as early as a year in advance. They can be applied for through the DLNR website.
Additional details can be found on the Kalalau Trail website.