Aug 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm #1293080
It has been more than a decade but next year I am planning to return to the US for a walking holiday (and there was joy). Current project is to walk across the Sierra’s, north to south, from Lake South Tahoe to Onyx/Lake Isabella. My trailhead will be Echo Summit (so NOT starting at Desolation Wilderness). I will follow the PCT.
Plenty of information on the web, but I am a bit confused with the permit system. If I am correct, I will
– need just one single wilderness permit for the whole journey,
– issued at/by the entry point of the first permit-based area I will enter.
1) what about the ‘Meiss Country Roadless Area’, the area I will enter at the trailhead. Does that classify as a the first entry point I just mentioned? Apparently no permits are needed. Thus no permits issued at all (?) => thus I have to apply with the next area I will enter (?) => Mokelumne Wilderness (?).
2) I will enter Mokelumne Wilderness through Carson Pass. Will the ‘Carson Pass Information Station’ issue a permit on the spot? There seems not to be quota in place for that particular area. Official information about Mokelumne Wilderness permits: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/eldorado/specialplaces/?cid=fsbdev7_019078&width=full
A permit issued on the spot would obviously safe me some hassle. The station at Carson Pass is open 7/7.
Looking forward for your input
WimAug 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm #1903577
Link .BPL Member
Andrews site might help.You can click on even more info on the right side of the page I linked.Aug 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm #1903578
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I think you will be hiking along the Sierra Nevada, not multiple Sierras and certainly not possessive Sierra's.
There are about three large agencies that you might have to deal with. One is the National Park Service (NPS) which is part of the Department of the Interior. They control the national parks and monuments, and they issue permits for wilderness use there. One is the National Forest Service (NFS) which is part of the Department of Agriculture. They control the national forests which often surround the national parks, and they issue permits for forest wilderness use there. Additionally, there is the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and they issue permits for BLM land in some cases.
In some cases, a national forest may have some small special area included within it, like a named roadless area or wilderness area, so sometimes there are special rules and permits. However, the national forest permit station can issue any permit that is required. In some cases they have daily usage quotas. In a few spots, they have do-it-yourself permits.
Yes, it is supposed to be that you can be issued one single permit that authorizes you for a thousand miles or more. You may be delving into the depths of government bureaucracy to get that done, but that's the way it is supposed to work in theory.
–B.G.–Aug 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm #1903611
@braapLocale: Bay Area
Since you will be hiking along the PCT, why not get your permit through the PCTA? Echo Lake is at PCT Mile ~1103, Walker Pass/Onyx is at ~643. So about 460 Miles. The PCTA states that for a single trip longer than 500 miles they will issue the permit good through all wilderness areas. Perhaps close enough for you to obtain a permit from the PCTA. It would probably be worth contacting them.Aug 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm #1903614
Cayenne RedmonkBPL Member
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
Permits in CA mostly regulate entry to keep areas close to parking lots dispersed.
Once you are on the trail, you are generally free to wander.Aug 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm #1903650
Paul McLaughlinBPL Member
If you start at Echo summit, you are starting in the Eldorado National forest. You will still be in the Eldorado when you enter the Mokelumne Wilderness. So you get your permit from them.
From what I see on the Eldo NF website, there appear to be no trailhead quotas for the Mokelumne Wilderness, which should mean that you can pick your permit up at Carson Pass as you suggest, without having to reserve one. But it would be worth checking with them to be certain.
This is the contact page:Aug 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm #1903672
Thank you all for your input. Seems that ideally, Carson Pass station will be the first to contact.
Apologies for the incorrect spelling in the subject line (mixing Dutch with English rules…).
WimAug 18, 2012 at 7:50 am #1903700
Sounds like you have a great trip ahead of you… have a great time!Jan 29, 2013 at 10:51 am #1948430
Just checked the nps.gov/yose website and noticed that some trailheads in September 2013 are already fully booked (http://www.nps.gov/featurecontent/yose/upload/rptFullTrailheadDates.htm). On their website however, they indicate reservations can only be done 24 weeks in advance (http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermitdates.htm).
As a lawyer :-), this draws my attention: are there loopholes?
WimJan 29, 2013 at 11:09 am #1948436
Art …BPL Member
even though Bob is technically correct …
many of us here in the U.S. also use the plural Sierras when speaking of the " Sierra ", simply because it rolls off the tongue better.Jan 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm #1948466
Jeremy and AngelaBPL Member
@requiemLocale: Northern California
See item 5 in the FAQ:
I suggest calling to confirm, but I'm pretty sure those limits only apply to people starting their hikes at that trailhead. Since you don't need a permit for that trailhead, you should be fine.
From talking to the rangers in the past, I'll second the comment that it's about dispersal; you can go anywhere you like once past the starting trailhead.Jan 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm #1948500
Michael RayBPL Member
You should only have to deal with Yosemite if you want to hike Half Dome while you're passing through.
Though it is curious why those dates that far out are full before you can even apply. Special NPS functions or maintenance?Jan 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm #1948508
nmJan 29, 2013 at 6:16 pm #1948620
The question is of course a non-issue when starting outside Yosemite (with the exception of Half Dome). But what if one starts hiking oud from one of the Yosemite trailheads, as I am currently considering.
WimJan 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm #1948637
Michael RayBPL Member
If you start from Yosemite, then you will need a permit from Yosemite and those are much harder to get.Feb 6, 2013 at 11:34 pm #1951678
>> "Since you will be hiking along the PCT, why not get your permit through the PCTA? Echo Lake is at PCT Mile ~1103, Walker Pass/Onyx is at ~643. So about 460 Miles. The PCTA states that for a single trip longer than 500 miles they will issue the permit good through all wilderness areas. Perhaps close enough for you to obtain a permit from the PCTA. It would probably be worth contacting them.
I think this would be the most stress free option. Once you get into Yosemite, go to the Wilderness Permit Office if you're planning on doing side trips off the PCT (like Half Dome).Feb 7, 2013 at 5:20 am #1951701
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Since the trip is less than 500 miles, it is not eligible for the PCTA issued permit. Please don't apply for it.
It'll be easy to get a permit for the stated itinerary. There are no quotas as far as I know for trips starting at Echo Pass and heading south.
Source: I'm in charge of the PCTA permit.
If anyone needs advice of PCT permits, please visit our new website at pcta.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm happy to help!Feb 7, 2013 at 6:51 am #1951718
A PCT-permit is already out of the question as I have decided to merely walk the JMT. Still, my issue remains open: how come that Yoesmite permits are already booked out e.g. for September 2013.
WimFeb 7, 2013 at 7:11 am #1951721
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Wim – Looks like a little more than half of the permits are reservable 168 days out but almost half are only available first come-first serve before 11 AM the day you plan to enter the wilderness areas of Yosemite, according to their website:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm (accessed Feb 7, 2013)
Only Grand Canyon seems to be reserve 100% to the best of my knowledge but back to Yosemite.
Think we are more than 168 days out (not about to whip out my Julian calendar), so my speculation is maybe Yosemite still has their 2012 data loaded for the TH quota? Also check the rangers to ask about the best dates.Feb 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm #1951967
I think they may of just recently updated it…
(Keep in mind, that they show the days that are not available, rather than what is open.)
You can start applying for permits 24 weeks (168 days)in advance of the date you want. They have a chart here: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermitdates.htm
So, if you wanted September 1st… you could fax in your permit request anytime after 5:00pm(PST)on March 16. However, if you get denied after trying a few times, I wouldn't worry about it too much. As being 1 person, the probability of getting a first-come-first-served permit the day before your trip would be high.
Also, if you just want a big walk, you could probably get a permit from from Mono/Parker trailhead in Yosemite on your date without much trouble. It joins up with the JMT down by Thousand Island Lake. Although, the logistics of getting a shuttle to that trailhead can take up so much time, that it isn't worth it.Feb 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm #1952008
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