The John Muir Trail runs from the Happy Isles trailhead in Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mt. Whitney near the Whitney Portal trailhead on Inyo National Forest. Wilderness permits in the Sierra Nevada are under a quota system that prevents crowding on the trail and protects the environment. John Muir Trail permits go quickly. Plan ahead.
Yosemite wilderness permit reservations are available 24 weeks (168 days) in advance. For each day, 60% can be reserved ahead of time. The remaining 40% are available on a first-come, first-served basis no earlier than 11 am the day before your hike begins. If you hope to reserve a permit, you should apply exactly 168 days in advance. See which trailheads are full.
The official northern terminus of the JMT is at the Happy Isles trailhead in Yosemite Valley.
Whitney Portal permits for the JMT can be reserved via recreation.gov. These permits are in extremely high demand and are issued using a lottery system. Applications to enter the lottery are accepted online from February 1 through March 15. Start dates in July, August and September usually fill completely from the lottery.
After the lottery is complete, remaining spaces are made available in the online system starting April 1st. From April 1st until 2 days before a trip entry date, reservations can be made online or through the Recreation.gov call center (1-877-444-6777).
Space is not saved for walk in permits. All permits must be picked up from the Eastern Sierra Inter-Agency Visitor Center in Lone Pine, CA.
The official southern terminus of the JMT is on the summit of Mt. Whitney. Most people access the summit from Whitney Portal, a trip of about 11 miles.
Perhaps you are doing a section of the trail, wishing to resupply, or can’t get a permit from one of the official termini. There are numerous other trailheads that allow for access onto the PCT and JMT. If you obtain a permit from one of these alternate trailheads, you can walk the access trail to the JMT and then continue on your JMT hike. Visit hikethru.com for a list of alternate JMT trailheads.
California Campfire Permits
California campfire permits are required for campfires, stoves and lanterns on the National Forest sections of the JMT. You can obtain one online or at any Forest Service, BLM and Cal Fire office in the state. They may not be available in the National Parks along the JMT as they are not required.
Can the PCTA issue me a permit?
We’re sorry, but we cannot. We only issue permits for trips of 500 miles or more. John Muir Trail thru-hikers and riders are not eligible for the PCT Long Distance Permit. We’re happy to advise you on how to get JMT permits from the appropriate sources.