Inyo National Forest - Wilderness Permits, Inyo National Forest - Recreation.gov (2024)

Inyo National Forest

Located in California's beautiful eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Inyo National Forest offers challenging trails, high mountain peaks, and unparalleled views. Several of our trails give entry to the John Muir Trail or Pacific Crest Trail with the opportunity to trek in the longest roadless section of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Our trails offer possibilities for hiking, photography, peak bagging, fishing, or simply enjoying the pristine beauty of the High Sierra. Whether you are seeking solitude, exceptional scenery, or sharing a wilderness adventure, there are many ways to create a memorable experience.

Come, take a deep breath of clean mountain air. Put on your pack and hit the trail. Come to experience nature and let it refresh your spirit. Places to explore include the Ansel Adams, John Muir, Golden Trout, Hoover, and South Sierra wildernesses. Trips beginning on Inyo National Forest may continue into the wilderness areas of Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks.

As you plan your trip, remember that we must take care of this amazing place. While you are here, be respectful of water, woods, and wildlife. Travel lightly on the land. Remember to leave this place undamaged so it will continue to be what we seek of wilderness.

Learn more about planning and preparing for a wilderness trip (PDF) in Inyo National Forest.

Wilderness permit is required year round for overnight trips into John Muir, Ansel Adams, Golden Trout and Hoover Wilderness, and Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks. Only the leader or alternate specified in the reservation may pick up or use the permit.

Trips sponsored by organizations or commercial groups must contact the wilderness permit office, a special use permit may be needed.

Notifications and Alerts

    • Check weather and road closures before choosing a trip in winter or spring. Check Alerts and Closures for Inyo National Forest. Contact Inyo or Mono County Roads for road closure information. Check the weather forecast for the area you want to visit.
    • For the 2024 summer season Red's Meadow Road will be under construction. Access to Red's Meadow area trails (Beck, Fern, Fish, High Trail, JMT North, JMT South, Minaret Lake, River Trail, Shadow Creek) will be COMPLETELY CLOSED TO BOTH ENTRY AND EXIT Monday through Thursday. Entry and exit will only be permitted Friday through Sunday. This schedule will take place June 7th through September 15th (expanded schedule for holidays* ). A 7 day a week closure from September 15th through the end of the quota season may be in effect. Changes may take place pending determination by the Federal Highways Administration. Please read this press release for more details* .

Permit & Season Information

Reservations open daily ONLINE at 7AM PST:

  • 60% of quota is released 6 months in advance, on the matching date (example entry date of July 4 opens on January 4)
  • "NR" means 60% of quota was posted and sold out, 40% of quota remains but is not yet released
  • 40% of quota is released 2 weeks in advance, on the same day of the week (example entry date of Tuesday July 4 opens on Tuesday June 20)

Permits required YEAR ROUND for overnight trips to Ansel Adams, John Muir, Hoover & Golden Trout Wilderness areas

Group leader is responsible to ensure everyone in their group understands & obeys the conditions of the permit

  • Signed permit must be in group leader’s possession
  • Alternate permit holders cannot be added after making reservation
  • Group must start on entry date & location on permit
  • Permit is only valid for one continuous wilderness trip
  • Groups cannot combine to exceed 15 people
  • For trips ending at Mt Whitney (Whitney Portal) the permit must specify exit point of “Mt Whitney (Trail Crest Exit)”

Need to Know

All wilderness permits are reserved online. If you see "W" it means 60% of spaces were posted 6 months ago and sold out, the remaining 40% of spaces will be released 2 weeks in advance on the same day of the week at 7am Pacific Time.

No Show Deadline: Permit will be canceled unless printed from home or traditionally issued before the deadline, 10am on the entry date.

Print at Home: As early as one week before the trip you can print at home. Once you print your permit you do not need to check in at the visitor center.After printing you cannot make changes unless you contact the wilderness permit office or go to the visitor center for assistance. Link to full Permit Printing Instructions

Traditional Check In: Do before 10am on your entry date. Check for open hours before you go to the visitor center. Traditional check in includes the chance to ask questions in person, rent a bear can, or purchase maps along with printing the permit.

Still Have Questions? Contact the wilderness permit office if you have questions or need to reissue a permit with corrections. Phone: 8am to 4:30pm, closed 12pm to 1pm for lunch, 7 days a week May-October, M-F November-April, 760-873-2483

Checklist Before You Print:

Review details and verify final group size before you print permit.

Safety Is Your Responsibility!

Leave trip information with a friend with instructions of when to report you overdue. Search & Rescue Mountain Safety Message.

  • Check weather and trail conditions.
  • Do not rely on cell phone for communication or navigation, most of the forest has no cell service.
  • Come prepared to find your way. Download maps and emergency information before starting your trip.
  • Plan to be self-sufficient. Bring adequate supplies of food, water, and clothing.
  • Learn symptoms of altitude sickness

Be Bear Aware

Be alert when arriving at night in areas with bear activity. Bear resistant food storage containers are recommended for all wilderness travelers.

  • Review wilderness rules for specific areas where food storage containers are required .
  • Do not leave food or refuse in your car or tent. Do not leave food unattended.
  • In campgrounds and parking areas with bear proof lockers, all food and scented items must be removed from vehicles and secured in the lockers. Dispose of trash in bear resistant trash cans.

Human Waste Disposal

There are no restrooms in the wilderness.

  • Visitors to the Mt. Whitney area are expected to pack-out their solid human waste with wag bags.
  • In other areas poop should be buried six to eight inches deep and at least 100 feet or more from water sources, trails, or campsites.

Behave Responsibly

Respect other visitor’s desire for quiet and solitude. Please help protect this natural resource and leave it unmarked for future visitors. Familiarize yourself with the seven principles of Leave No Trace and review wilderness rules with all members of your group.

  • Pack out all your trash, help keep our wilderness areas pristine.
  • Protect water quality, don’t use soap in natural waterways, even biodegradable soap can damage aquatic life. Waste water should be scattered at least 100 feet away from any water source.
  • Don’t cut switchbacks, shortcutting damages the trail and adds to erosion.
  • No drones, they are prohibited in wilderness.
  • No loud audio devices, let the sounds of nature be part of the wilderness experience.
  • Campfires are restricted in many areas, wood growth is very slow at high elevation and what little wood exists helps sustain the natural soil, plant and animal community.
  • Do not camp on vegetation, these fragile areas are easily damaged. Choose a campsite at least 100 feet away from lakes, streams, or trails.

Fee Policy

Reservation Fee:

A $6.00 non-refundable reservation fee is required for each permit reservation. Reservation fees are used to finance the online reservation system and software for permit data.

Recreation Fee:

A per person recreation fee is charged for your group when reserving a wilderness permit for entry on Inyo National Forest trails.

The recreation fees are used to finance the on-the-ground wilderness programs in Inyo National Forest.

  • A $15.00 per person recreation fee is charged for trips entering the Whitney Zone (Mt. Whitney, North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, and Trail Crest Exit).
  • A $5.00 per person recreation fee is charged for all other areas.

There are no discounts for annual passes, military, seniors, or children. All people count for wilderness quotas and fees.

Fees cannot be transferred to other dates or trails. No rain checks or credits.

Cancellation Policy

Reservations cannot be sold or transferred. Only the group leader or listed alternate can pick up or use the permit. Leader or alternate leader names cannot be changed or added.

Changes you can make online after making your reservation:

  • Reducing group size.
  • Corrections to itinerary, exit date, and exit location can be done online or when the permit is issued at a visitor center.
  • Cancel your reservation online, the per person fee will be refunded automatically if you complete the cancelation at least 12 full days before your entry date.

Refunds:

No refund if you cancel your reservation less than 12 days before the entry date. No refund of reservation fee.

Log onto your account at Recreation.gov to make changes or call the wilderness permit office for Inyo National Forest for reservation assistance (760) 873-2483.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

351 Pacu Lane Bishop CA 93514

Phone Number

760-873-2483

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Inyo National Forest - Wilderness Permits, Inyo National Forest - Recreation.gov (2024)

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