Application Information

Send your application this day... ...to start hiking this day.
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The application process is a bit convoluted when trying to get a permit for the John Muir Trail, and the information is scattered all over the place. I've tried to make it a bit more concise here.

The information on this page is a condensed version of what you'll find on the National Park Service's Wilderness Permits Details and other websites, which are linked below.

Trailhead Quotas

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 to avoid overcrowding. Of each daily quota for a trailhead, 60% can be reserved ahead of time while the remaining 40% is available on a first-come, first-served basis one day prior, at 11:00 AM. If the quota does not fill a day in advance, it will be available the day of your wilderness trip. You can find more specific information about the different trailhead quotas on the National Park Service's Trailhead Information website.

Full Trailheads

The Western Park Service maintains a very rudimentary Full Trailheads Report website. You'll see the open dates if you skim through the numbers. After mid-March, I don't really think you'll find too much open from June 1st and later for the more popular trailheads until the late September timeframe.

Permit Reservations

Wilderness permit reservations are available up to 24 weeks (168 days) in advance. For a partial list of 2014 dates, you can use the table to the left. For the full list, go to the National Park Service's Wilderness Permits Reservation Window website.

The cost for each confirmed reservation is $5 plus $5 per person. You must pick up the wilderness permit at any permit station the day of or day before your hike. Business hours vary, so please download the current copy of the Yosemite Guide. The Yosemite Guide contains information about trip planning, activities, scheduled events, and hours of operations for different facilities and services.

Reserved permits are held until 10:00 AM on the day of your trip. If you will arrive later than 10:00 AM on the day of your trip, you should call (209) 372-0740 to hold your permit for a late arrival. If you do not arrange for a late pickup, you may lose your permit reservation!

Permit Application

Once you've figured out the trailhead you want and the date you want, you need to fill out the Wilderness Permit Reservation Application form. If you plan on starting (or asking to start) in Yosemite Valley, your trailhead will be Happy Isles > Sunrise/Merced Lake Pass Through (No Camping in LYV). Once you've got the form filled out, you can fax it to (209) 372-0739.

Important: You may fax your request beginning at 5:00 PM Pacific time one day prior to the date listed in the table. Provided you fax your request by 7:30 AM on the day in the table, your request will be included in the daily lottery. For weekend reservation dates, you can fax beginning 5:00 PM on Friday.

Walk-Up Permits

Permits are also available at any permit issuing station starting one day prior to the beginning of your hike. Wilderness Permit Stations website.