Home A - Z FAQ Bookstore Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps Lodging About Search

July Walk Up Permit Question

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

Moderators: Wickett, dan

July Walk Up Permit Question

Postby knauer42 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:55 pm

Hello all,

My 3 buddies and I are going out to Yosemite this July, and we want to backpack for a few days starting on Monday, July 10th or Tuesday July 11th. Our preferred itinerary would be to start in Tuolumne Meadows and hike to the valley floor (passing over Clouds Rest). If we got HD permits, we would love to summit, but it isn't a deal breaker. We aren't terribly picky on which trailhead we start out of (we are even okay with going up to Glen Aulin and then turning south towards Tenaya Lake if we can't get Sunrise or Cathedral Lake TH permits).

I tried to get permits online, and was denied for all 3 options on both days. I even tried to get a Wednesday start permit (which doesn't really work with our travel plans), and was denied for that as well. We are coming from SC, so it is a little scary to fly all the way out there with all our gear and no backpacking permits, but I think that we will at least be able to get "some" permit to backpack in the park. I'm wondering how early we would need to be at the TM wilderness permit station on Sunday the 9th or Monday the 10th to successfully get a permit for our route? I've seen 4:00am thrown around online, but I have also seen some reports of success as late as 9:00am. Any thoughts or experience with how early we would need to be there?
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:47 pm

Re: July Walk Up Permit Question

Postby balzaccom » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:21 pm

A couple of thoughts.

There are no guarantees about these permits. As you have noted, the initial trailhead quota is full. That's the only "guaranteed" permit--but we once had one of these and then were denied because of a fire in the area. There are no guarantees. Some of the reserved permits have gone to people who will probably not show up, and will be made available to walk-ups later that morning. You can also get a permit after 11 a.m. on the day BEFORE you want to start hiking, so that might be an option for you.

Will you be able to get a permit for four people to hike from Tuolumne meadows to Happy Isles as walk-ups? Probably. But four people is harder than one or two. And you may have to take some different version of your hike: Cathedral, Rafferty, Lyell, Sunrise, Nelson and Budd Lakes all offer some way to do what you are trying to do--although some of those require cross-country navigation off the trail. You will certainly be able to get a permit to go backpacking in Yosemite somewhere....so I would advise you to be a little flexibly in what you want, and you will be fine. The folks in the wilderness office do not usually suggest alternative routes if your route is not available, so you need to come prepared to do that for yourself.

And that will give you something fun to do between now and then, researching backpacking trips in Yosemite. What fun!
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
Posts: 1291
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Re: July Walk Up Permit Question

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:16 pm

There are several opportunities for a walk in. You can get there before 11 am on the 9th and ask for the unclaimed reserved permits, or any walk in permits available, for the 9th. That would mean starting on the 9th. You can if unsuccessful hang out til after 11 am and get permits for the next day, as walk ins. If that fails, you camp and get back to the wilderness office early to try for the 10th, trying to get unclaimed reserved permits which are released at 10 am each day.

Develop a list of 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, even 4th choice, and go prepared.

Almost 15,000 people attempted reserving permits in 2016. Another nearly 30,000 attempted JMT permits -- that's a separate stat from the 15k reserving for other trail heads. That is a HUGE increase just from 2015. You have a lot of competition. So the last resort should be trips outside the park -- you will always get a permit for Saddlebag lakes loop because there is no quota, you can check on Hoover Wilderness permit policies, you can drive down to the Interagency center in Mammoth and pick up walk ins for trails out of Reds Meadow or Agnew Meadow -- contingencies will be good. Or as a backup try for a campsite in the main campground in Tuolumne and just day hike all over that area, which is also worthwhile.
Posts: 1832
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Return to Yosemite Hiking & Backpacking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests