Mokelumne Wilderness Permits

Photo of permit sign along trail


No Overnight Camping in dispersed areas - Forest Order 03-20-15 prohibits camping forest-wide except for designated developed campgrounds. This includes both the Desolation and Mokelumne Wilderness areas.

Regional Fire Closure: Regional Order 20-14 prohibits the use of any ignition source on all National Forest System lands (campfires, gas stoves, etc.) throughout California.

Permits are mandatory for entry into the Mokelumne Wilderness year round for overnight use.

The permit system allows the Forest Service to inform visitors of their responsibilities for preserving the wilderness resource, gather important recreation use data, and to limit use where necessary. Permits can also be helpful in locating people during emergencies. Organized commercial or institutional groups will also need an Outfitter-Guide permit: contact the local Ranger Station for more information.

Overnight Permits: Required year-round.

Day-Use Permits: None.

Maximum group size: 12 people for day-use, and 8 people for overnight use.

  • If you have a larger group than is permitted, reduce the number of people, split the group to visit different areas, or visit an area which permits larger numbers. You are not permitted to camp or travel within one mile of a related group.

Other Permit Information:

  • Only one permit is required per group and must remain with someone in the party at all times.
  • Each permit is good for one trip only.
  • You must enter at the trailhead designated on your permit.

Campfires: NOT ALLOWED in the Carson Pass Management Area (CPMA). Camp stoves are permitted with a valid California Campfire Permit. Note: Fire restrictions are in place for the entire Eldorado National Forest.

How to Obtain a Permit

Carson Pass Management Area (CPMA): Lake Winnemucca, Round Top Lake, and 4th of July Lake

To protect the fragile alpine environment, overnight camping in the Carson Pass Management Area (Winnemucca, Round Top, and Fourth of July Lakes) is allowed only in assigned designated campsites with a valid campsite reservation/permit.

Campsites in the CPMA must be RESERVED IN ADVANCE of your trip. 

  • Instructions for this permit can be found here.  

  • Reservations:

    • CPMA permit line 209-268-0165 - Leave a voicemail beginning at 8:00 AM on the MONDAY of the WEEK OF YOUR TRIP.

    • Reservations are processed on a first call, first served basis.

    • Virtual office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and reservations can only be made during regular business hours. Offices are closed on Holidays so reservations will be made the day after.

  • Carson Pass Information Station: The Station will remain closed for the 2020 season. No permits are being issued in person.

  • Stay limits: Winnemucca and Round Top Lakes have a total stay limit between the two lakes of 2 nights per person per week. Fourth of July Lake has a 3 night stay limit per person per week. There is no combining lakes to acquire a longer trip.

  • Group size: Limit 8 people per permit, and one permit per campsite.

  • Frog Lake is open for day hiking but not overnight backpacking. This is considered part of the CPMA area

  • Woods Lake is open for day hiking but not overnight backpacking. This Lake is a developed area with a campground, day use area, and leased cabins. Overnight camping is only allowed at the Woods Lake developed campground.

Backpacking Trails

Inside the Mokelumne Wilderness

Outside of the Mokelumne Wilderness