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Wilderness Permit start day analysis

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:40 am
by Justin-T
Reserved wilderness permits for many trailheads are gone on the first day you can apply for them. Having participated in this process for a couple of years and planning to do so again this week, I wondered whether there was any way of improving my chances by trying for specific days of the week. So, I went through all the trailheads listed here and did some analysis: ... lheads.pdf

To keep it simple, I looked only at July, the spread was July 1 to July 21, so that all days of the week were equally represented (i.e.: three times each). I just counted up all the trailheads that were full for each date on the day I did it (early last week, when July 21 was the latest day recorded). Not perfect, but its a pretty large sample for each day, and here's what I found:

Imagepermit day by

Bottom line is, perhaps not surprisingly (but in these days when politicians seem to be free to take a position without there being any evidence, its good to show actual data), that weekend permits are more in demand, and the Weds/Thurs/Fri permits are the easiest. The difference isn't huge, but if you can start your backcountry trip later in the week you will probably increase your chances of getting the permit you want.