Permit Pickup Instructions - Mt. Whitney

Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center is the only location issuing the following permits:
Mt. Whitney Day Use Permit
Overnight permit for the Mt. Whitney trail.
Overnight permit for the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek trail. 

When requesting a permit, be prepared with the following information:
Reservation number
Group leader name, address, phone number (show photo id if requested)
Name of trail, entry and exit dates
Number of people
Itinerary
Description of the car(s) at the trailhead (optional)
Emergency contact phone number (optional) someone not going on the trip.

Save time and speed up the line, review leader responsibility before requesting your permit.

Reserved Permit Instructions
Walk in Permit Instructions

Complete pre trip preparation.
Review leader responsibility and check for current information before your trip.
~ Mount Whitney (current conditions, bear information)
~ Hiking the Mt. Whitney Trail brochure
~ Weather   ~ Avalanche
~ Leader Responsibility / Permit Policy
~ Recreation Reports have current conditions for campgrounds.
~ Eastern Sierra InteragencyVisitor Center

Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center – Wilderness Permit Issuing
During the quota season, May 1 to November 1, the visitor center is open daily to issue wilderness permits. Allow plenty of time to receive your wilderness information and waste disposal kits, purchase maps or rent bear containers before the visitor center closes at 5:00pm.
~ Space for reserved permits is guaranteed IF the group size is confirmed.
~ Walk in permits are subject to space available at the time the permit request is processed.
~ A drawing is held to determine your place in line for 8am, 11am and 2pm.

Permit Issuing Times
8:00 am – The following permits can be issued anytime after 8:00 am.
    Walk in permits for same day entry.
    Reserved permits for same day entry, or up to 2 days before entry date.
    Mt Whitney overnight for same day entry, or next day entry.
    Day Use Mt Whitney for same day entry.
    Non quota permits for same day, or up to 2 days before entry date.

10:30- 11:00 am – No walk requests for overnight permits- No Show results are being processed.

11:00 am – Walk in permits for all trails for next day entry and No Show for same day entry will be released. The following permits can be issued anytime after 11:00 am.
    Any of the permits that were available at 8 am
    Overnight walk in permits starting on the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek
    Overnight walk in permits for all trails.
    Trips using Trail Crest Exit to end at Whitney Portal are issued based on entry date.

2:00 pm – Day Use Mt Whitney permits that no-show are forfeit and will be released at 2:00 pm.- (no walk in requests for day use 1:30 to 2pm)
    Day Use Mt Whitney for next day entry

5:00 pm – Permit Counter is Closed; Night Box permits are put outside.

Permit issuing location:
Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center
Junction of Highway 395 and State Route 136
2 miles south of Lone Pine, CA

 

Open hours may change; check for current hours before your trip. Commercial opperators, contact the commercial desk at the wilderness office for your permits.

Walk In Permit Instructions
Walk in permits must be requested in person at the visitor center. During the quota season (May 1 to November 1) walk in permits cannot be issued more that one day before the trip. 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.
  • 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) and other non Whitney trails are released at 11:00am.
  • Walk in permit cannot be held by phone.
  • 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. Mt Whitney permits do not have space saved for walk in requests. Space comes from unused reservations, cancelations, group size reductions and reservations that are not confirmed or picked up (No Show). Other trails, like the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek or trips using Trail Crest exit to end a trip at Whitney Portal have extra space saved for walk in requests, for more about quotas and space saved for walk in permits, click here...

During the non quota or winter season (November 2 to April 30) 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.

Reserved Permits:
You should receive a reminder email 14 days before your trip. THIS IS NOT YOUR PERMIT !  

Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center, near Lone Pine, CA.93545 is the only location that can issue Mt. Whitney permits. The leader must carry the actual permit during the trip. (show photo id when requested) A reservation receipt is not proof of having a valid permit.

2 to 14 days before your trip, confirm your group size or your reservation will be canceled.

Review leader responsibility and complete pre trip preparation

1 to 2 days before your trip, pick up the permit or arrange for night box service.

Confirm Group Size

Completing the on line confirmation step will hold your reservation for pick up until close of business on the trip entry date. If you do not complete this step the status of your permit will automatically be converted to no show and the reservation will be canceled. Space will be given to other groups for walk in permits and may not be available if you arrive late.

Deadline to Confirm:

  • Day Use permits are canceled one day before the hike, space given to other groups at 2:00pm.
  • Overnight permits are canceled on the entry day; space is given to other groups at 11:00am.

Online Confirm Instructions:

  • Log onto your account at recreation.gov and open your reservation record.
  • Verify your actual group size. If your group is smaller, adjust the number of people.
  • Click the CONFIRM button. This button is only visible 14 days before the trip.

If you need assistance completing this step or have questions, call the Wilderness Permit Office (760) 873-2483

Pick up Reserved Permit

The group leader or alternate leader listed on the reservation must pick up the actual permit. To hold your reservation for late arrival, complete the online group size confirmation. Allow plenty of time to receive wilderness information and waste disposal kits, purchase maps or rent bear containers. Permits are not issued after 4:45 to ensure time to complete the wilderness information before the visitor center closes at 5:00pm.

A drawing is held to determine your place in line for busy times at 8am, 11am and 2pm.

For faster service and shorter lines, avoid these busy times for walk in permits.

  • Reserved permits can be issued 1-2 days before the trip or on the entry date.
  • Reservations that are not confirmed or picked up will be canceled and space issued to other groups. Confirming in advance is recommended, there is poor cell reception in this area.
  • Group leader can pick up a permit for the whole group; all members of the group do not need to be present.
  • Only the group leader or alternate leader listed on the reservation can pick up or use the permit; show photo id when requested.
  • Leader responsibility includes the terms in Permit Policy.
  • Night box pick up is not available for trips that will go overnight into Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks; for trips into the parks the permit must be issued in person duringvisitor center open hours.

Night Box:
 

Pre-arrange to have your reserved permit put outside of the visitor center for you to retrieve the night before your trip. Night box service is not available for trips that will go overnight into Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks; for trips into the parks the permit must be issued in person during visitor center open hours. Call before noon to allow time to process your request.

1-3 days before the trip, Call the Wilderness Permit Office and ask for Night Box service.

Allow time to receive wilderness information and directions for opening the Night Box.

(760) 873-2483; phone line is open 8am to 4:30

  • You must make arrangements in advance; night box is not automatic.
  • Provide your reservation number, itinerary and confirm your group size.
  • Permit will be put in the box the night before your trip.
  • Rental bear cans cannot be left out for night pickup; cans required for Mt. Whitney overnight trips.
  • Leader must retrieve the permit; a reservation receipt is not proof of having a valid permit.
  • Only the leader or alternate leader listed on the permit can use the permit; be prepared to show photo ID and the permit during the trip.
  • Night box service is not allowed for trips entering Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks.

For faster service, review leader responsibility before calling; avoid busy times at 8:00am and 4:15pm.

Leader Responsibility
Wilderness permits are issued to the group leader or alternate leader. The permit can only be used by the person named on the permit. Show photo identification when requested. The leader named on the permit is responsible to see that everyone in the group will follow the conditions of the permit and all laws, rules and regulations for the area. A reservation receipt is not proof of having a valid permit. 

You are agreeing to the following policy when a wilderness permit is issued to you.

Permit Policy
~ 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 Wilderness Permit Office.

Wilderness Permit Office & Wilderness Information
351 Pacu Lane Suite 200
Bishop, CA 93514

(760) 873-2483
Phone line is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm.
Open daily from May 15 to October 15
Winter season- closed on weekends and holidays.