PCT Long-distance Permit Application – 2017

If you are travelling 500 continuous miles or more in a single trip, you may apply for this permit. If your trip on the Pacific Crest Trail is less than 500 miles, and requires a permit, please apply for one from the local land management agency. Please read all of the permit specifics and requirements before submitting your application. Also, take a moment to review the PCT Leave No Trace guidelines. It is our shared passion that will keep the Pacific Crest Trail the high quality experience that it is.

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.

  • On January 24 at 10:30 a.m. PST, 35 permits per day will become available.
  • 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.

Do not fill out the application more than once. Doing so may result in the cancellation of your application.

Trip information


Is this a thru-hike?

Starting at Mexican border?
Please provide a starting point for your hike.
Please provide an ending point for your hike.

Please specify a hiking direction?

The calendar below shows how many people are starting at the Mexican border every day. Please use this information to choose an itinerary starting at a less crowded time or location. There are spots per day.

Please provide a valid starting date for your hike.
Reserve this start date until you finish applying by clicking on the Lock in Date button below:
Lock in Date
(2 remaining)
Break Lock
Please provide a valid ending date for your hike.


Please select a travel method.
Number of stock must be between 1 and 3.

Are you over 18?

At the time of application, please email ([email protected] ) or fax (916-285-1865) a scanned copy of a written and signed letter of consent from your parent or guardian. The letter must state the dates and location of your proposed trip. You must carry this letter at all times while you’re on the PCT. Permit applications for unaccompanied minors under 16 years old will be reviewed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Permanent Mailing Address

Please enter your first name. Please enter your last name.
Please select a country.
Please enter your address. Please enter your city.
Please enter your state. Please enter your zip.
Please provide a valid phone number. Please provide a valid e-mail address.Emails do not match.

Mount Whitney Zone Permit

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.


Do you plan to enter the whitney zone?

Optional PCTA Membership:

The memories last a lifetime and so should the trail. Your membership supports countless trail maintenance and trail use management programs, land protection efforts and volunteer opportunities.

$35 Suggested membership. $25 Student/Senior membership.
Membership benefits also include one-year subscriptions to the PCT Communicator and Backpacker magazines, a sticker, a map brochure, invitations to join volunteer projects and discounts at the PCTA store. The Backpacker subscription is for US residents only. International members, we add $25 for shipping of the PCT Communicator.


International members can uncheck this box to opt-out of receiving the PCT Communicator and remove the $25 shipping fee.

*Payment

$0 Donation
$25 International Shipping of Communicator Magazine
$0 Whitney Fee - charged when permit is approved
Today's Total: $0
Please select a payment type.
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Donations will be processed when you click submit.

You will need to mail your check in with your signed permit application. Please make checks payable to Pacific Crest Trail Association.

Permit application confirmation

Congratulations on submitting your application! Truly, we share your excitement for the Pacific Crest Trail.

You have applied for a PCT Long-distance permit. This screen is NOT your permit and you have not yet been issued one.

We will be sending you a series of emails. Soon, you should have one in your email inbox noting that your application was received. You might need to check your junk mail folder. Please mark emails from PCTA as “not junk”

Once processed, you’ll receive another email with your permit as a PDF attachment. You’ll need to print it and carry a paper copy with you on the trail.

Travel safely and responsibly

Please take a moment to read the “Discover the Trail” section of our website. It’s full of important information about trip planning, safety and traveling lightly on the land.

As a long-distance hiker/horseback rider, you’ll be spending a large number of nights on the PCT and it’s very important for you to take extra steps to protect this special place. Please watch this video about Leave No Trace.

Photo by: Nathaniel Middleton