Wilderness Regulations

Wilderness permits

  • Review the Wilderness Permit requirements for the eight Wildernesses within Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. 

Motorized and mechanized equipment 

  • Motorized and mechanized equipment are not allowed, including drones (see below), bicycles, carts, wagons, chainsaws, hang gliders and off-road vehicles and other wheeled vehicles. Landing aircraft, air dropping or picking up supplies, materials or people are prohibited.
  • Drones (including quadcopters, model aircraft and other unmanned aerial systems) are prohibited in all wilderness areas.

‚ÄčMaximum party-size 

  • A limit of 12 for a group, in any combination of people and pack and saddle animals, is the rule for wilderness areas. Groups exceeding 12 must divide into physically and logistically separate parties and maintain a minimum distance of one-mile separation.

Shortcutting trails 

  • Shortcutting trails and switchbacks are prohibited, as this damages the trails, soil and vegetation.

Protection and restoration 

  • Some areas are closed to allow the natural vegetation a chance to recover after years of heavy recreation use. Do not walk or camp in areas posted as being closed for restoration.
  • Please camp at least 100 feet from lakes and the Pacific Crest Trail to protect fragile vegetation.

Pack Saddle and Stock 


  • Do not build campfires where posted as prohibited. Campstoves are recommended in all wilderness locations.

Dogs and other pets

  • Dogs, and all pets, are prohibited in the Enchantment Permit Area and Ingalls Lake area of Alpine Lakes Wilderness, except for Service Dogs as defined by Department of Justice regulations 28 C.F.R. Part 35.136. Dogs whose sole purpose is to provide therapy, comfort, emotional support or crime deterrent do not qualify as service dogs. Dogs are allowed on most other wilderness trails but must be on leash on certain trails, and under control at all times.

Caching restrictions 

  • Leaving or storing equipment, personal property or supplies is prohibited. Do not leave items unattended for more than 48 hours. This will reduce the chances of wildlife scattering equipment and supplies and keep the landscape free from signs of human activity.

No Cutting Allowed 

  • Cutting standing green trees, snags and boughs is prohibited. Healthy trees and decrepit snags are important components of the ecosystem.

Wildernesses with additional restrictions

Minimum Impact Suggestions

Human waste

  • Select a site at least 200 feet from a water source whenever possible. Bury waste in a hole three- to six-inches deep and cover with soil. Use backcountry toilets whenever possible.  Pack out waste where toilets are not available and digging is not possible, such as in sup-alpine areas, snow, rock or glaciers.

Protect water quality

  • Wash away from any water source. Never wash your hands or dishes in a lake or stream.

Pack out litter

  • If you pack it in you must pack it out. In areas where fires are allowed, remove all non-combustibles such as foil, glass and metal from fire rings.

Respect wildlife

  • Watch from a distance and keep pets from harassing wild animals.  

Fireworks and Firearms on National Forest Lands

1. Possession and/or Use of fireworks or other explosives are prohibited on National Forest lands at all times.

2. Regulations prohibit discharging a firearm or any weapon capable of injuring others:

  • In or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area 
  • Across or on roads, system trails, bodies of water, or where people or property are exposed to injury or damage, 
  • Into a cave, 
  • Into areas that cause any type of resource damage. Please do not shoot trees, rocks, stumps, or non-game animals. 

Violation of these and other laws, rules and regulations which apply to designated Wilderness are punishable by a fine or imprisonment. (16 U.S.C. 551, 18 U.S.C. 3559 and 3571).