Permit Pickup Instructions - Mt. Whitney



Mt. Whitney Permits

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.
Provide 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)
  • Itinerary
  • 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.
  • 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.

starting at 11:00am:

  • Walk-in requests for next day entry.
  • 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.

No-show for Mt. Whitney day use, next day entry are issude starting at 2:00pm

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 Mt. Whitney No-Show permits.
  • 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 from the visitor center before starting on the trail.
Pre-Trip Preparation Checklist:

Reservations will be CANCELED as No-Show if you do not confirm or pick up the permit on time.
Canceled space will be issued to other groups one hour later.
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
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.
  • No-show space will be given to other groups and may not be available if you arrive late. Confirm your reservation to hold until 5pm on entry date.

Will Call Express Pick-up and Night Box Service
Reserved permits that are not traveling overnight into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are eligible to use Will Call Express Pick-up or Night Box Service.You must make arrangements in advance, this service is not automatic.

  • Call 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 Express Pickup and Night Box (kiosk near driveway).
  • Both Will Call and Night Box Service can be arranged in the same phone call.
  • For faster service, avoid busy times on the phone line at 8:00 am, noon, and 4 pm.
  • Phone line is open 8am to 4:30.

Will Call Express permits are held at the will call counter inside the visitor center. 

  • Leader or listed alternate leader can show ID, sign, and go.
  • You can rent a bear can or purchase maps at the same time.
  • If you want to change your permit details, or want additional information, you would need to wait in line at the permit issuing counter to have your permit reissued.

Night Box permits are placed in a box located outside the visitor center for you to retrieve after business hours.  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.

Night Box

  • Leader must retrieve the permit, a reservation is not accepted as proof of a vaild permit.
  • Permits are put in the Night 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.

Leader Responsibility

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.

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

Permit Policy

  • 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.
  • Group leader must have the permit with them during the trip.
  • 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.
  • All people count for wilderness quotas and fees; prices are not different for children or seniors.
  • 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.
  • Pacific Crest Trail (PCTA) permits are not valid to start on quota trails in Inyo National Forest. 
  • Reservations or permits cannot be sold or transferred to other parties. Only a listed alternate leader can replace the group leader.
  • A reservation receipt is not proof of having a valid reservation or permit.
  • 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.
  • Unused 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.

(760) 873-2483
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.



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