Jan 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm #1284961
I'm doing some pre trip planning and would love some assistance from the community. I am planning a Northbound hike from Kennedy Meadows campground to Yosemite Valley. I plan on following the PCT until it meets the JMT and continuing on the JMT until I reach Yosemite.
As much as I would love to summit Whitney, the permit must be picked up in Lone Pine which is out of my way. I am content with skipping the Lone Pine/Mt. Whitney section.
My question is this: What permit is required to hike/camp along the PCT between Kennedy Meadows and the point at which the trail meets the JMT? Is there a separate permit required to hike the JMT and spend a night in Yosemite Valley?
Thanks in advance!
ChrisFeb 1, 2012 at 8:28 am #1832707
Can anyone offer me some insight here?
ChrisFeb 1, 2012 at 9:04 am #1832724
Jim W.BPL Member
I researched a similar trip last year and discussed the permit issue with the Wilderness Permit office. (different start point but similar climb of Whitney without exiting at Whitney Portal).
From Kennedy Meadows PCT to JMT Junction, climb Whitney & return to junction, take PCT or JMT to Yosemite (Tuolumne), then JMT to Yosemite Valley.
You start in the Sierra South Wilderness, part of Inyo National Forest. (Trail Code S 65) You will need a wilderness permit, but there is no quota for that trailhead. The permit will cover you all the way to trip end at Yosemite Valley as long as your dates and route are generally correct.
South Sierra Wilderness (Trail code begins with S)
Permits are required year round for overnight trips.
Trails are not limited by quota
A Whitney exit quota exists if you are starting from an Inyo NF trailhead and passing through the Inyo NF "Whitney Zone". Your route does not pass through this zone because the JMT from Crabtree to Whitney summit is entirely within Sequoia National Park.
Whitney Zone map: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5130080.pdf
Also note that the Whitney Zone and JMT from Crabtree JCT to the summit is a "pack out your solid human excrement" zone. This applies only to those exiting at Whitney Portal (as carrying your &hit for another week would probably be a violation of EPA rules.) Still, try not to leave any deposits above treeline.
Call the Wilderness Permit Office in Bishop to find out how to pick up your permit- I don't know if there's a ranger or self-issue station at Kennedy Meadows.
Wilderness information phone line is open 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
During the summer season open every day from May 15 to Oct. 15.
During the winter season (Oct. 16 to May 14) closed on weekends and holidays.
Phone: (760) 873-2483
-Horseshoe Meadow is very close to PCT- in fact if you go out over Trail Pass and back in over New Army Pass you do a little more climbing but only a couple more miles. No store, phone, or scheduled transport to Lone Pine. Also it's only 50 miles from the start.
-Whitney Portal- Need the permit plus it means carrying your whole kit to 14,000' and down/back up from 8600'.
-Kearsarge Pass/Onion Valley- About mile 115 including Whitney sidetrip. Have to hitch to town and pick up a package at PO, or hitch to Lone Pine or Bishop for decent grocery selection.
Then of course Muir Trail Ranch or Vermillion Valley Resort, Red's Meadow, and Tuolumne Meadows.Feb 1, 2012 at 10:53 am #1832795
Inaki Diaz de EturaBPL Member
@inaki-1Locale: Iberia highlands
> and spend a night in Yosemite Valley?
it used to be possible to spend the night before and/or after your trip in the backpackers campground in the valley.Feb 1, 2012 at 11:15 am #1832810
Lance MBPL Member
I'm planning a similar NB PCT hike from Walker Pass to Tuolumne Meadows. Just yesterday I called both the Sequoia National Forest Headquarters and the Inyo National Forest Headquarters. They both confirmed that I would NOT need a permit to enter the South Sierra Wilderness on the PCT. They both stated that I WOULD need a permit when I reached the Golden Trout Wilderness. They both stated that the permit would cover all subsequent wildernesses and parks along my route.
The person from Inyo NF stated I should get the permit from Sequoia NF because I was beginning my hike in the Sequoia NF at Walker Pass.
The person from Sequoia NF stated I should get the permit from Sequoia NF because I was first stepping foot in a permitted area (Golden Trout Wilderness) within their jurisdiction. She said that the entry date on the permit should be the earliest date I anticipated entering the Golden Trout Wilderness, not that date I start from Walker Pass. She had good suggestions for filling out the permit in regards to variable arrival dates and camp sites inherent with a long hike.
You can download a permit application and mail or fax it back.
I didn’t ask about Mt Whitney because I am confident a permit is not required when approaching from and returning to the PCT.
Don’t forget a California Campfire Permit. You’ll have to wait until they’ve been updated. As of yesterday, the self issue permit still had a 12/31/11 expiration date.
Hope this helps.Feb 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm #1832836
Yes, it is still possible to stay in Backpackers for one night before and one after.Feb 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm #1833016
Guys, huge help.
I called both Yosemite and Sequoia National Forest and got the same answer. I only need one (free) permit for the Golden Trout Wilderness which is good for the remainder of my JMT hike into Yosemite Valley. The Yosemite ranger was super helpful and called around to make sure this was, in fact, correct. The ranger from Sequoia said approximate entry dates are fine and that he would fax the permit to me in advance.
-ChrisFeb 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm #1838983
I have just had my first three start dates for the JMT refused by Yosemite, and I offered three options for each, HI thru, HI-LYV,and Glacier Point_LYV. I had intended to climb Half Dome and Clouds Rest on the way, but if all else fails I will day hike HI to Tuol and start properly there. However, is it any easier to get a Tuolumne start permit? How about starting somewhere like Olmstead, going down to the valley, and then up again from HI ? Would an HI permit still be required? I particularly want to go N – S, otherwise the options above sound great.Feb 14, 2012 at 3:38 am #1839212
Got an excellent answer to this on a parallel thread, and I have now been accepted, starting at Glacier exiting at Whitney, with the first night in the Illilouette area.Feb 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm #1839603
Justice BakerBPL Member
@jkokbakerLocale: Central Oregon
Hey John, I applied for the same permits as you did yesterday, then did the same thing again and got my first request, Happy Isles to Sunrise/Merced Lake (pass through). I was prepared to apply for the permits all week but got luck today. It looks like I might see you on the trail, I am starting on 7/31 and plan to hike it in 14 to 17 days, I will not be in a big hurry, enjoy the hike.Feb 14, 2012 at 7:45 pm #1839611
@rp3957Locale: The Sierras
Chris, you can reserve your permits for this hike from Recreation.Gov, with a Kennedy Meadows start and a Happy Isles finish and a visit to Whitney from the west side if you want to add it for the $15 whitney fee. You still have to pick up your permit from an Inyo Ranger station. You can book them 6 months in advance. Kennedy is a non-qouta trail, so you don't have to pick them up until your trip. You may want to take a look at going over Cottonwood Pass and then you can get a reservable permit that covers your whole trip. I just checked, and there is a lot of open spaces.Feb 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm #1841689
Justice BakerBPL Member
@jkokbakerLocale: Central Oregon
I just received my reservation confirmation in the mail today, now only 23 weeks and 2 days to go until my start date. This may be the same as previous years, but I was reading about Half Dome permits and if you wilderness permit come close to the Half Dome hike you can get a Half Dome permit also, I have to do that also.Feb 20, 2012 at 12:07 am #1841796
If you have a permit for the whole JMT, they will give you a Half Dome permit without your having to apply separately for it, so no lottery. Pick it up when you get your Wilderness Permit.
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