Free wilderness permits are required year-round for any overnight stay in the Yosemite Wilderness. Permits are not required for day hikes (except if hiking to Half Dome). (If your backpacking itinerary reasonably includes Half Dome and you want to include Half Dome on your trip, be sure to request Half Dome permits on your wilderness permit application. This year, there is a $8/person charge.)
Wilderness permits are only issued to a limited number people for each trailhead in order to provide outstanding opportunities for solitude, as required by the Wilderness Act. Since many trails are very popular, reservations are recommended ($5 per confirmed reservation plus $5 per person). Of each daily quota for a trailhead, 60 percent can be reserved ahead of time while the remaining 40 percent is available on a first-come, first-served basis no earlier than 11 am the day before your hike begins as long as permits are available.
If your starting trailhead is outside Yosemite National Park, get your permit from the land agency that manages that trailhead. Common examples:
- Twin Lakes (Robinson Creek): Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
- Virginia Lakes: Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
- Chiquito Pass: Sierra National Forest
- Quartz Mountain: Sierra National Forest
- Lake Eleanor: Stanislaus National Forest
- Cherry Lake: Stanislaus National Forest
- Saddlebag Lake: Inyo National Forest
Still have questions? You can call us at 209/372-0826 (Monday-Friday, 9 am to noon and 1 pm to 4:30 pm). This phone line is only staffed with wilderness rangers during summer. For wilderness permit reservations, call 209/372-0740.