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need HELP with wilderness permits
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Sabine Funk
(SabineFunk) - F
need HELP with wilderness permits on 05/29/2011 14:03:13 MDT Print View

Hey guys,

I am from europe so I am not used to the permit system of the USA.

I plan to hike the JMT SOBO.
As it's almost impossible to start from Tuolumne Meadows or Yosemite Valley (permits....), I plan to start at Murphy Creek, a trailhead at Tioga Rd, that takes you a little notheast, then goes down to Tuolumne Meadows. But now I'm not sure... I have to cross the Tioga Rd in Tuloumne Meadows and enter the trail again. Do I need a new permit then????

Same with a resupply. I think about resupplying in Bishop. So what if I leave and reenter the trail in one and the same day. Does my permit expire and I need a new one or can I go on the same permit again....

Hope someone can help me, I didn't find any information on this at all =(


Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
need HELP with wilderness permits on 05/29/2011 16:15:12 MDT Print View

This is my understanding of the permit system based on preparation for a JMT trip that didn't happen (yet). Others might have different or better information.

General permit information:

You will need a permit. The permit will list your starting trailhead and first night's campsite but there is no special JMT designation on any permit. Even if you leave from Happy Isles/YV, your permit does not regulate where your subsequent campsites have to be. It does not matter if you cross Tioga road if you already have a permit (this is all within the Yosemite NP boundary). The more-difficult permits to get out of Tuolumne Meadows will be those with a first night in Lyell Canyon. Once you have a permit (from whichever TH you start at), you will not need another permit. You can leave the trail to re-supply and the permit is still good. Going SOBO, you do not need any special permit to summit Mt. Whitney either.

Your route:

I do not know if you can start at the Murphy Creek TH and continue on the JMT, but you should send an email to the permit office stating clearly your intended route (Murphy Creek to Glen Aulin to Lyell Canyon). They should be able to provide information and I got email responses within a few days to every question I asked. There is a backpacker's campground at Tuolumne Meadows if you need one.

It is still possible for you to get a permit from either Happy Isles/Yosemite Valley or Tuolumne Meadows, especially if you are hiking solo. There are some "walk-up" permits available at both places, when the wilderness office opens in the morning. If you can get to the wilderness office a few hours before it opens, you have a very good chance of getting a permit. You can camp at the backpackers' campground in YV and have less than 2km easy walking on a path to the wilderness office. You need to get the permit on the day BEFORE you plan to start. You can then hang out in the valley for the day, where there is a grocery store and restaurants.

Finally, if you don't have it, the JMT book by Elizabeth Wenk (available at Amazon) is a great planning tool and lists most of the campsites along the JMT.

Cameron Heggi
(cheggi) - F
need HELP with wilderness permits on 06/24/2011 15:00:42 MDT Print View

I'm not sure if you still need this info, but I was able to get permits from Murphy Creek through to Whitney Portal, heading sobo on 7/15. Best of luck!


Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
Re: need HELP with wilderness permits on 06/24/2011 15:56:22 MDT Print View

Even though I am from the US, I wasn't familiar with the permit system either. But I spoke with the permiting office, and I was told that once you get your permit, it is good for the duration of your trip. So as long as you do not stop your trip, then you are good with having the original permit until you finish. This includes having to go and re-supply etc. Have a great trip!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: need HELP with wilderness permits on 06/24/2011 16:25:27 MDT Print View

The reason all of this is so confusing is because there is no single system of wilderness permits. Each jurisdiction and park has its own permit rules and quotas. The National Park System is part of the Department of the Interior, and the National Forest System is part of the Department of Agriculture. You wouldn't expect two government agencies to talk, would you?

The problem got bad enough that the different agencies did have to talk, and they arranged it so that you can do a lot with a single permit now. You need to discuss your plans with the permit issuer so that the right details are noted.