Application dates for the 2017 PCT long-distance permit

We’re excited about another great season on the Pacific Crest Trail and we hope you are too. Some of you will be taking very long hikes or horseback rides on the trail this year. This information is for you. While this is a simple round-up of what the 2017 permit process will look like, it’s important that you read, understand and follow all the information outlined on our permit page. After reading it all, if you have questions, just ask. You’ll also find answers and important trip planning information in the Discover the Trail section of our website.

The long-distance permit is only for people who are traveling 500 or more continuous miles in a single trip. If you are doing a series of section hikes, or not hiking 500 continuous miles in a single trip, you’ll need to apply for permits from the local land management agency where you will start your trip. We’re happy to explain how to do this if you need help.

The information below is for long-distance permits only.

Opening dates for the PCT long-distance permit

                Starting at or near the Mexican border (both thru-hikers and section hikers)

These permits are limited to 50 people per day. We will release these permits in two phases, so if you miss getting a permit in the first phase, you’ll have the opportunity to try again.

  1. On January 24 at 10:30 a.m. PST, 35 permits per day will become available.
  2. On February 13 at 10:30 a.m. PST, the remaining 15 permits per day will become available.

               Starting elsewhere (Southbound thru-hikers and other section hike itineraries)

We’ll start accepting permit applications on February 13 at 10:30 a.m. PST.

How to apply for a long-distance permit

  1. Read everything on our permit page. It outlines additional permits and important information that you’ll need.
  2. Research your start day and location. You need to commit to your selected date and location before you apply for a permit. Changing either of these can negatively affect other people’s experience on the PCT. You will also need to fill out your name and contact information.
  3. Do not fill out the application more than once. Doing so may result in the cancellation of your request.
    1. You’ll get an email confirming receipt of your application right away.
    2. We’ll review your application. If it has errors, it may be cancelled or delayed; so, double check your information before you apply.
    3. We’ll start approving and issuing permits on Feb. 15. We’ll prioritize applications for people starting early in the year. We work as quickly as we possibly can to issue permits. Please don’t ask for a status check unless weeks have gone by and you suspect something is amiss.

The Mount Whitney area

In 2017, PCT long-distance permit holders will be allowed to day hike from the PCT to the summit of Mount Whitney and back to the PCT. There is no fee, nor any additional permits needed.  Long-distance permit holders should camp west of the Crabtree Ranger Station.  Do not camp between Crabtree Ranger Station and the summit of Mount Whitney. Stock is not permitted beyond the base of the switchbacks on Mount Whitney.

Also, you can get a special add-on to your long-distance permit that will allow you to descend the mountain eastbound to Whitney Portal (and Lone Pine.) This access along the Whitney Trail crosses the Inyo National Forest. This special add-on (attached to your long-distance permit) is for people wanting to end their trip at Whitney Portal or those who wish to visit the area for resupply. It costs $21 and is non-refundable.

…And please follow Leave No Trace ethics

Please take a moment to check out our PCT specific Leave No Trace information. It’s up to all of us to take care of the trail and the surrounding landscape.  Following LNT practices is important for protecting the environment along the trail and ensuring that the PCT provides a wild experience for all hikers and horseback for years to come.

Have a wonderful year on the trail!

Author: Jack "Found" Haskel

As the Trail Information Manager, Jack works to connect people to the PCT. He's involved with a wide variety of projects that help the trail, the trail's users and the community that surrounds the experience. He has thru-hiked (Pacific Crest Trail in 2006; Colorado Trail in 2008; Continental Divide Trail in 2010) and is an obsessed weekend warrior.