*PLEASE NOTE: In response to COVID-19, the Yosemite Conservancy wilderness team has implemented a new online contact form. At this time, this online form is the best way to reach us with questions about your wilderness permit. *
Yosemite Wilderness Permit Process
Note the following important changes to the wilderness permit process for 2021:
- A day-use reservation is required to enter Yosemite National Park. Day-use reservations are included for all visitors with wilderness and Half Dome permits.
- First-come, first-served wilderness permit reservations will be available online using a two-week lottery.
- A reservation is not a valid wilderness permit. If you have a wilderness permit reservation, you must go to any wilderness center during open hours one day in advance or the same day to pick up your wilderness permit.
- Parking permits are required. If you enter the park with a Yosemite Wilderness Permit, you need to collect a parking permit from a wilderness center.
- Winter permits (November-April) are required, but you do not need to apply online or reserve in advance. Winter permits are available at all permit-issuing stations around the park. You must pick up your permit at the station that is closest to your trailhead.
On this page, you’ll find additional details about how to prepare for your wilderness experience and apply for a permit. Please read all the information carefully before proceeding with your permit application. Thank you!
Wilderness permit reservations are available up to 24 weeks (168 days) in advance. View a table with the earliest dates for reservation requests (see below for information about first-come, first-served permits).
The cost for each confirmed reservation is $5 plus $5 per person. This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. All changes to existing permit reservations must be made by the trip leader.
Trailhead Quota System
Yosemite National Park has a trailhead quota system limiting the number of people entering a particular trailhead on a given day. This system is designed to reduce impact and avoid overcrowding. Of each daily quota for a trailhead, 60% can be reserved ahead of time, up to 24 weeks (168 days) in advance.
Normally, 40% of wilderness permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis at park wilderness centers. In 2021, this portion of wilderness permit reservations will be available online using a two-week lottery. You can apply 15 days in advance of your desired start date, with the lottery running 14 days in advance. The last day to apply for a permit is three days before a trip.
A reservation is not a valid wilderness permit. If you have a wilderness permit reservation, you must go to any wilderness center during open hours one day in advance or the same day to pick up your wilderness permit. The buildings are closed to the public and all education and interactions take place outside, with proper social distancing measures in place.
The quota system is based on when and where you begin your hike, and in some cases, where you camp the first night of your trip. For this reason (even with multiday permits) you may not begin your trip on any day except the entry day specified on the permit. Your permit is valid only for the entry trailhead specified. After the first night, you are allowed to hike unrestricted within the network of trails accessible from your entry trailhead.
Wilderness permits are required in winter (November–April) but are available on a self-registration basis. No reservations are necessary. During winter, self-register for permits at any normal permit-issuing station. View locations and hours for self-registration and bear-proof canister rentals. For trips beginning at Badger Pass Ski Area, you must get your permit at the Badger Pass Ranger Station (“A-frame”).
Planning Your Wilderness Trip
Please plan your trip before you make a reservation. Park rangers will not plan your trip for you.
It is your responsibility to research trails and trail conditions to decide which trip is right for you and your group. You may encounter snowy conditions and dangerous river crossings well into the summer months.
Before you make a reservation, please have the following information available: name the permit will be under, mailing address, daytime telephone number, number of people, number of stock (horses, mules, llamas), start and end dates, beginning and ending trailheads, principal destination (to help clarify trailhead). View trailhead information.
Parking permits are required. If you enter the park with a Yosemite Wilderness Permit, you need to collect a parking permit from a wilderness center. If you are entering with multiple cars from the same permit, you will need to meet up before entering Yosemite National Park and caravan in with the trip leader at the front.
Make a Reservation
The reservation office is open mid-November through end of September and accepts reservations for trips from May through October. You can make reservations online.
Reservations are not necessary for trips during November through April, but permits are still required via self-registration.
Reserve online. Use the link below to begin the online application process. The online form is structured similar to the fax form — you will be able to list three options for your trip but only one will be granted. You will be notified of the results within two full business days. If you do not hear from us within that time, please contact us. If your reservation is granted, you will receive an email notification requesting the processing fee payment via a secure online platform. You have 48 hours to pay for your reservation. Denied requests will not be charged. Half Dome permits obtained in association with a wilderness permit are paid for in person at the Wilderness Center when you collect your permit.
If you are visually impaired, a reservation assistant is available to help you complete this form. Please email [email protected] with the subject line “Assistance Desired.” In the body of the email include your name, contact information, and the best time of day to reach you. Please allow one full business day for a reservation assistant to contact you.
John Muir Trail hikers: If you are flexible on the start date for your trip, you may now submit one application for a longer range of dates by use of the JMT rolling lottery application. This form should be used by anyone requesting a backpacking permit to hike from Yosemite outside the park boundary over Donohue Pass, primarily John Muir Trail hikers.
Note: In 2015, the National Park Service began enforcing an exit quota for backpackers exiting Yosemite over Donohue Pass. For more information, please visit the Yosemite National Park page on wilderness permits for JMT hikers.
Half Dome Permits
Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required when the cables are up. Weather permitting, the cables are up late May to early October.
Day-use permits for Half Dome are not available in the park. Permits for the regular season are available through a lottery during the month of March each year. Approximately 50 permits will be available on a daily basis through a two-day-in-advance lottery. You can enter this two-day-in-advance lottery at the link below.
If you obtained a Half Dome permit in association with a wilderness permit, payment is made in person at the Wilderness Center when you collect your permit.
For more information about Half Dome permits, visit the Yosemite National Park website.
If space is available within the same season, you may request to change your existing reservation date or trailhead for an additional processing fee of $5. If you have questions regarding your reservation or you would like to make changes to an existing reservation, please use this form to get in touch.
Bear-Proof Canister Rental
All overnight backpackers are also required to carry NPS-approved bear-proof canisters for storing food and other items. If you do not have your own bear-proof canister we can provide a rental.
A very important part of preserving the wilderness experience is keeping bears wild. Wild bears on natural diets stay healthy and are wary of approaching hikers. Storing your food in bear-proof canisters and never feeding bears keeps both backpackers and bears safe.
Fees Support the Park
Fees collected from permits and canisters are put to work in the park, in projects ranging from wildlife protection to educational programs.
If part of your Yosemite experience is heading into the wilderness, the Conservancy is here to help you secure your permit and bear-proof canister.