Kat Dierickx | 02.03.2016

If you're considering a backcountry backpacking trip over the summer, now is the time to plan. Some permit lotteries are starting to open for the entire year, and others are on three to six month rolling windows, which means you should reserve your spots for June through August soon. Here are a few dates you may want to mark on your calendar along with other general permit information for the rolling window applications or reservations.


Determining which permits are necessary for certain trails or wilderness areas can be tricky. Here are a few tips to make the process smoother. 

  1. Plan ahead: It's never too early to plan for your next big adventure. The more time you give yourself, the better your chances of getting a permit. We know this great website for exploring adventures across the west if you're in need of inspiration...
  2. Do your homework: Know where you want to go and what trails you're going to access before starting the permit process. Then determine what permit is needed and mark your calendar for the application date or reservation window. We do our best to include all the permit information in the adventure description for each trail and wilderness area on Outdoor Project.
  3. Be flexible: It's a good idea to plan an alternate trip or route so you have options when it comes time to make your reservations. You can also look at different entry points for the same area as some are more popular starting points than others. If your timing is flexible or you can travel mid-week, you have a better chance at securing your permits.
  4. Go outside of high season: You'll improve your odds of getting a permit if you travel before June and after August. For a number of these areas that are accessible year round, you could skip the permit reservation shenanigans all together by planning your adventure in the the winter months.


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