Important Permit & Reservation Deadlines for Popular California Hiking Trails & Campsites in 2019

Important Permit & Reservation Deadlines for Popular California Hiking Trails & Campsites in 2019    | Don't miss out on hiking or camping at some of Californias most popular sites because you missed the reservation deadlines. In this post I've outlined key deadlines to mark your calendars with for some of Californias most iconic locations such as Yosemite Wilderness Permits, Inyo National Forest Permits, Mount Whitney Permits, Half Dome Permits, JMT Permits, Joshua Tree camping reservations, Lost Coast backpacking permits and much, much more!. |  shedreamsofalpine.com

California is filled with some of the United States most breathtaking hiking trails and campsites, but many of these popular trails and campgrounds come with a lot of rules and regulations. Hiking permits, backpacking permits, and campground reservations all vary depending on what you are looking for, and so my goal here is to give you glance at some of California’s most popular hikes and areas permit regulations so you don’t have to go searching each and every one of them down. These kinds of rules and regulations change frequently, and I’ve updated this post to reflect 2019’s most current regulations, but if anything ever looks “off”, please just hit me up in the comments below and we will get the data changed ASAP.

I like to update this guide at the beginning of every year, because it’s that time of year we starting thinking about our goals, trails we want to hike, 14ers we want to climb, and places we want to see. It's always a good idea to start thinking ahead about where you want to go because a lot of trails and campsites in California (particularly the more popular ones) require reservations and permits. I know when I moved to California I felt lost about when to apply for permits and where to get the reservations from. It seems like each park or forest has a different system. Hopefully in this post I can help demystify this permit and reservation process for you for popular hiking trails and campsites in California.  So let’s dive in!


Summary of Important Permitting Deadlines

Check out the below summary of important hiking permit and backpacking permit deadlines in California.

Before we jump into the meat of the article, I thought I'd provide a quick list for permit applications deadlines that are coming up. Skip to the section (by Number) you are looking for for more details on how and when to apply + extra resources for planning your adventure.

  1. Half Dome Permits - Permit application lottery starts March 1 to March 31.

  2. Mt Whitney Lottery - The application for Mount Whitney permits lottery starts February 1 and ends March 15. (In 2019 the opening day for Mount Whitney hiking permits has been delayed. Check here for updates)

  3. John Muir Trail Permits & Yosemite Wilderness Permits- 24 weeks in advance of your entry dates, so for the summer months (July through September) start looking to submit your applications for JMT permits around January 13th through March 23rd. Also, they have a NEW online application system (in the past it was Fax). Yosemite Wilderness permits (aka Yosemite backpacking permits) should be applied for about 24 weeks in advance (similar to the JMT permits process).

  4. Catalina Island Camping Reservations for the Trans-Catalina Trail - campground reservations are available roughly a year in advance, and campsites must be booked ahead of time. Trail permits are free.

  5. Yosemite Camping Reservations & Tuolumne Campground Reservations - Yosemite Campground reservations are available year-round. If looking to go during the summer months (May through September) start looking to make reservations around January 15 through April 15th.

  6. Joshua Tree Camping Reservations & Joshua Tree Backpacking Permits - Joshua Tree Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance. Since the prime time to visit is October through May, start looking to apply for reservations around April through November. No reservations are required for backcountry camping, but you must grab a permit at one of the 13 approved parking sites in the park.

  7. Death Valley Camping Reservations - The Furnace Creek Campground reservations in Death Valley can be made up to 6 months in advance. Since the prime time to visit is October through April, start looking to apply for reservations around April through October.

  8. Sequoia National Park Reservations - Sequoia National Park Campground reservations vary based on campsite.

  9. High Sierra Trail Permits - Applications for this season begin March 1st at 12:01 Pacific Time, and at a minimum must be reserved at least 2 weeks in advance of your trip.

  10. Inyo National Forest Permits - Most trails can be reserved up to 6 months in advance. So for reservations in the summer months (July through October) you will be looking to make reservations starting in January to April. During the “off season”, typically around November to April, you don’t need to make reservations, but you still do need to pick up a wilderness permit.

  11. Coastal California Campgrounds - Many are only available at a first come first serve basis, but campsites that have reservations are available year-round and are often available up to a year in advance.

  12. Lost Coast Trail Permit - The block of permits available for each year are released the prior year on October 1. So basically, if you are planning way far in advance, you’ll have the best chances getting the exact date that you want if you look on October 1st of the prior year. However, if you don’t know that far in advance, you can apply at anytime online.

  13. Big Sur Backpacking Permit & Big Sur Camping Reservations - being added soon!

  14. Desolation Wilderness Permits - being added soon!

And after you're all set with your hiking permits, don't forget to download my essential hiking gear checklist so that you hit the trails with everything you need!


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1. half dome permits

Make sure you know when to apply for the Half Dome Permits this year so you can experience the thrill of hiking the iconic Half Dome cables.

About the Half Dome Hike:

  • Half Dome is probably one of Yosemites most popular hikes and also one of it's most demanding and strenuous hikes as well. The Dome rises to 8,842 feet high and the trail is around 14 miles with 4,200 feet of total elevation gain. Many choose to do this trail in one day (which takes most people 10-14 hours), but you can also opt to backpack this trail over 2-3 days.

  • There are two main trails that converge at the top of Nevada Falls that you can take on your way to the summit. Those two trails come together and continue on the main trail up toward Half Dome. You can take the Mist Trail, which is steeper but shorter in length and more scenic, or you can take the John Muir Trail which is 1.5 miles longer each way, but less steep. When I went on this hike we took Mist Trail on our way up and John Muir Trail on our way down because it was easier on our knees.

  • If you want to break up your mileage and opt to backpack the trail, consider staying at Little Yosemite Valley, which is only a mile past the top of Nevada Falls. This is a backpackers only campground and a great way to break up the hike.

  • If you want to hike to the top of Half Dome, you are required to have Half Dome hike permits. Without a permit, you can only hike to the base of the sub-dome. If you want to camp along the hike, Yosemite Wilderness permits are required for that too. A maximum of 300 total hikers are allowed per day (225 hikers and 75 backpackers)

When to Go:

  • You can go to Yosemite, see a view of Half Dome, and hike a portion of the Mist Trail almost year round (conditions dependent), but if you want to go to the summit of Half Dome the cables are only open from the Friday before Memorial Day (Late May, conditions permitting) and come down after Columbus Day (early October)

When to Apply for Half Dome Permits:

  • Pre-season lottery applications begin March 1 and run until March 31. You will be notified about the status of your application by mid-April

  • During the hiking season, roughly 50 permits (depending on known cancelations) per day are available in a daily lottery system. You must apply for these 2 days (from midnight to 1PM) before the day you want to hike. You will be notified later that night whether or not you got permits.

How to Apply:

  • Half Dome Permits for Day Hiking: Permits for the Half Dome hike are on a lottery system.

    • You can apply for up to 6 people on the permit and for up to 7 different dates

    • You may only apply once during the lottery season as "trip leader", however other people in your group can also apply as "trip leaders" for up to 7 different dates

    • You can apply through Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777 (7AM-9PM pacific time)

  • Backpacking Permits for Little Yosemite Valley: You will need a Yosemite wilderness permit (but not a campground reservation) in order to camp at Little Yosemite Valley if you opt to backpack the route up to Half Dome. The good news is, that if you decide to go this route, you can get the Half Dome permit at the same time that you are reserving Yosemite wilderness permits.

    • See the John Muir trail section below for more details on Yosemite Wilderness permit applications.

How Much Does it Cost:

  • Expect to pay 2 separate fees. First is a non-refundable application fee (per application not per person) of $6. If you are lucky enough to receive a permit, you will then be charged an additional $10 per person. The permit fee per person is refundable should you choose to cancel your reservation.

  • Confirmed Yosemite wilderness permits for the backpacking option are $5 plus $5 per person.

Other Useful Notes:

  • The trip leader must be present in order to use the permits on the day of the hike. Permits are not transferrable.

  • Bring some gloves with you for the cables on this hike! I'm always surprised by the number of people who don't, but it will help you feel much more safe going up and down the cables. Also, wear shoes that have good traction, this will just help you feel even more confident on the granite rock up to Half Dome summit.

  • Bring plenty of water and consider bringing a water filter to re-fill if you are doing this hike in one day.

  • Keep an eye out for the weather on this hike, it is not safe to hike the cable portion of the hike if it is raining or has rained recently. It makes the route very slippery and is not worth the risk.

Read More!

Looking for more information about hiking Half Dome? Check out these resources on our site:


2. Mt Whitney permits

Get Mount Whitney Permits to hike the tallest peak in the lower 48 states!

About the Mount Whitney Hike:

  • Another really popular hike in California is the Mount Whitney Trail hike, and it is very competitive to get a Mount Whitney hike permit. Mount Whitney is the tallest peak in the contiguous United States and thus makes it to the top of almost everyones list.

  • The Mount Whitney trail is a very difficult hike. It is 22 miles in length and about 6,100 feet of total elevation gain. So unless you are in great physical shape, I'd opt to backpack this trail for a more enjoyable experience. Also, backpacking will help you acclimate to the higher altitude better.

  • You can opt to day hike this or backpack this trail, but both require Mount Whitney permits. If you choose to backpack this trail you can camp at Trail Camp, Outpost Camp, Consultation Lake, or Lone Pine Lake.

When to Go:

  • Most people do this hike in the summer. Lottery applications can be made for May 1 through November 1, but keep in mind that depending on the snow year, the trail may not be clear of snow until July. It is probably best to aim to do this hike July through early October for best chances of a clear trail. Personally, I'd opt for September, because that will be the best temperatures.

When to Apply for Mt Whitney Permits:

  • The Mount Whitney lottery starts February 1 and ends March 15th. Lottery application results will be made available March 24th. (In 2019 the opening has been delayed. Check here for updates)

  • If you want multiple trips in the same year, you can apply when remaining spaces become available on April 1 this permit mini-sale opens up at 7AM

  • During the hiking season you can also check up to 2 days before a date you want to hike to see if there are any available permits from cancelations.

How to Apply for Whitney Permits:

  • You can apply for up to 15 people on the permit and for up to 15 different dates during the lottery

  • Your group may only submit 1 application for the same dates

  • You can apply for both day and overnight permits through recreation.gov

  • For more information, read here.

How Much Does it Cost:

  • Transaction fee for applying to lottery costs $10 per application

  • If you are lucky enough to receive a permit, you will then need to pay an additional $15 per person by April 30th. If you do not pay by this date, your permit will be canceled.

Other Useful Notes:

  • Everyone hiking or backpacking the Mount Whitney Trail is required to use a WAG bag for human waste. These are provided to you when you pick up your permits.

  • If you are backpacking this trail, you are required to take a bear canister.

  • The trip leader must be present in order to use the permits on the day of the hike. Permits are not transferrable.

Read more!

Looking for more information about hiking Mount Whitney? Check out these resources on our site:


3. John muir trail permits & Yosemite Wilderness Permits

The John Muir Trail is one of the best hikes in California, and definitely worth getting JMT permits for!

About the John Muir trail Hike:

  • John Muir Trail permits are so popular that according to the national park service, 97% of JMT permit applications get denied. Even if you are only planning to hike a portion of this trail, you still have to compete with everyone that is on the John Muir Trail.

  • The John Muir Trail is 211 miles long running from Yosemite Valley to Whitney Portal.

  • If you are hiking the John Muir Trail, you are required to carry a wilderness permit.

  • The process described below also applies for Yosemite Permits in general, for if you are wanting to get Yosemite backcountry permits for other trails besides the John Muir Trail.

When to Go:

  • In order to avoid potential snow conditions in the Sierra, the best time to attempt the John Muir Trail is July through September.

When to Apply:

  • For those hiking southbound, Yosemite Wilderness Permits can be obtained up to 24 weeks (168 days) in advance. Check out this useful table on the national park service website for when to apply for your permits.

How to Apply:

  • If you are hiking the JMT starting from Yosemite (southbound, or SOBO), you need a Yosemite Wilderness Permit Reservation. The official trailhead is the Happy Isle Trailhead in Yosemite Valley.

    • You can apply for wilderness permits via online, phone or mail. Fax used to be the preferred method and it appears they no longer do this method anymore (this is how I have applied for Wilderness permits in the past) but starting 2019, they now have an “online system”.

    • Applying Online: This is a 6 page form you fill out online very similar to the older fax method. Apply for your desired reservation days on the 169th day before your trip. You will be notified of the results within 1 to 2 full business days. If your reservation is granted, you will get an email and you will have 48 hours to pay for your reservation before it is dropped. Denied reservations requests won’t be charged.

    • More details about wilderness permits can be found on nps.gov

  • You can also start at Whitney Portal (northbound, or NOBO) (although it is more difficult to get permits) by using the Whitney Portal Lottery System described in the Mount Whitney Section above.

How Much Does it Cost:

  • Confirmed Yosemite Wilderness Permits cost $5 plus $5 per person (there's no charge for applying if you don't receive a reservation).

Other Useful Notes:

  • Hiking the John Muir Trail is slightly more involved and so I definitely recommend reading some more information about the trail and permitting reservation system if this is high on your hiking list goals.

READ MORE!

Looking for more hikes in along the John Muir Trail? Check out these resources on our site:


4. catalina island camping reservations for the trans-catalina trail

Make sure you know how to get the propper Catalina Island camping reservations for the Trans-Catalina-Trail hike.

About the Hike: 

  • The Trans Catalina Trail hike is located on Catalina Island off the coast of California and is a 37 mile hike that crosses the entire island. Catalina hiking permits are free for this hike, but the tricky part of reservations for this hike is making sure you book Catalina camping reservations in advance.

When to Go:

  • This trail could likely be hiked year round due to the favorable weather on the California coast, although it is likely more popular to hike in spring, summer, and fall.

When to Apply:

  • As mentioned above, you primarily need to worry about booking campsites in advance. It will ultimately depend on how many days you are splitting your trip up into, but the main campsites are Hermit Gulch Campsite, Black Jack Campground, Little Harbor, Two Harbors, and Parson’s Landing. Permits can be made roughly a year in advance.

How to Apply:

Permits can be booked online at Reserveamerica.com or by phone

  • Hermit Gulch Campsite - the only campground near Avalon, otherwise you cans stay at a hotel in Avalon

  • Black Jack Campground - this is a primitive campsite.

  • Little Harbor - this is a beautiful campground located on a more secluded side of the Two Harbors area

  • Two Harbors - this campground offers tent and cabin camping and is located closer to the town of Two Harbors

  • Parson’s Landing.- this is a primitive campsite. Permits can be made roughly a year in advance either online at Reserveamerica.com or by phone

How Much Does it Cost:

  • Campground rates vary based on time of the year and range from $8 per night to $28 per night per campsite.

Read more!

Looking for more info on Catalina Island? Check out these resources on our site:


5. yosemite Camping Reservations & Tuolumne Campground reservations

Yosemite campgrounds are epicly beautiful, and totally worth making sure you know how to get your Yosemite National Park camping reservations!

Getting Yosemite National Park camping reservations for campsites in Yosemite or Tuolumne can be next to impossible if you are planning last minute. It's best to plan ahead of time if you want to snag a coveted campsite. There are 13 total campgrounds at Yosemite and 7 of these require reservations year round including: Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, Wawona, and half of Tuolumne Meadows.

When to Apply:

  • You can apply for campground reservations one month at a time and up to five months in advance. Yosemite camping permits become available on the 15th of each month at 7 am Pacific time. These reservations can be super competitive, particularly for the summer months and sites can be fully booked within minutes of 7 am, so its important to plan ahead and be prepared for the application process.

    • January 15th at 7 am Pacific Time opens up reservations for May 15 through June 14

    • February 15th at 7 am Pacific Time opens up reservations for June 15 through July 14

    • March 15th at 7 am Pacific Time opens up reservations for July 15 through August 14

    • April 15th at 7 am Pacific Time opens up reservations for August 15 through September 14th

    • And so on...

  • There is a table on the national parks service that shows what dates to apply on for the reservation dates that you want.

How to Apply:

How Much Does it Cost:

  • Rates vary by campground and type of site, but can be found on Recreation.gov

READ MORE!

Looking for more resources on Yosemite? Check out these resources on our site:


6. Joshua Tree camping reservations & Joshua Tree backpacking permits

There are 4 reservable campgrounds at Joshua Tree.

In the summer months, there are no camping in Joshua Tree reservations, but that is because the popular time to go is actually in the spring, fall and winter. There are 4 campgrounds that can be reserved during the winter season.

When to Apply:

  • Joshua Tree campground reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance during the busy Winter Season. They are open on a first-come, first-served basis from June 1 through September 29.  Since the prime time to visit is October through May, start looking to apply for reservations around April (for October reservations) through November (for May reservations).

How to Apply:

  • There are 4 reservable campgrounds, and there are also 2 group campground areas.

    • Cottonwood Campground

    • Jumbo Rocks Campground

    • Indian Cove Campground

    • Black Rock Campground

  • Reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777 or online at Recreation.gov.

How Much Does it Cost:

  • Sites at each of these campgrounds cost around $20 per night

Joshua Tree Backpacking Permits:

You can also go backcountry camping in Joshua Tree. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Backcountry camping in Joshua Tree is permitted as long as you are at least 1 mile from roads, 500 feet from trails and water sources, and not in day-use only areas.

  • There are 13 areas where you can start and park for your backcountry camping trips from in Joshua tree. for backcountry camping trips in the park. This is where you can find more info on the area and grab your backcountry permits for overnight camping.

  • Unregistered vehicles left overnight are subject to citation and/or towing, so be sure to leave the bottom portion of your permit in the drop box provided at the area and take the top portion with you!

read more!

Looking for more resources on Joshua Tree? Check out these resources on our site:


7. Death valley camping reservations

There is only one campground that allows for death valley camping reservations.

There is only one campground at Death Valley that can be Reserved in advanced, the Furnace Creek Campground. Reservations can only be made for this campground for dates Oct 15 - April 15. All other campgrounds in Death Valley are a first come first serve basis. It's best to check the national park website for details on campground closures and details before planning your trip.

When to Apply:

  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance. Since the prime time to visit is October through April, start looking to apply for reservations around April (for October reservations) through October (for April reservations)

How to Apply:

  • Reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777 or online at Recreation.gov.

How Much Does it Cost:

  • There is a $10 non-refundable reservation fee, and a tent sites cost around $22 if reserved in advance.

Read more!

Looking for more resources on Death Valley? Check out these resources on our site:


8. sequoia national park reservations

There are 6 campgrounds that require Sequoia National Park Reservations.

There are 14 total campgrounds (3 open year-round) at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and 6 of these require reservations including: Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, Lodgepole, Dorst Creek, Sunset, and Sentinel campgrounds. During the summer months the first-come-first-serve campgrounds often fill up quickly on the weekends.

When to Apply:

  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance.

How to Apply:

  • These details vary, and it is best to refer to Recreation.gov, which is also where you can make campsite reservations.

How Much Does it Cost:

  • Costs vary depending on campsite


9. High Sierra Trail Permits

The High Sierra trail wanders through some of Californias most beautiful backcountry.

About the High Sierra Trail:

  • The High Sierra Trail is another iconic hike that Starts in Sequoia National Park and connects to end at Mount Whitney.

  • The High Sierra Trail is a strenuous backpacking trail. It is roughly 61 miles in length (to the summit of Mount Whitney where it “technically” ends), but around 72 miles when you hike down to Whitney Portal.

When to Go:

  • It is probably best to aim to do this hike July through early October for best chances of a clear trail. Personally, I'd opt for September, because that will be the best temperatures.

When to Apply for high sierra trail permits:

  • From late May to late September there is a 30 people quota daily limit for entering the High Sierra Trail (20 reservable and 10 walk in). These quota limits are based off of your entry point trailhead. So be sure to provide alternative trailhead/entries to increase your chances of getting a permit.

  • Applications for this season begin March 1st at 12:01 Pacific Time, and at a MINIMUM must be reserved at least 2 weeks in advance of your trip. So if you for sure know you want to apply to the High Sierra Trail, be ready on March 1st.

How to Apply:

  • You can only apply by email or U.S. mail.

  • You must first fill out a Wilderness Permit Application which can be found here. Then you attach that form as a pdf and email it to seki_wilderness_reservations@nps.gov.

How Much Does it Cost:

  • When your reservation is completed, you will be emailed instructions and a Permit ID with information on how to pay.

  • Your High Sierra Trail permit will cost $10 plus $5 per person for any quota season hiking. These fees are non-refundable.

  • If you want to make changes to your entry date or trailhead, then you must do so at least one week before your entry and it is subject to availability.

Other Useful Information:

  • If you would like to start your trip at Mount Whitney, then you will need to follow the process described in the Inyo National Forest Section for further details.


10. inyo national forest permits

Make sure you understand how to grab your Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permits with this process below.

Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permits are probably the most common permits that I apply for. Wilderness permits are required year round. Many hikes in the Sierra Nevada require Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permits such as the following:

  • Overnight trips in the Ansel Adams, John Muir, Hoover, or Golden Trout Wilderness.

  • Overnight trips that start in Inyo National Forest and that will travel into Yosemite, Sequoia or Kings Canyon Wilderness.

  • Day use and Overnight trips into the Mt Whitney Zone.

When to Go:

  • The best time to go hiking in the Sierra Nevada and Inyo National Forest wilderness areas is during the summer months, usually early July to early October (conditions dependent).

When to Apply:

  • Most trails can be reserved up to 6 months in advance. So for reservations in the summer months (July through October) you will be looking to make reservations starting in January to April

How to Apply:

  • Different trails have different trail quotas, so it is best to check online to see how competitive the trails will be for getting Inyo permits.

  • May 1 - November 1: Quota season when number of people per day is limited

  • June 29 - September 15: Special quota season on Cottonwood Pass

  • November 2 - April 30: Permit issued at visitor center for non-quota season (no reservations)

  • Reservations can be made at Recreation.gov

How Much Does it Cost:

  • Reservation fee (non-refundable) costs $6 per application

  • Plus an additional $5 per person recreation fee unless you are entering the Mt. Whitney Zone (Mt. Whitney, North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, and Trail Crest Exit) which is $15 per person

  • You can cancel your reservation up to 22 days in advance for a full refund of your “recreation fee” (not reservation fee)

  • Reservations can’t be sold or transferred

Other Useful Information:

  • Group leader must have the signed permit with them at all times

  • Everyone in the group must start the hike at the same time as determined by the permit

  • Group size can’t exceed what is stated on your permit application

  • There is a max size of 15 people allowed per group

  • The permit expires after your assigned exit date

  • Reserved permits can be picked up one or two days before the entry date, or on the entry date.

  • If you don’t pick up your permit by 10am of entry date, your permit is forfeited (unless you call ahead and arrange for late pickup)

  • If your trip ends at Whitney Portal, your must specify in the permit the exit date and location with “Mt Whitney (Trail Crest Exit)”

Read More!

Looking for more hikes in the Inyo National Forest Wilderness? Check out these resources on our site:


11. coastal california campgrounds

California Coast

California Coast

It was hard to mention permit deadlines and reservations without at least touching on all the great campsite options there are in California. Although it's not a one-size-fits-all system, I hope this can guide you a bit on your planning. 

When and How to Apply:

  • To start, many campgrounds in California are on a first-come-first-serve basis and are in high demand year round. If you want to go to one of those campgrounds, you will have better luck if grabbing a site on a weekday.

  • Campgrounds that are available for reservations can typically be made through Reserveamerica.com. These reservations are often available year-round and up to a year in advance.

Popular Coastal Campsite Recommendations:

read more!

Looking for more coastal goodness? Check out these resources on our site:


12. Lost Coast Trail Permits

In the past you didn’t have to reserve lost coast trail permits in advance, but the rules have changed.

About the lost coast Trail:

  • In the past you didn’t have to reserve lost coast trail permits in advance, but the rules have changed. These are are also know as King Range Wilderness Permits.

  • The Lost Coast trail lies along California’s beautiful rugged coastline and follows some of its most isolated and breathtaking beaches. This coastline is so rugged, in fact, that they were unable to continue the well-known Highway 1 road along this stretch of California and instead had to continue the highway inland.

  • The Lost Coast trail is roughly 25 miles long if hiked point to point, but you’ll need to make sure to arrange transportation in advance..

When to Go:

  • The beauty of the Lost Coast Trail hike is that it can be practically hiked year-round thanks to the fabulous nature of California coastal weather.

  • You will have to plan your hiking time accordingly in order to avoid high tide where parts of the trail will be completely impossible to cross at certain times of the day. Definitely grab a tide table before your hike, and make sure it is the current tide table as the high tide times change throughout the year.

When to Apply for Lost Coast backpacking permit:

  • Permits are required for overnight camping on this trail (day-hiking requires no permit).

  • The block of permits available for each year are released the prior year on October 1. So basically, if you are planning way far in advance, you’ll have the best chances getting the exact date that you want if you look on October 1st of the prior year. However, if you don’t know that far in advance, you can apply at anytime online.

How to Apply:

  • You can apply for you lost coast permits online at Recreation.gov. The permits are first-come, first-serve, and there are no lottery or walk-in permits available, so you must do this in advance.

  • There are daily quotas for entering the trail, and the quotas are as follows:

    • May 15 - September 15: 60 people allowed to enter the trail per day

    • September 16 - May 14: 30 people allowed to enter the trail per day

How Much Does it Cost:

  • There is currently no recreation fee for hiking the Lost Coast Trail and getting a King Range Wilderness Permit. However, there is a non-refundable reservation fee that costs $6 per person.

Other Useful Information:

  • You may only have a group that is max of 15 people, however the reservation limit size is 5. So if you have a bigger group than 5, you’ll have to grab multiple permits.

  • Permits are non-transferrable.


Big Sur Backpacking Permit & Big Sur Camping Reservations

Get the details below on what you need to do to get Big Sur backpacking permits and Big Sur Camping Reservations

Details coming soon!


Before you leave, be sure to Grab Our Free Backpacking Packing Checklist!

backpacking-checklist

Looking for more resources?

If you’re looking for more outdoor resources, check out some of my guides below!

Hope this article was helpful, don't forget to mark your calendars for these important reservation deadlines!

Cheers,

Allison - She Dreams of Alpine


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