Mt Whitney Permits

Permits are required year round for entry into the Mt. Whitney Zone. A valid overnight permit or day use permit is required.

Your permit must be visible as you hike in the Mt. Whitney Zone. Use the wire affixed to the permit to attach your permit to your gear.

A Permit For The Mt. Whitney Zone Is Required No Matter Where Or When You Start.

A quota system is in effect between May 1 and November 1 each year.

A lottery, beginning each February 15th, assigns advance reservations (15 per group maximum) for the quota period on the Mt. Whitney Trail.

The Mt. Whitney Zone limits day use (100 daily); overnight (Mt. Whitney Trail, 60 daily); Trail Crest exits (west entry - east exit, 25 daily) while quotas are in effect.

Trail Crest permits (entering elsewhere; exiting at Whitney Portal) have a separate application process.

You can get a permit for day use or overnight; with a day use permit you must not camp or sleep. You may start before sunrise and you are limited to a 24-hour period on the trail.

All applications must be submitted by snail mail. No fax, internet, email or phone applications are accepted.

Applications must be submitted with a $15 fee per person; payable by Visa, Matercard, or check to “USDA Forest Service”.

Payment is processed ONLY if applications are accepted.

There are NO REFUNDS

Mail your application (post marked in February) for the Mt. Whitney lottery to:

Mt. Whitney Lottery
Wilderness Permit Office

Inyo National Forest
351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200
Bishop, CA 93514
Wilderness Information Line: (760) 873-2485
Reservation Line: (760) 873-2483
Fax: (760) 873-2484
_Open Monday through Friday, mid-October to mid-May, 8:00am to 4:30pm
The rest of the year open 7 days a week, 8:00am to 4:30pm


You can pick up your permit only from the Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine and you must do so (or call to confirm) within one or two days prior to entrance of the Whitney Trail. You will forfeit your permit if you do not pick it up in time

  • Day use permits must be picked up by noon the day before
  • Overnight permits must be picked up by 10 AM on the same day

Where to Pick Up Your Mt. Whitney Permit

Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center
Intersection of Highway 395 & State Route 136
2 miles south of Lone Pine
(760) 876-6200

What happens if I don’t use a permit while hiking in the Mt. Whitney Zone?

You will be fined and asked to leave (no joke). The rangers patrol regularly to ensure hiker safety and enforce permit regulations. According to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 36, Sec. 261.17, the failure to pay recreation fees is punishable by a fine (for a first offense) of not more than $100, as well as being directed to leave the mountain immediately.