The Hottest Permits: Get Your Summer Planning on Now


Sarah Horn

Be a planning pro. Now is the time to start reserving permits for those high demand places.

Permit and campground reservation season is upon us. Many of the most popular trails have already opened their online systems for reservations -- some of these already have most of their reservations spoken for (ahem...Havasupai). Don't miss out on your ideal adventure this year, make sure you nab the permits you want. Here's a break down of some of the hottest commodity permits in the West you can still reserve:

Mt. Whitney Permits 

Permit lottery is open until March 15th and results announced March 24th. I've had luck getting a same day walk up permit, but I wouldn't count on that approach. 

Yosemite's Half Dome 

Pre-season lottery is open March 1st through March 31st with result announced mid-April.

Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail 

Permit reservations of the summer 2018 season open on March 15th. This is a 93 mile trail that circumnavigates Mt. Rainier. The park service instituted an online permit reservation system last year, but rangers still process the trip itinerary's since people can submit multiple itinerary options. So, don't call and ask for updates -- it slows down the process for all of us. It can take up to 6 weeks to hear back. 

Yosemite Wilderness Permits 

The lottery is now opening for late August entry. You can also check the permit quote for select trailheads to see what the availability is -- it's still early enough to reserve high demand trailheads. 

Glacier National Park Wilderness Permits 

Online permit system opens for standard sized groups (1-8) on March 13th and opened on March 1st for larger groups.

Fire Lookouts 

You can rent tons of fire look outs throughout the west and they're in high demand. Here's a list of rentable look outs in WA, OR, ID, MT and WY.



For Next Year:


An online reservation system opened this year! This is great but it also means nearly all the reservations sell out same day. Mark your calendar for Feb. 1st (that's what it was this year).

The Enchantments in Washington 

Online lottery runs from Feb. 15th - March 2nd and always book up. 

Mt. Saint Helens 

For us PNWers, this is one of the most accessible, popular volcanoes to climb. Online reservations opened on Feb. 26 and were sold out quickly. April still has availability, which is a great time to go for skiing/boarding with the right weather window.

Published: March 6, 2018

Sarah Horn Explorer

Out there getting wind blown, shaking out the fear and tripping around trails.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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