Permit Pick Up Instructions

The group leader is responsible for picking up the permit and relaying the wilderness information to the group members. As group leader you are agreeing to follow all the rules and regulations and ensure that members of your group do likewise.

Signed permit must be in group leaders possession and must be presented to rangers upon request. Permit will only be issued to the group leader or alternate specified by name on reserved permits. Alternate leader can only be designated at the time the reservation is made, they cannot be changed or added later. Show photo identification when requested.

Verify your final group size before traveling to the area to hold a reserved permit past the no show deadline or your reservation may be canceled.

Reserved Permit Checklist

How to Request a Walk up Permit

Permit Issuing Locations 

Eastern Sierra Visitor Center*

located at the Junction of Highway 395 and State Route 136, south of Lone Pine
Lone Pine, CA 93545

Open 8-5 Daily in summer (last permit issued 4:45pm); in winter 8:30-4:30, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

*All Mt Whitney permits must be issued at this location

White Mountain Ranger Station

798 N. Main Street
Bishop, CA 93514

Open 8-5 Daily (closed for lunch from noon-1:00) in summer; in winter 8:30-4:30, closed on weekends and holidays.

Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center

2500 Main Street
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

Open 8-5 Daily in summer; in winter 8:30-4:30, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center

North of Lee Vining on Hwy 395
Lee Vining, CA 93541

Open 8-5 Daily in summer (closed in winter)

Call the Wilderness Permit Office if you need assistance to verify your final group size, arrange for late arrival, request will call or night box service.
Open 8-4:30 every day in summer; in winter, closed on weekends and holidays.

Commercial operators, contact the commercial desk at the Wilderness Permit Office for your permits.

Before your trip, plan ahead and prepare:

Leave No Trace Principles (video)
Leave No Trace for Mt Whitney (video)
Leader Responsibility & Permit Policy
Traveling in Bear Country
 Weather ~ Avalanche 
Wilderness Trip Planning Guide
List of Trail Names & Quotas 

Permit Issuing During the Quota Season

Come prepared with the information you will need for your permit. Allow time to receive wilderness information, purchase maps or rent bear/food storage containers. If you have a reservation for a trip that is not going into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks you can avoid long lines by requesting will call or night box service.

Permit Issuing Times

Reserved permits can be issued any time of the day, up to 2 days before the entry date. Permits for non quota trails can also be issued any time of day, 1 or 2 days before the trip, or on the entry day.

Starting at 8:00 am:

  • Walk up permits can be issued for same day entry.

Starting at 11:00 am:

  • Walk up permits can be issued for next day entry.
  • No show quota for overnight permits is made available for same day entry.

At 2:00 pm:

  • No show quota is made available at the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center for Mt Whitney Day Use permits.

Requests for Trail Crest Exit quota to end a trip at Whitney Portal are issued at 8 a.m. or 11a.m. based on the entry date.

Permit Issuing During Winter

Reservations are not needed during the non-quota season (November 2 through April 30). Walk in permits can be issued at any time, 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.
  • Self-issue permits are only allowed for winter season.

Walk Up Permit

Walk up permits are subject to space available* at the time the permit request is processed. You must be in person at the visitor center to request the permit. The person requesting the permit will be designated as the group leader and must be going on the trip. The group leader is accepting responsibility for the group to follow all laws, rules and regulations. The leader can request a permit for the whole group. All members of the group do not need to be present. Group Leader Responsibility 

  • Permits are issued for same day entry or for next day entry; your group must start on the trail on the date stated.
  • Walk up permit cannot be held by phone or web.
  • No night box service for walk up permits.

*The amount of space available for walk up permits may vary. For all trails except Mt. Whitney, 40% of the quota space is saved for walk up permit requests. In addition, space from any reservations that did not fully book, cancelations, group size reductions, and reservations that are not confirmed or picked up (No Show) will be made available for walk up requests. Some specific trails are identified as non-quota and are only limited by the maximum group size.

When requesting a walk up permit provide the following information:

  • Group leader name, address, phone number (show photo id when requested)
  • Name of trail, entry and exit dates, be prepared with more than one possible choice of trail and itinerary
  • Number of people (includes children)
  • Itinerary
  • Description of the car(s) at the trailhead (optional)

Reserved Permit Check List

You must pick up your permit or arrange for late arrival before the no show deadline or your reservation will be canceled.

No Show

  • Deadline for Day Use permit is at noon one day before the entry date, space will be given away to other groups at 2 p.m.
  • Deadline for Overnight permit is at 10 a.m. on the entry date, space will be given away to other groups at 11 a.m.

No show space will be given away to other groups, and space may not be available if you arrive late. A no show reservation can only be restored if space is still available. Call the Wilderness Permit Office for assistance at 760-873-2483.

One week before the trip:

Verify your final group size to hold a permit past the no show deadline. This will save your reserved permit until 5 p.m. on the entry date. It’s recommended to complete this step before traveling to the area. Complete the group size verification on line by logging into your account and opening the details for your reservation. Adjust the number of people if the group is smaller, then save/confirm to lock it in. 

2 or 3 days before the trip:

Call the wilderness permit office if you need assistance to verify your final group size, arrange for late arrival, or request will call and night box service. Cell reception is poor in this area and makes it difficult to call from the highway, so plan ahead. Allow time to discuss wilderness information and get directions if using the night box.

Note: Will call or night box service is not allowed for trips going overnight into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. These parks require you to pick up your permit during open hours for a face-to-face orientation.

Will Call and Night Box Service

Will call is at the permit counter at each of our visitor centers. When you call in to arrange for will call, we will update any information needed on your permit, provide wilderness information for your trip and answer your questions over the phone. Then your permit will be pre-printed and held at the permit counter ready for you to sign and go hike! The chashier near will call can also check you out for renting a bear/food storage container or purchasing maps. If your permit is not picked up by 5pm the night before your trip, we will put it outside in the night box for you to retrieve after hours.

You must make arrangements in advance, this service it is not automatic.

  • Call our central number for wilderness permits, 760-873-2483
  • Provide your reservation number,final group size, and itinerary.
  • Leader must sign and carry the permit on the trip.
  • Rental bear/food torage containers cannot be left out for night pickup.

Night box permits are put out at 5 p.m. the night before your trip. While visitor center staff do their best to put permits out, the box is opened many time each night and occasionally a permit gets lost. If your permit is not in the box, you must return to the visitor center the next morning to replace the permit. If you wish to guarantee your permit is issued directly to you, please come to the visitor center during open hours.

1 or 2 days before the trip, or on the entry date:

Pick up Permit
Check in at the visitor center to pick up your permit. Provide your reservation number and identification when requested.

Leader Responsibility & Permit Policy

  • The group leader or alternate specified by name on the reservation will be issued the permit for the whole group; all members of the group do not need to be present.
  • Reservation will be canceled as a No-show and space will be given to other groups if you arrive late. Verify your final group size to hold your reservation until close of business on entry date.
  • For faster service pre arrange for your permit to be held at will call.
  • A reservation receipt is not accepted as proof of having a valid reservation or permit.
  • Mt. Whitney permits include tags for each person to carry to identify the members of your group.
  • Phone line is open 8am to 4:30. Avoid busy times at 8:00 am, noon, and 4 pm. for faster service.

Still have questions?
Call the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office
(760) 873-2483
Phone line is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Open daily May 15 to October 15
Winter season - closed on weekends and holidays.