Permit Pickup Instructions - Mt. Whitney

Permits for Day Use in the Mt Whitney Zone, overnight on the Mt Whitney Trail, and North Fork of Lone Pine Creek must be issued at:
Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center

2019 is a Big Snow Year

Expect ice and snow on the trail until the beginning of July. Weather
Mt Whitney Leave No Trace (video)

  Hiking the Mt. Whitney Trail Brochure ~ Leader Responsibility & Permit Policy ~ Will Call & Night Box Service ~ No Walkup Permits


During winter (non-quota season November 2 to April 30) self issue permits are 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 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. Reserved permits can be issued up to two days before the entry date. Last permit issued 15 minutes prior to closing.

Pre-Trip Preparation Checklist:

Cell reception is poor in this area, make arrangements before you travel.

Verify Final Group Size

One week before your trip, verify group size to hold your reservation until close of business on the entry date.

  1. Login to
  2. Open My Reservations
  3. Verify your group size (adjust the number of people if group is smaller)
  4. Click the SAVE 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 to pick up your reserved permit.

  • Provide 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.
  • Verify final number of people (includes children)
  • Update any itinerary corrections.

When requesting a permit, allow time to receive wilderness information and waste disposal kits, purchase maps, or rent bear/food storage containers. Last permit issued 15 minutes before closing.

Will Call & Night Box Service

Make arrangements in advance, this service is not automatic.

  • Call 1-3 days before the trip (760) 873-2483.
  • Provide reservation number, itinerary, and verify your final group size.
  • Allow time to receive wilderness information and directions for the 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 permits are preprinted and held near Cashier & Permit counter. 

  • Leader or listed alternate leader can show ID, sign, and go!
  • Rent a bear can or purchase maps at the same time.
  • Will Call are put in the Night Box if not picked up at the counter.
  • To change your permit details 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. 

  • Leader must retrieve the permit, a reservation is not accepted as proof of a valid 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 overnight trips.

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 pick up the permit during open hours.

No Walk Up Permits

All the space for Mt Whitney Day Use and Mt Whitney Trail Overnight permits is now reserved on Walk up permits will not be issued for these Mt Whitney permits for the 2019 season.

Instead of standing in line at the visitor center, reserve the space from last minute cancelations or group size reductions on the web. Reserved permits can utilize Will Call and Night Box Service.

Other Inyo National Forest trails that have 40% of the quota set aside for walk up requests, like the overnight permit on the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, or trips that exit at Whitney Portal will continue to be issued as walk up. For more about quotas and the amount of space, click here.

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.
Link to Wilderness Regulations.

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 for Mt Whitney permits can be made until one day before the entry date.
  • No walk up permits will be issued at the visitor center for Mt Whitney Day Use and Mt Whitney Trail Overnight. These two permits are by reservation only.

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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