Central Cascades Wilderness Permits

Updates: The Forest Service is continuing to revise the Central Cascades Wilderness Limited Entry Permit system. COVID-19 has caused delays for implementation, postponing the launch of the permit system until May 2021. The information provided here is accurate as of 5/7/2020 but may change. Check back for any additional updates.

At a glance:

When will permits start being required?  May 2021
When can I get a permit? Date TBD

The Deschutes and the Willamette National Forests postponed the release and implementation of the Central Cascades Wilderness permits due to COVID-19 public health and safety measures. See News Release.

The Central Cascades Wilderness areas of Oregon are home to iconic mountain peaks, high alpine meadows and lakes, and old growth forests. Crystal clear streams, wildflower meadows, rugged mountain views, young lava flows, and much more can be found in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas

The Central Cascades Wilderness Permit system was established, in accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964, to protect these lands that are easily accessed by population centers in central and western Oregon, and draw visitors from around the world.  This permit system will help to ensure the protection of these landscapes now and into the future. 

Soda Meadows

Soda Meadows, photo credit: USDA Forest Service


Permit information:

The Central Cascades Wilderness Permit area requires additional protection in an effort to preserve the natural beauty and wilderness experience for you and future visitors and to better manage recreation-related impacts. Use limits are based on trailhead entry points.

FAQ with Quota Tables

Where do I need a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit?

When are permits required?

Permits will be required starting on the first Friday before Memorial Day weekend, in May 2021. The last day of the permit season is late September 2021.

Where do I get the permits?

Permits will be available through recreation.gov, by calling 1-877-444-6777, and at some Willamette and Deschutes National Forest offices starting in the spring 2021.

When can I get a permit?

  • Dates for initial permit availability is TBD in spring 2021, postponed from the initial release date of April 7, 2020.

  • The remaining permit availability will become available seven days before a trip would start. For example, for a trip starting on a Friday, that permit could be reserved starting on the Friday prior.

What is the fee for the permits?

The only cost for the permits is the reservation fee charged by recreation.gov.

  • Day use permit: $1 per person, for each outing
  • Overnight permit: $6 per permit, for each outing

What information do I need to reserve a permit?

For overnight permits, you will need to create an account with recreation.gov. Once you have your account, you will need the following information to reserve a permit:

  • Entry date
  • Entry trailhead
  • Group size (maximum of 12)
  • For overnight permits:
  • Name of alternate trip leader (not required)
  • Length of trip
  • Number of stock (maximum of 12)

We recommend identifying alternative trailheads and entry dates, in case the trip you’re hoping for is not available.

Central Cascades Wilderness Permit Regulations

  • Permits are non-transferable.

  • Group Leaders cannot be changed, and at least one group leader or alternate group leader must be with the group.

  • You must enter the permit area on the entry date and entry trailhead shown on your permit.

  • All group members are required to start on the same day and camp together.

  • Maximum length of overnight stay is 14 consecutive days. People may not exit and reenter at a later date.

  • You must carry your permit with you and present it upon request to any Forest Officer or other law enforcement officer throughout the duration of your trip. Permits are non-transferable.

  • You may not re-enter on a different date using the same permit.

  • Travel between Central Cascades Wilderness areas is only allowed at Pacific Crest Trail trailheads.