Do You Need A Permit To Day Hike In Yosemite?

To really appreciate its landscape, you should do a hike in Yosemite. Its wilderness is a perfect getaway for those who want to unwind and feel the greatness of nature. Yosemite National Park is a wonderful locale where you can find beautiful sceneries, lush trees and shrubs, and magnificent glaciers. However, would coming to this area need permits? 

A wilderness permit is necessary for Yosemite Wilderness but only for climbing, backpacking, and overnight stay. Similarly, you will also need a pass if you want a day’s visit in the half dome trail. However, you won’t need it if you go for a day hiking in the campgrounds or when entering lodging facilities.

Are you planning to go to Yosemite for your next trip? That is great! You will surely love Yosemite and the adventures that you will experience on this site. To enjoy it more, know more about permits and other stuff you need before going to this place.

What Yosemite Hikes Require Permits

Yosemite is a popular national park, so, understandably, many people want to visit the place. However, that would cause overcrowding that would affect people’s experience and the tranquility of the park. The park had a trailhead quota system that limits the people’s entrance to particular trails to avoid hassle. It would be wise to take note of this information so that you can plan a day hike in Yosemite.

For the trails, 60% of the day quota can be reserved by hikers. The remaining 40% is issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservation is better and highly recommended so hikers and campers can have a great time in the wilderness. 

Again, the trailhead quota is also the reason why permits are required all year round. However, it is only needed by those who will stay overnight, who want to try climbing, and for backpackers. Day hiking doesn’t require a permit, but hikers and campers need to follow the trailhead quota system.

Aside from that, a day hike to half dome needs authorization as well. Some popular areas like the John Muir Trail have additional procedures you need to accomplish before entering the area.

Why Do You Need A Permit To Hike Half Dome?

If you visit Yosemite, Half Dome is one of the places you should never forget to see. It is one of the most popular areas to hike in Yosemite as its peak is around 5000 feet high. The area is accessible to people, but they need to follow a strenuous trail to reach the top. 

The hike to the top is a one-of-a-kind experience that will surely give hikers a different excitement. Once they reach the summit, they will see a breathtaking view that people will never have in other locations. It is the reason why permits are necessary for visiting the Half Dome.

To preserve the beauty, enhance its wilderness, safety, and avoid overcrowding, the NPC (National Park Service) developed a control system for visitors. One of the mechanisms is to give day permits to regulate access in the area. 

When the Half Dome cables are up, permits are required for the whole week. The management usually opens the cable system in the last week of May until the second Monday of October. Only 300 (75 backpackers and 225 hikers) hikers can visit the area over the sub dome base. 

The Half Dome permits are given based on a lottery system. To join the lottery, you will need to apply for it months before your desired visit. Once you get the permit, you will get a notification via email.

Do You Need A Permit To Backpack In Yosemite?

Contrary to what people believe, backpacking in Yosemite National Park is allowed. Many backpackers love to visit this place to get away from the city and experience its great wilderness. Aside from that, the Yosemite National Park also provides great backpacking opportunities that other parks don’t have. If you and your group visit on a sunny day, experience the hike to Yosemite to maximize your stay.

However, to experience backcountry camping, you first need to get permits. As mentioned earlier, these are necessary to protect and preserve the wilderness’s beauty and tranquility. You will need a wilderness permit to access the trail, but it’s only given to a limited number of people. 

The best way to get a permission ticket is to ask for a reservation ahead of time. You can also try to come earlier as they issue permits on a first-come, first-serve basis. To ensure you have the right information, also check the NPS site for updates. 

Accessing the site will give you updated information about permits, policies, and other stuff you need to know about Yosemite.

How To Get A Permit to Hike In Yosemite

To get the wilderness permit, here is the step-by-step procedure. 

1. Where You Will Start Your Overnight Hike

To start your overnight stay, you will need to decide where to begin your hike. You can check the trailhead map to check the best places to start your overnight hiking. Again, to get more information about trailhead, quotas, and other details, check the trailhead information page. 

2. Trailhead Reservation Availability

If you want to know if the trail is available, you will need to check the trailhead reports. You will see there the date where you can visit and the number of available slots for reservation. If the trailhead or date is not listed, you can add another person. However, it does not apply to an entire group. 

3. Applying For The Permit

In getting permits, the best way is to get a reservation that would follow a lottery system. The lottery will happen 24 weeks or 168 days before your chosen date of visit. 

It is recommended that you submit your application as early as possible. For it will give you a higher chance of getting your permits on your chosen date.

You can still apply even after 24 weeks, but most permits for the popular trails should have been issued already. Once you win the lottery, you will get a notification about it in your email. Additionally, you or one of your hiking members should get the permit a day or hours before your visit.

Visiting Half Dome in the day or night requires a permit, especially if the cables are up. These lines are usually up before memorial day through Columbus day. Only 300 hikers can access the trail every day, 225 for day hikers, while 75 for backpackers. 

All applications need to be submitted in March. If a group visits the Half Dome, the group leader can make the application for six people only. The leader should also be present when their permits are checked at the sub-dome.

Also, be informed that children more than 12 years old are only allowed to hike the Half Dome. However, they need to have a fit body and have hiking experience before. Ensure also that all hiking members have complete and proper hiking equipment.

Once the hikers won the lottery, there will be a notification sent about it in mid-April. They have two weeks to pay for the permits after getting notified.

Top Day Hike In Yosemite

To experience the beauty and greatness of the park, here are top day hike spots in Yosemite you should visit.

1. Yosemite Falls Trail

One of the most magnificent attractions of the park is the fall trails. It has magnificent views that you can see close up when you hike to the top of the falls. You can also check its view when you go on a round-trip at the less strenuous Columbia Rock trail.

2. Half Dome Trail

Another popular hike in Yosemite is the Half Dome, as it offers great adventure with its significant height. Going to the top of the half dome needs quite a lot of planning. But, you will definitely enjoy reaching the top. 

Even before you reach its peak, you will pass some of the popular trails of Yosemite Park. Remember to check and enjoy that out before preparing yourself for the Half Dome.

3. Mirror Lake Trail

If you want an easy hike that still offers great scenery, Mirror Lake is a good option for you. It is a place where Yosemite’s popular granite walls will surround you. The mirror lake is also a great area to take a break as it’s relaxing, especially on a hot day. This zone also offers a great view of the Half Dome, so you would surely have an amazing time here. 

4. Cathedral Lakes

Another lake that will surely give you a great time is Cathedral lake. It has a scenic view, especially the lower cathedral lake that you shouldn’t miss. Also, it has a serene feeling to it, perfect for taking a break or having some picnics. 

5. Mariposa Grove

Another easy hike is the Mariposa Grove found in the South of the Yosemite National Park. Here you will see humongous sequoia trees, which number around 500 species. It is estimated that these trees live for more than 3000 years and are the biggest living thing on earth.

Final Thoughts to Hike In Yosemite

Hiking in Yosemite is an experience you will never forget. Hence, you need to make sure you got the permits you need to enjoy your visit to the park. Don’t forget to make a reservation as soon as possible to check all the popular hikes in the park. Happy Hiking!