Permit Pickup Instructions - Mt. Whitney
The following Mt. Whitney permits:
Mt. Whitney Day Use Permit
Overnight permit for the Mt. Whitney Trail
Overnight permit for the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek (Mountaineers Route/ East Face routes)
Must be issued at:
Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center
Junction of Highway 395 and State Route 136
2 miles south of Lone Pine, CA 93545
Open Daily- 8 am to 5 pm
During winter or non-quota season (November 2 to April 30) reservations are not needed. Walk in permits can be issued one or two days before the trip.
- During business hours permits are issued inside the visitor center.
- After business hours, self-issue permit forms are outside (kiosk near the driveway).
- Self-issue permits are only allowed for winter season.
Commercial operators, contact the commercial desk at the wilderness office for your permits.
When requesting a permit, allow plenty of time to receive wilderness information and waste disposal kits, purchase maps, or rent bear/food storage containers. A drawing is held to determine your place in line at busy times (8am, 11am, and 2pm), this includes reserved permits.
Save time and speed up the line, know your reservation number, review leader responsibility in advance, be ready with the following information:
-Group leader name, address, phone number (show photo id when requested)
-Name of trail, entry and exit dates
-Number of people (includes children)
-Description of the car(s) at the trailhead (optional)
-Emergency contact phone number (optional) of someone not going on the trip.
Permit Issuing Times
The following permits can be issued starting at 8:00 am:
- Walk-in request for same day entry, any trail (includes Whitney & Day Use).
- Reserved permits for same day entry, or up to 2 days before entry date.
- Non quota permits for same day, or up to 2 days before entry date.
The following permits can be issued starting at 11:00am:
- Walk-in requests for next day entry (includes Whitney & Day Use).
- No-show for same day entry (overnight permits/any trail)
- Trips using Trail Crest exit to end at Whitney Portal are issued based on entry date.
The following permits can be issued starting at 2:00pm:
- No-show for next day entry Mt. Whitney Day Use.
Last permit issued 15 minutes prior to closing.
Walk In Permits
Walk in permits must be requested in person at the visitor center. During the quota season (May 1 to November 1) permit cannot be issued more than one day before the entry date. Walk in permits are issued for same day entry or for next day entry; you must enter on the date stated
- A drawing is held to determine your place in line for busy times at 8am, 11am and 2pm.
- Walk-in permits are subject to space available* at the time the permit request is processed.
- Person requesting the permit will be listed as the group leader. Leader must be a person going on the trip and must be in person at the visitor center.
- Group leader can request a permit for the whole group; all members of the group do not need to be present.
- Leader responsibility includes the terms in Permit Policy.
- Next day entry permits for North Fork of Lone Pine (Mountaineers Route/ East Face routes) and other non-Whitney trails are released at 11:00am.
- Walk in permit cannot be held by phone or web.
- No night box service for walk in permits.
- Walk in permit is free.
*The amount of space available for Mt. Whitney walk in permits will vary. Day hike and overnight Mt Whitney trail permits do not have space saved for walk in requests. Space comes from reservations that did not fully book, cancelations, group size reductions, and reservations that are not confirmed or picked up (No Show). Overnight on the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek or other trips using Trail Crest exit to end a trip at Whitney Portal do have extra space saved for walk-in requests. For more about quotas and the amount of space, click here.
Reserved Permit Pick up Instructions
The final step for your Mt. Whitney reservation is to check in and pick up your permit before starting on the trail.
Pre-Trip Preparation - Reservation Checklist
Please complete the following steps:
Reservations will be CANCELED as No-Show if you do not confirm or pick up the permit on time. No-Show Deadline:
1 pm one day before the entry date for Day Use Permit.
10 am on the entry date for Overnight Permit.
Confirm group size to prevent No-Show
This step can be completed up to 14 days before your trip and will hold your reservation past the No-Show deadline, until close of business on the entry date.
1. Login to www.recreation.gov
2.Open details for your reservation record
3.Verify your group size (adjust the number of people if group is smaller)
4.Click the CONFIRM button
For assistance, call the Wilderness Permit Office at 760-873-2483
Pick up Reserved Permit
Check in at the visitor center up to two days before the trip entry date to pick up your reserved permit. Provide your reservation number and identification when requested.
- Only the group leader or alternate leader listed on the reservation can pick up or use the permit.
- Group leader can pick up a permit for the whole group; all members of the group do not need to be present.
- Leader responsibility includes the terms in Permit Policy.
- A drawing is held to determine your place in line at busy times (8am, 11am, and 2pm). For faster service, avoid these busy walk-in permit issuing times.
- No-show space will be given to other groups and may not be available if you arrive late. Confirmed reservation will be held until close of business on entry date.
Night Box Pick-up
Reserved permits can be placed in a box located outside the visitor center for you to retrieve after business hours. You must make arrangements in advance; night box is not automatic. Trips traveling overnight into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are not eligible to use the night box.
Requesting night box service does not guarantee delivery of your permit. Visitor Center staff do their best to place requested permits in the night box and secure it with a lock, however the box is opened multiple times each night and occasionally a permit gets lost. If you wish to guarantee your permit is issued directly to you, please come to the visitor center during open hours.
Call for Night Box 1-3 days before the trip (760) 873-2483. Provide reservation number, itinerary, and confirm your group size. Allow time to receive wilderness information and directions for opening the Night Box (kiosk near driveway).
- Leader must retrieve the permit; reservation is not accepted as proof of permit.
- Permits are put in the box at 5pm the night before your trip. If your permit is not in the box, you must return to the visitor center the next morning to replace the permit. Space is not guaranteed if your entry date is past.
- Rental bear /food storage containers cannot be left out for night pickup; food storage containers are required for Mt. Whitney trail overnight trips.
- Phone line is open 8am to 4:30. Avoid busy times at 8:00 am, noon, and 4 pm. for faster service.
- If you have arranged for night box, and then arrive earlier than 4pm you can wait in line to have the permit reissued.
The group leader is responsible for picking up the permit and relaying the wilderness information to the group members. Mt. Whitney permits include tags for each person to carry on the trail. The permit can only be used by the person the permit is issued to. Show photo identification when requested. A reservation receipt is not proof of having a valid reservation or permit.
You are agreeing to the following permit policy when a wilderness permit is issued to you.
- Group leader must have the permit with them during the trip.
- The group leader signing the permit is responsible for ensuring that everyone in the group follows all of the rules and regulations during the wilderness trip.
- Reservations or permits cannot be sold or transferred to other parties. Only a listed alternate leader can replace the group leader.
- Group must start on the entry date and location stated in the permit.
- Large groups cannot exceed group size limits even if they have separate permits.
- Each trip requires a new wilderness permit; there is no season pass.
- The National Interagency Pass or Golden Eagle Pass is not a substitute for specific activity permits, like a wilderness permit. There are no discounts for wilderness permits.
- All people count for wilderness quotas and fees; prices are not different for children or seniors.
- Reservations can be made until two days before the entry date. A lottery is held for Mt. Whitney reservations, for trails other than Mt. Whitney, reservations can be made starting six months in advance.
- All remaining reservation space is available for walk-in permits one day before the entry date.
Still have questions?
Call the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office.
Phone line is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm.
Open daily May 15 to October 15
Winter season- closed on weekends and holidays.