POPULAR TRAILS & NATIONAL PARKS: PERMIT DEADLINES & RESERVATION PROCESSES FOR 2018
2018 is here. What’s on your bucketlist? Havasu Falls? The John Muir Trail?
If you’ve got your eye on a popular National Park day hike or epic backpacking trip, you’ll want to pay close attention to the permit deadlines and processes. There’s nothing worse than getting your gear and planning everything out only to find out you missed the permit deadline and reservations are full.
In this new blog post, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite National Parks and trails and given you all of the backpacking and camping permit application process and deadline details on one page. So mark your calendars and get organized for a fantastic year of adventure.
Havasu Falls Camping Reservations
When are Havasu Falls permits available?
In 2018, permits will available beginning February 1st for the entire calendar year.
Havasu Falls Reservation Process
Cost of Havasu Falls Permit
These are the 2018 fees per person:
- 2 Days / 1 Night: $140.56 per person
- 3 Days / 2 Nights: $171.11 per person
- 4 Days / 3 Nights: $201.67 per person
Weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), Holiday weekday nights (February 19, May 28, July 4, September 3, October 8), and Spring Break weekday nights (March 5-8 and 19-22) are an additional $18.33 per night.
Make sure to write down your reservation number, as you will not receive any sort of confirmation by email or mail. No alcohol or drones are allowed on the reservation. Please be respectful.
Read More on Havasu Falls
The Wave Day-Hiking Permits
When are Wave permits available?
The Wave permit applications are accepted starting at 12 pm MST on the 1st of the month and for the remainder of that month, four months prior to your desired hiking month.
Here’s a helpful permit calendar if you plan to hike to the Wave:
The Wave Permit Application Process
To apply for a Wave permit, 4 months in advance of your trip, register on the Coyote Buttes North lottery page. On your application, you can choose up to 3 dates. 10 permits are also available daily through an in-person lottery at the Visitors Center in Kanab, Utah.
Cost of a Wave Permit
Permits are $7 per person per day.
Helpful Tips for the Wave
- Make sure you choose Coyote Buttes NORTH. Coyote Buttes South applies to a different trail.
- Dogs are allowed. Please pick up after them.
- The trail is not well marked. Please consult with the ranger beforehand if you have any questions and bring a map and plenty of water.
Get our detailed trip report for Hiking the Wave in Arizona
Banff, Jasper & Yoho National Parks – Backcountry Camping
When are Backcountry permits available for Banff, Jasper & Yoho National Parks?
Canadian National Park reservation availability varies by location. Reservations open on the following dates:
- Jasper National Park backcountry camping reservations (Maligne Lake kayaking): January 24, 2018 at 8am MST
- Banff, Lake Louise & Yoho backcountry camping reservations (Lake O’Hara): March 1st, 2018 at 8am MST
- Lake O’Hara Day-Use Bus reservations: April 20th, 2018 at 8am MST
If you are interested in car camping in the Canadian Rockies, car campground reservations open up on the following dates:
- Jasper National Park: January 9th, 2018 at 8am MST
- Banff National Park / Lake Louise: January 10th, 2018 at 8am MST
- Waterton Lakes National Park: January 11th, 2018 at 8am MST
Canadian Rockies Backcountry Permit Application Process
Reservations can be made on the Canadian National Parks website.
You’ll need to know what type of camping or activity you’re looking to do:
- Frontcountry camping (aka a campground with car camping or RV sites)
- A cabin, oTENTik, or equipped campsite (for those who like glamping)
- Backcountry camping (for those who prefer backpacking & wilderness sites)
- Day Use Areas (such as guided hikes or the Lake O’Hara bus)
- West Coast Trail
In addition to the park you’ll be visiting, you’ll need to know your arrival date and duration of stay to search for available options.
Cost of Backcountry Camping Permits
Varies by the park and/or type of reservation.
Make sure your passport is up to date!
Check out our detailed Lake O’Hara Camping Guide
Yellowstone National Park Campsite Reservations
When are Yellowstone National Park reservations available?
Reservations can be made online beginning MAY 1st for the following summer season. This means if you are planning to visit Yellowstone in summer 2019 you can make reservations beginning May 1st, 2018. Reservations often book up months in advance for both the campgrounds and lodges in Yellowstone.
Yellowstone Camping Reservations Process
You can make reservations online through Yellowstone’s exclusive lodging website that includes all reservable options.
Cost of Yellowstone Campground Reservation
Varies by campground and/or type of lodging
Keep in mind only 5 of the 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone take advance reservations, the rest are first-come, first-serve.
Popular Yellowstone Posts
John Muir Trail Thru-Hiking Permits
When are John Muir Trail permits available?
Permits for the John Muir Trail (JMT), if you plan to start in Yosemite National Park, are available 168 days (24 weeks) in advance of your anticipated start date. The lottery deadline is at 7:30 am PST on the day faxes are processed (see the third column in charts below).
Most hikers start in July or August depending on how much snow the winter prior brought to the Sierras.
John Muir Trail Permit Application Process
You can fax your JMT permit 2 days prior to the lottery dates. All applications should be submitted by FAX to (209) 372 -0739.
For John Muir Trail permits, if your dates are flexible, you can choose a date range of up to three weeks. If you are unsuccessful in the lottery for your first preferred date, your application will roll to the lottery on the next date. Lottery results are announced via email.
Cost of a John Muir Trail Permit
If your permit is confirmed there is a $5.00 permit fee and a $5.00 per person reservation fee.
You’ll need to include the following details on your permit application:
- Which trailhead you plan to start from
- Desired entry date into Yosemite
- Where you plan to camp your first night
- Your total trip length
- Exit Trailhead
- Total number in your party
- If you’d like a permit for hiking Half-Dome
Over 70% of SOBO Yosemite National Park JMT permits are denied, so we strongly encourage you to reference our full Guide to the JMT Permit Process.
Plan a JMT Thru-Hike
Pacific Crest Trail Permits
When are Pacific Crest Trail permits available?
PCT permits are available significantly earlier than previous years. On Nov. 1st at 10:30am PST, 35 permits per day will be available. On Jan. 17th at 10:30am PST, 15 additional permits per day will be available. These permits are available through an online application process.
Pacific Crest Trail Permit Application Process
If you’re planning to travel over 500 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Pacific Crest Trail Association can issue an interagency long-distance permit. We encourage you to read detailed information on what to expect when thru-hiking the PCT as well as the permit process on the PCTA website prior to submitting your permit. You need to know the following information for the permit:
- Start date & location (once you select a date it’s locked for 13 minutes to complete the rest of the application)
- End date & location
- Whether or not you want to pay for the Mount Whitney permit (this allows you to descend the mountain eastbound)
To start your application visit the PCTA Permit page.
Cost of a Pacific Crest Trail Permit
Get ready for your thru-hike with our training guide.
Zion National Park Permits
When are Zion National Park permits available?
Permits for backpacking in Zion are required, including the Narrows and all other trails. A majority of the campsites are available for advanced reservation, while 1/3 are set aside for walk-ups on a first-come, first serve basis. For advanced reservations, permits are available on the 5th day of every month at 10 am MST, three months before your trip.
Here’s a helpful Zion National Park permit calendar for planning your trip. If you’re planning to backpack in Zion in…
- March, reservations are available beginning January 5 at 10am MST
- April, reservations are available beginning February 5 at 10am MST
- May, reservations are available beginning March 5 at 10am MST
- June, reservations are available beginning April 5 at 10am MST
- July, reservations are available beginning May 5 at 10am MST
- August, reservations are available beginning June 5 at 10am MST
- September, reservations are available beginning July 5 at 10am MST
- October, reservations are available beginning August 5 at 10am MST
- November, reservations are available beginning September 5 at 10am MST
- December, reservations are available beginning October 5 at 10am MST
- January, reservations are available beginning November 5 at 10am MST
- February, reservations are available beginning December 5 at 10am MST
You don’t need a permit to day-hike in Zion, except for day hiking the Narrows from Top-Down and the Subway. Permits for a top-down day hike of the Zion Narrows are available online up to three months in advance. The Top-Down day hike is listed as a “canyoneering” permit and can be reserved here.
Zion Narrows Permit Application Process
Zion National Park uses an online calendar system to reserve your backpacking permit. You’ll need to know the backcountry site you want to overnight at before applying for a permit. The first page of the application process includes a list of all backcountry sites with the maximum group size they can accommodate nightly.
For walk-up permits, stop by the Visitor’s Center any time the day before your trip. The earlier you arrive, the more likely you will be successful in obtaining a walk-up permit.
Cost of a Zion Narrows Permit
There is a $5.00 non-refundable fee for an online calendar reservation, and there is an additional charge for a permit that is determined by the size of your group.
Zion has a lot to explore! If you can’t get an overnight backpacking permit there are some incredible day hikes in the park to keep you busy for a whole week.
Our Favorite Zion Posts
Grand Canyon National Park Permits
When are Grand Canyon National Park permits available?
Permits are required for all Grand Canyon National Park backpacking trips. Permits should be submitted by 5 pm MST on the 1st of the month that is four months prior to your proposed start date. You can submit up to 10 days earlier but it won’t increase your chances vs. submitting on the 1st.
Here’s a calendar to help.
Grand Canyon Permit Application Process
You can download the Backcountry Permit Request form from the GCNPS website. Grand Canyon National Park permits are only accepted via fax, mail or delivery it directly to the Backcountry Information Center. You’ll need to know your night by night itinerary
Cost of Grand Canyon National Park Backpacking Permit
$10 per permit plus $8 per person or stock animal per night for camping below the rim and $8 per group per night for camping above the rim. If your request is denied you don’t have to pay.
7 consecutive nights is the maximum number per itinerary. It is easier to get a permit for small groups (6 or less) than a large group so limit the size of your group or break your group up to increase your chances.
Can’t get a permit? Read our guide to day-hiking the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden in the Grand Canyon.
Paria Canyon Backpacking Permits
When are Paria Canyon permits available?
Permits are required for both day hiking & overnight trips in Paria Canyon & Buckskin Gulch. You can apply for a permit beginning at 12 pm MST on the 1st of every month, 4 months before the month of your hike.
Here’s a calendar to help. If you plan to hike in…
- September, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST May 1st
- October, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST June 1st
- November, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST July 1st
- December, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST August 1st
- January, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST September 1st
- February, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST October 1st
- March, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST November 1st
- April, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST December 1st
- May, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST January 1st
- June, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST February 1st
- July, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST March 1st
- August, reservations should be submitted by 12pm MST April 1st
Paria Canyon Permit Application Process
Overnight permits for camping must be obtained through the Paria Canyon online permit application system.
The BLM only allows a total of 20 people per day to enter the canyon on overnight permits, and that is across all of the trailheads.
Cost of Paria Canyon Permit
An overnight permit is $5 per person per day. Dogs are also allowed for an extra fee of $6 per dog per day.
Overnight permits can also be obtained in person at the Paria Contact Station the day of your hike IF there are any permits available.
Read our Paria Canyon Hiking Guide for more information on permits & preparing for your trip.
WHAT BACKPACKING TRAIL AND NATIONAL PARK PERMITS WILL YOU BE APPLYING FOR THIS YEAR? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW & SHARE YOUR PLANS!