JANUARY

01: The Wave lottery registration opens for May permits
05: Zion lottery registration opens for March permits
05: Brooks Camp reservations open for the entire season Jun 1 - Sep 18
07: Grand Tetons permit applications accepted 8:00am MT
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for May 15 to June 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for June trips
30: Boundary Waters reservations for all permits open 9:00am ET

FEBRUARY

01: Havasupai reservations open for the year
01: Mt Whitney permit lottery registration opens
01: The Wave lottery registration opens for June permits
05: Zion lottery registration opens for April permits
11: Grand Teton backcountry permit reservations go live
15: Enchantments permit lottery registration opens 12:01am PT
15: Conundrum Hot Springs permits for April 1 to July 31 available for reservation 8:00am MT
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for June 15 to July 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for July trips
22: Conundrum Hot Springs permits for campsites 1, 19 & 20 available for reservation 8:00am MT
28: Zion campsites at Watchman Campground (Loops A & C) open (approximately)

MARCH

01: Half Dome Cables permit lottery registration opens for the entire month
01: Rocky Mountain wilderness campsite reservations open
01: The Wave lottery registration opens for July permits
02: Enchantments permit lottery registration closes 11:59pm PT
05: Zion lottery registration opens for May permits
07: Zion campsites at Watchman Campground (Loops D, E, F) open (approximately)
13: Enchantments lottery results published 9:01pm PT
15: Glacier backcountry permit lottery open TODAY ONLY
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for July 15 to August 14
15: Zion campsites at Watchman Campground (Loop B) open (approximately)
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for August trips
24: Mt Whitney lottery results published
31: Half Dome Cables permit lottery registration closes 11:59pm PT

APRIL

01: Mt Whitney reservations open for remaining dates
01: Enchantments unclaimed permits returned to reservation system
01: The Wave lottery registration opens for August permits
05: Zion lottery registration opens for June permits
10: Half Dome Cables lottery results published
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for August 15 to September 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for September trips

MAY

01: The Wave lottery registration opens for September permits
01: Denali Road lottery application period opens for the entire month
05: Zion lottery registration opens for July permits
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for September 15 to October 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for October trips
31: Denali Road lottery application period ends

JUNE

01: The Wave lottery registration opens for October permits
05: Zion lottery registration opens for August permits
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for October 15 to November 14
15: Conundrum Hot Springs permits for Aug 1 to Nov 30 available for reservation 8:00am MT
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for November trips

JULY

01: The Wave lottery registration opens for November permits
05: Zion lottery registration opens for September permits
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for November 15 to December 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for December trips

AUGUST

01: The Wave lottery registration opens for December permits
01: Yellowstone snowmobile permit lottery applications accepted (closes Aug 31)
05: Zion lottery registration opens for October permits
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for December 15 to January 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for January trips
31: Yellowstone snowmobile permit lottery application period ends 11:59pm MT

SEPTEMBER

01: The Wave lottery registration opens for January permits
10: Yellowstone snowmobile permit lottery winner announced
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for January 15 to February 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for February trips

OCTOBER

01: The Wave lottery registration opens for February permits
05: Zion lottery registration opens for November permits
09: Yellowstone snowmobile remaining permit inventory made available to public at 8:00am
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for February 15 to March 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for March trips

NOVEMBER

01: The Wave lottery registration opens for March permits
05: Zion lottery registration opens for December permits
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for March 15 to April 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for April trips

DECEMBER

01: The Wave lottery registration opens for April permits
05: Zion lottery registration opens for January permits
15: Yosemite campground reservations open 7:00am PT for April 15 to May 14
20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for May trips


Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota

Boundary Waters // Photo: © Jim Brandenburg

Boundary Waters // Photo: © Jim Brandenburg

Jan 30: Boundary Waters reservations for all permits open 9:00am ET

  • Boundary Waters contains over 1,200 miles of canoe routes, 12 hiking trails and over 2,000 designated campsites.

  • Permits are required for any overnight trip between May 1 and September 30.

  • For any overnight trips between October 1 and April 30, simply fill out a self-issued permit at any of the Boundary Waters entry points.

  • Walk-up permits may be obtained at any permit issuing station on the entry date or one day prior, however reservations are highly recommended.

  • All permits for all entry points are available January 30 and can be booked online via Recreation.gov

Quick Links:

Reserve permits on Recreation.gov
Boundary Waters Trip Planning Guide with Maps
Superior National Forest website


Brooks Camp Bear Watching, Katmai National Park, Alaska

Brooks Camp Bear Bridge // Photo: Mark Meyer

Brooks Camp Bear Bridge // Photo: Mark Meyer

Jan 05: Brooks Camp reservations open for the entire season (Jun 1 - Sep 18)

Camping

  • I know camping sounds crazy, but the Brooks Camp Campground is surrounded by an electric fence and it’ll be about $1,000 less than any of the lodges available up there. They provide most standard campground amenities. They do have fire rings but visitors are not allowed to cook any food over the fire, because, ya know, BEARS!

  • There are lodges available through Katmailand but they’re expensive and the do a lottery for the chance to reserve a lodge 1.5 years out (the lottery period for 2020 reservations was in early February 2019).

Quick Links

Brooks Camp Campground (Website // Permits // Map)
Brooks Camp Live Webcams!
Book a lodge through Katmailand
Brooks Camp Hiking Trails
Fantastic write-up of a couple’s Brooks Camp experience at RandomCurrents.com


Conundrum Hot Springs, Colorado

Conundrum Hot Springs // Photo: Flickr user Wanderstruck

Conundrum Hot Springs // Photo: Flickr user Wanderstruck

Feb 15: Conundrum Hot Springs permits for April 1 to July 31 are available for advanced reservation 8:00am MT
Feb 22: Conundrum Hot Springs permits for campsites 1, 19 & 20 are available for advanced reservation 8:00am MT
Jun 15: Conundrum Hot Springs permits for Aug 1 to Nov 30 are available for advanced reservation 8:00am MT

  • The Conundrum Hot Springs are located about 8.5-miles (17mi. RT) from the Conundrum Creek Trailhead at 11,200ft above sea level. (Hike info on AllTrails). There are 20 campsites available for advance reservation on Recreation.gov.

  • These hot springs have been historically overused and abused in the past, leading to the current permit system. PLEASE do not abuse this area or any others and be sure to LEAVE NO TRACE!

  • The trail starts at 8,800 feet elevation and crosses Conundrum Creek 3 times along the way. Primitive log bridges span the first and the second crossings, but the third crossing requires wading through the creek which can be extremely difficult depending on the time of year and snowpack.

Quick Links

Conundrum Hot Springs campsite reservation page on Recreation.gov
Conundrum Hot Springs hike info on AllTrails
Conundrum Hot Springs “Everything You Need To Know” video
Conundrum Hot Springs FAQ and Map of Campsites


Denali Road, Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali Road // Photo: Nic McPhee

Denali Road // Photo: Nic McPhee

May 01: Denali Road lottery application period opens for the entire month
May 31: Denali Road lottery application period ends.

  • For 4 days in September, lucky permit winners are given the chance to purchase a single day-long permit which lets them drive as much of the Denali Park Road as the weather conditions allow. If the park has seen early snow, the Park Road might only be open as far as Savage River (mile 15). Otherwise, you will typically be able to drive all the way out to Wonder Lake (mile 85). Only 1,600 permits are awarded (400 per day), and last year there were 12,600 applicants.

  • Lottery applications are accepted from May 1 – May 31 on this Recreation.gov website.

Quick Links

Denali Road Permit Lottery Registration at Recreation.gov


Enchantments, Washington

Enchantments // Photo: CleverHiker.com

Enchantments // Photo: CleverHiker.com

Feb 15: Enchantments permit lottery registration opens 12:01am PT
Mar 02: Enchantments permit lottery registration closes 11:59pm PT
Mar 13: Enchantments lottery results published 9:01pm PT
Apr 01: Enchantments unclaimed permits returned to reservation system

  • A permit is required for all overnight trips in the Enchantments between May 15 and October 31. Permits allow your group to camp overnight in one of the five permit zones within the Enchantments Permit Area (map).

  • If you plan on day-hiking or thru-hiking, simply fill out a free day-use permit at your starting trailhead.

  • The five permit area zones are (map):

  • Core Enchantment Zone: 5 groups per day

  • Snow Lake Zone: 3 groups per day

  • Colchuck Lake Zone: 5 groups per day

  • Stuart Lake Zone: 5 groups per day

  • Eightmile/Caroline Zone: 4 groups per day


Camping

  • Eightmile Campground is the best campground in the area to stay at the night before or after your trek. Book your campsite here.

  • Bridge Creek Campground just down the road from Eightmile, but it’s first-come first-served and they only have six single campsites.

Quick Links

Enchantments permit lottery registration and information at Recreation.gov
Map of Enchantments permit zone areas
Book a campsite at Eightmile Campground
Great extensive overview of Enchantments (trailheads, hikes, and permits) by MountainLovely.com.


Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Glacier National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Mar 15: Glacier Nat’l Park backcountry permit lottery open TODAY ONLY

  • NEW FOR 2019: All permit applications received on March 15 ONLY will be entered into a random lottery, and ALL applications received after March 15 will be processed in the order that they were received in.

Overnight Permits

  • ALL permits applications received on March 15 ONLY will be entered into a random lottery, and ALL applications received after March 15 will be processed in the order that they were received in.

  • Official Glacier website for backcountry reservations. Read the info and then follow their link to Pay.gov to complete your applications.

Camping

Advance Reservations (ALL other campgrounds are first-come first-served)

Quick Links

Glacier backcountry wilderness permits


Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon North Rim // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Grand Canyon North Rim // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Jan 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for June trips
Feb 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for July trips
Mar 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for August trips
Apr 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for September trips
May 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for October trips
Jun 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for November trips
Jul 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for December trips
Aug 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for January trips
Sep 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for February trips
Oct 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for March trips
Nov 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for April trips
Dec 20: Grand Canyon backcountry permit applications accepted for May trips

Rim-To-Rim

Quick Links

Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit Request Form
Grand Canyon Backcountry Hiking Brochure
Grand Canyon Campgrounds website
Good write-up on the difficulties of getting a Rim-To-Rim Permit from JustRoughinIt.com


Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Grand Teton National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Jan 07: Grand Tetons Nat’l Park permit applications accepted 8:00am MT

Overnight Permits

Teton Crest Trail

The Teton Crest Trail covers 38-miles through the Teton Range, but there are many different options to hike it. Normal backcountry wilderness permits are required if you plan to hike the trail. Utilize the Grand Teton backcountry brochure to plan your trip. The Clymb has a great guide for different hiking routes and obtaining permits.

Camping

There are a handful of campgrounds within the park that you can book here, but the neighboring Bridger-Teton National Forest offers the best free dispersed camping areas in the entire country, in my opinion.

Winter Camping

Primitive winter camping is allowed in the plowed parking lot adjacent to the Colter Bay Visitor Center for $5 per night from December 1 to April 15. Camp on the snow covering the parking lot. Pay at the self-pay station by the restroom.

Backcountry camping is allowed throughout the year. You must obtain a backcountry permit, free of charge. Call the permits office 307-739-3309 for more information, or check the backcountry brochure.

Quick Links

Grand Teton backcountry camping website
Grand Teton camping website
Grand Teton backcountry trip planning brochure
Book sites at all Grand Teton campgrounds over at GTIC.com
Book Grand Teton backcountry permits at Recreation.gov
Teton Crest Trail hiking and permit guide by The Clymb


Havasu Falls, Arizona

Havasu Falls // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Havasu Falls // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Feb 01: Havasupai reservations open for the year 8:00am Arizona time

  • Official Havasupai Reservations website with all information

    • To visit Havasu Falls, you must purchase a permit from HavasupaiReservations.com right when reservations open up on February 1 at 8:00am Arizona time.

    • You are required to purchase a minimum 3-day/2-night stay for the campground which ends up being around $350/person minimum.

    • PRO TIP: The helicopter seems like a good option to get out, but don’t bother. The line will be way too long, and locals always have priority for getting on the helicopters and will be leapfrogging you all day. If you do finally get on, your bag(s) will be on a different helicopter so you’ll have to wait again at the top for your bags to come in.

    • PRO TIP: Paying for a donkey to carry your bags up is a decent option. You’ll still have to wait at the top for your bags, but we only ended up waiting 20 minutes or so for my friends bag to come up.

Quick Links

Official Havasupai Reservations website with all information


John Muir Trail, California

John Muir Trail // Photo: EarthTrekkers.com

John Muir Trail // Photo: EarthTrekkers.com

  • If you’re hiking the JMT starting at the north (Yosemite), you’ll need a permit from Yosemite National Park.

  • If you’re hiking the JMT starting at the south (Mt. Whitney), you’ll need a permit from Inyo National Forest.

  • Yosemite wilderness permit reservations are available 24 weeks (168 days) in advance. If you hope to reserve a permit, you should apply exactly 168 days in advance.

Quick Links

JMT permit page on Yosemite’s website
JMT Rolling Lottery Application via Yosemite Conservancy
JMT Trip Planning & Application Tips from BarefootTheory


Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Mount Rainier // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Camping

Overnight Permits

Summit Expeditions







Mount Whitney, California

Mount Whitney // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Mount Whitney // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Feb 01: Mt Whitney permit lottery registration opens
Mar 24: Mt Whitney lottery results published
Apr 01: Mt Whitney reservations open for remaining dates

  • Whether backpacking or just day-hiking, a permit is required at all times to hike Mount Whitney Trail between May 1 and November 1.

  • This is an extremely challenging 20-mile round trip to the summit of the tallest peak (14,505ft) in the lower 48. Please do your research and over-prepare for this hike, especially if day-hiking! People regularly get rescued off the mountain. Read about our Mount Whitney trip and the two-groups of ill-prepared hikers we provided shelter to at midnight at Trail Camp.

  • Day Use Permit - Valid for one day only, from midnight to midnight. Consecutive day use permits are not allowed. Only 100 permits per day are issued.

  • Overnight Permit - Includes multi-night trips starting on the Mt Whitney Trail and allows camping along the trail and summiting Mt. Whitney. Outpost Camp and Trail Camp are the two prevalent and most popular camping destinations along the trail—both have access to lake or river water. Only 60 permits per day are issued.

Camping

  • The ideal place to camp in Whitney Portal which is located just down the road from the trailhead. Book your campsite here.

  • The next closest campground is at the base of the mountain at Lone Pine Campground. Also a good option. Book your campsite here

  • If you’re like me and free camping is your jam, there are plenty of amazing free dispersed campsites in the Alabama Hills area (map).

Quick Links

Mt. Whitney lottery registration and additional info on Recreation.gov
Book a campsite at Whitney Portal on Recreation.gov (available to book now!)
Book a campsite at Lone Pine Campground on Recreation.gov (available to book now!)
Map of Mt. Whitney Zone


Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Rocky Mountain National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Mar 01: Rocky Mountain wilderness campsite reservations open

Backcountry Permits

  • RMNP starts accepting reservations for wilderness campsites on March 1 at 8:00am MT on this page, where links for "Wilderness Campsite Reservation Request Application" and "Most Recent Wilderness Campsite Availability List" will appear at that time.

Camping

  • There is no free dispersed camping within the park. All camping must be done at a campground or at one of their designated backcountry campsites.

  • There are 3 campgrounds that you can book in advance online at Recreation.gov. They are Asplenglen Campground, Glacier Basin Campground, and Moraine Park Campground.

  • There are 2 more campgrounds that are first-come first-served. They are Longs Peak Campground and Timber Creek Campground.

Quick Links

RMNP Campground Details
RMNP Wilderness Campsite Map
RMNP Wilderness Campsite Details
RMNP Campground Reservations on Recreation.gov
RMNP Wilderness Winter Camping


Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Voyageurs National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Voyageurs National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Camping


The Wave, Coyote Buttes North, Arizona

The Wave, Coyote Buttes North

The Wave, Coyote Buttes North

Jan 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for April permits
Feb 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for May permits
Mar 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for June permits
Apr 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for July permits
May 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for August permits
Jun 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for September permits
Jul 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for October permits
Aug 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for November permits
Sep 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for December permits
Oct 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for January permits
Nov 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for February permits
Dec 01: The Wave lottery registration opens for March permits

  • They only issued 20 total permits per day to hike to The Wave—10 are issued in advance online and the other 10 are issued in person the day before at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah (map).

  • All the info you need on both applying online or in-person is located here. I’ve tried both multiple times to no avail. In my opinion, this is the #1 hardest permit to get due to the extremely small number of permits they issue.

Quick Links

Coyote Buttes (Website // Permit Lottery)


Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Yellowstone National Park // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Aug 01: Yellowstone snowmobile permit lottery applications accepted (closes Aug 31)
Aug 31: Yellowstone snowmobile permit lottery application period ends 11:59pm MT
Oct 09: Yellowstone snowmobile remaining permit inventory made available to public at 8:00am

Camping

  • There are only 5 campgrounds that you can reserve in-advance online through Yellowstone National Park Lodges. There are 7 more campgrounds that are first-come first-served. See the full list here.

  • Canyon Campground is easily the most centrally located and right next to Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We loved our stay here and location couldn’t have been more perfect for exploring the entire park over 3-4 days. After that, Madison Campground probably has the best location. Yellowstone Camping website

  • Use this website to get a live look at Yellowstone campground vacancy and how early or late they reached capacity.

Backcountry Permits

  • Backcountry permit reservations are accepted from January 1 to October 31 of each calendar year. Reservations received by March 31 will be processed in random order starting April 1. Reservations received on or after April 1 will be processed in the order they’re received after the random lottery is complete.

  • Use the Backcountry Trip Planning Guide to map out your trip and then complete the Permit Reservation Application and fax it in (yes, I said fax).

Snowmobiling

  • You can easily just purchase a guided snowmobile tour through a company, but if you want to snowmobile in Yellowstone without the presence of a commercial guide, you’ll need one of the harder to get permits out there.

Quick Links

Yellowstone Campgrounds (Website // Book Campsites)
Yellowstone Backcountry Trip Planning Guide
Yellowstone Backcountry Permit Reservation Application


Yosemite National Park, california

Half Dome // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Half Dome // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Jan 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for May 15 to June 14
Feb 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for June 15 to July 14
Mar 01: Half Dome Cables permit lottery registration opens for the entire month
Mar 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for July 15 to August 14
Mar 31: Half Dome Cables permit lottery registration closes
Apr 10: Half Dome Cables lottery results published
Apr 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for August 15 to September 14
May 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for September 15 to October 14
Jun 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for October 15 to November 14
Jul 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for November 15 to December 14
Aug 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for December 15 to January 14
Sep 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for January 15 to February 14
Oct 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for February 15 to March 14
Nov 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for March 15 to April 14
Dec 15: Yosemite campground reservations open for April 15 to May 14

Half Dome Cables

  • This is a 18-mile round-trip hike that takes you up two waterfalls en route to the infamous Half Dome Cables route to the summit of Half Dome. Know your abilities and your limits, be smart, and NEVER attempt the Half Dome cables if it is wet or there is rain in the forecast.

  • The permit lottery registration opens on March 1 on this Recreation.gov site and you’ll have the entire month to get your lottery registration complete. On April 10, you can log into your Recreation.gov account to see if you were awarded the permit or not. If you were, then you’ll have until April 24 to accept your permit and complete the purchase.

  • PRO TIP: Start early! Like 3 or 4am early! It’s a long hike and a long day. Bring super grippy gloves—you’ll need them to grip the chains up Half Dome and keep your hands warm (PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR GLOVES AT THE BASE OF HALF DOME! LEAVE NO TRACE!) And the last accessible water source is the Merced River right at the top of Nevada Falls, so drink up and replenish your water supply there while you drink in the amazing view!

  • PRO TIP: Most people like to dayhike this, but I recently backpacked up which allows you to get up the cables of Half Dome way earlier, plus you’ll have a better chance of getting a permit by completing the Wilderness Permit form and checking the box indicating that you’d like to summit Half Dome.

Backcountry Permits

  • PRO TIP: If you get a wilderness permit to go backpacking in Yosemite, there is a “Backpackers Campground” located just off of North Pines Campground (map) where you are allowed to stay one night before you start backpacking AND one night after you are done backpacking. You just need to pay the $6/person/night fee at the campground and leave your vehicle at the Happy Isle parking lot (they do have a 15-minute unloading zone in the North Pines campground to drop any gear off.

Camping

  • There are 3 campgrounds in Yosemite Valley and these are hands-down the hardest campgrounds in the country to book. Use the links below to go directly to their reservation sites on Recreation.gov. The only free dispersed camping options are located outside of the park and are a significant drive from Yosemite Vally—hence the popularity of these campgrounds.

Quick Links

Half Dome Permits website via Recreation.gov
Half Dome hike information and trail map on AllTrails
Yosemite campgrounds website
Yosemite wilderness permit website


Zion National Park, Utah

The Narrows // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

The Narrows // Photo: Me! (Randy Johnson)

Jan 05: Zion lottery registration opens for March backcountry permits
Feb 05: Zion lottery registration opens for April backcountry permits
Feb 28: Zion campsites at Watchman Campground (Loops A & C) open
Mar 05: Zion lottery registration opens for May backcountry permits
Mar 07: Zion campsites at Watchman Campground (Loops D, E, F) open
Mar 15: Zion campsites at Watchman Campground (Loop B) open
Apr 05: Zion lottery registration opens for June backcountry permits
May 05: Zion lottery registration opens for July backcountry permits
Jun 05: Zion lottery registration opens for August backcountry permits
Jul 05: Zion lottery registration opens for September backcountry permits
Aug 05: Zion lottery registration opens for October backcountry permits
Sep 05: Zion lottery registration opens for November backcountry permits
Oct 05: Zion lottery registration opens for December backcountry permits
Nov 05: Zion lottery registration opens for January backcountry permits
Dec 05: Zion lottery registration opens for February backcountry permits

Backcountry Permits

  • A Zion Wilderness Permit is required for overnight backpacking trips, all canyoneering trips, overnight climbing bivouacs, and river trips.

  • On the fifth day of every month at 10:00am MT, you can make reservations for trips three months out. Reservations are available online.

  • There’s also a Last Minute Lottery that opens up 2 days before your desired trip if you’re planning on the fly.

  • All permits must be picked up in person the day before or the day of your trip, so plan accordingly! View the Zion Wilderness Guide for pickup locations and hours.

Narrows

  • Most people day-hike the Narrows from the bottom-up by taking the free shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava stop. Doing so does not require a permit.

  • Hiking the Narrows from top-bottom requires a permit whether you’re day-hiking or backpacking and camping overnight.

Subway

  • Like most other Zion wilderness permits, on the 5th of each month you can sign up for the Advance Lottery for a permit 3 months down the road. (ex. On March 5, you can sign up for the lottery for any permit in the month of June). Sign up for the advance permit lottery here.

  • There’s also a Last Minute Lottery that opens up 2 days before your desired trip if you’re planning on the fly.

  • Bottom-Up: The more popular, less technical day-hiking route that requires route finding, creek crossing, and scrambling over boulders. Starts from the left fork of North Creek.

  • Top-Down: This technical route requires rappelling skills, 60 feet of rope, extensive route finding experience, and swimming through several deep pools of very cold water. Starts from Wildcat Canyon Trailhead.

Camping

  • There are many places within close proximity to Zion Valley for free dispersed camping, but I can’t give away my spots! Do some research!

  • Watchman Campground - 176 campsites located at the South Entrance in Zion Valley (Zion website) (Book a campsite)

    • Loop A Reservations begin approx. February 28.

    • Loop B Reservations begin approx. March 15.

    • Loop C Reservations begin approx. February 28.

    • Loop D Reservations begin approx. March 7.

    • Loop E Reservations (Group sites) begin approx. March 7.

    • Loop F Reservations (Walk-to, Tent only sites) begin approx. March 7.

  • South Campground - 117 campsites located at the South Entrance in Zion Valley (Zion website) (Book a campsite)

    • Only available to book online 14 days before your desired date.

  • Lava Point Campground - Located 1-hour outside of Zion valley. 6 primitive campsites, pitted toilets, trash cans, but no water. (Zion website)

Quick Links

Zion backcountry wilderness permit reservations
Zion website for Subway permits
Zion website for last-minute lottery for permits
Zion wilderness trail conditions