Permits

Permits for travel along the Pacific Crest Trail are required in some but not all areas of the trail.

Single-day and self-sufficient, non-resupplied PCT travel near your home is appropriate where allowed. We continue to recommend avoiding long-distance travel at this time.

Please read our current COVID-19 statement and our Guidance for Recreating on the PCT During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

A message from the Forest Service regarding permits

May 18 update

As the lead administrator for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, the Forest Service takes seriously our agency’s motto: “Caring for the land and serving the people.” That enduring value guides us as we face the difficult challenge of responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event and we appreciate the magnitude of the impact on healthcare workers and communities around the globe. It will no doubt touch each of you as well.

As you are likely aware, the terms of your PCT long-distance permit require you to start at the permitted location on the permitted start date and comply with local regulations. This allows the distribution of hikers and equestrians in a manner that minimizes your impact to the trail and maximizes access opportunities. Permit holders must comply with all terms and conditions of the permit or the permit may be invalidated and revoked. This applies even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be advised that your PCT long-distance permit is valid only on public lands that are open for travel.

Please follow state, local and federal guidelines, including stay-at-home orders.

Please be patient, as the situation is unprecedented, dynamic and rapidly changing. In this climate, we know that these changes are stressful, your safety and wellbeing is our highest priority.

Thank you,
Beth Boyst
USFS Pacific Crest Trail Administrator

Updates to the PCT permit system due to COVID-19

May 18 update

Given the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, per U.S. Forest Service direction:

  • The PCT Long-distance Permit application is closed for 2020 and no new applications will be accepted.
  • Permits already issued remain valid as long as you are in compliance with the terms of the permit and all regulations and policies, including state and local stay-at-home orders.
  • If state and local orders allow and you decide to use your long-distance permit, you must follow the terms of your previously issued permit. For your permit to be valid, you must start on the start date at the start location listed on your permit. From there, your permit is valid for a single continuous trip. If you do not meet the terms of your permit, your permit is not valid and cannot be used at all.
  • We hope to announce permit application dates and details for the 2021 season by the end of August. (This is tentative.)
  • There has been no decision made on transferring canceled permits from 2020 to 2021, and we hope to address this by the end of August.

March 20, 2020 update

The Canada Border Services Agency has temporarily suspended all Canada PCT Entry Permit application processing.

March 20, 2020 update

Given the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, for the time being, per U.S. Forest Service direction:

  • All canceled PCT long-distance permits, regardless of direction and starting location, will not be reissued for others to use.
  • New or pending PCT long-distance permits requests are not being accepted or approved. See CDC and state guidelines for local travel on the PCT. Contact local U.S. Forest Service or National Park Service offices regarding local permits.
  • There has been no decision made on whether to re-open the permit process later this year.

Are you doing a long or short trip?

Other types of permits

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