JMT permits are in high demand. There are more people interested in hiking the John Muir Trail than the trail can handle. If you can’t get a permit, you might need to hike somewhere else on the PCT or in the Sierra Nevada off of the JMT/PCT corridor.
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.
You’ll get a permit from the agency that manages the trailhead that you’re starting at. Read our main permit page for more information.
Yosemite wilderness permit reservations are available 24 weeks (168 days) in advance. Read the JMT permit page on Yosemite’s website. 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 by calling the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office for reservation assistance (1-760-873-2483).
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.
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.