U.S. Backpacking Permits – February Permit Release

Don’t wait until it’s too late to plan and reserve your permits for some of the most amazing wilderness areas in the United States. Permits and lotteries are released to the public throughout the year. Most of the U.S. wilderness areas require some type of passes, whether it be for camping, hiking, backcountry, or more. Most importantly, many of these permits may need to be requested up to 6-months to a year in advance.

This blog is designed to help you understand which required permits will be released throughout the month of February, to help you plan your outdoor adventure trips for the rest of 2021!

Remember that it’s important to always be prepared and to know the risks before you go.

Do your research, plan ahead, and have fun!

Keep it wild and leave no trace.

Conundrum Hot Springs – Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

On February 15, 2021, Overnight permits for April 1-July 31 2021 are available for advanced reservation at 8 am Mountain Time.

Conundrum Hot Springs, at 11,200 feet in elevation, is a special feature of the 181,976-acre Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. This area carries special legal designation to protect its natural, undeveloped, and untrammeled qualities as well as to provide outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation.

Be Prepared for a Challenging Hike!

The distance to Conundrum Hot Springs from the Conundrum Creek trailhead is approximately 8.5 miles (one-way) with an elevation gain of 2,400 feet. The trailhead starts at 8,800 feet elevation and climbs continuously through the valley to the hot springs at 11,200 feet. The effects of the high elevation environment, including altitude sickness, should not be underestimated.

The trail crosses Conundrum Creek three times before the hot springs. Primitive log bridges span the first and the second crossings. The third crossing requires wading through the creek. This crossing is challenging (deep, cold, and swift), especially during spring and summer runoff, and is noteworthy for trip planning.

The best time to visit Conundrum Hot Springs is July through September. Remember: these hot springs sit high in the Rocky Mountains. From early October to late June, the campsites and trail are snow-covered and the trailhead is inaccessible. Avalanche hazards exist in the valley. Snow makes route finding difficult. If you’re not prepared to travel and camp in the snow, plan your trip for the summer.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

The permit allows the permit holder and their group (up to maximum allowable group size at the campsite) to reserve and occupy a campsite in the Conundrum Hot Springs permit zone. The permit holder and group are required to camp in their reserved campsite.

The permit is required year-round for overnight camping in the vicinity of the Conundrum Hot Springs. The best time to visit Conundrum Hot Springs is July through September. From early October to late June, the campsites and trail are snow-covered and the trailhead is inaccessible. Avalanche hazards exist in the valley. Snow makes route finding difficult.

The permit zone includes all of Conundrum Creek Valley from Silver Dollar Pond to Triangle Pass.

Backpacking Enchantments Permit

On February 15, 2021, the Lottery opens at 7:00 a.m. PT and closes on March 1, 2021.

The Enchantment Permit Area lies within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. It is managed according to the Wilderness Management Plan and the 1964 Wilderness Act, to provide protection of fragile resources and preservation of wilderness character for generations to come.

The area is typified by rugged glaciated peaks and a series of lakes ranging from 4,400 feet to 7,800 feet in elevation. Lower elevation trails and lakes are forested, while the upper lakes are within an alpine environment. Although the area is high use, trails are very primitive with steep, rocky sections. Travel is difficult in some areas.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

Between May 15 and October 31, a permit is required for overnight use in the Enchantments. Permits allow the permit holder and their group to camp overnight in one of the five permit zones:

  • Core Enchantment Zone
  • Snow Lake Zone
  • Colchuck Lake Zone
  • Stuart Lake Zone
  • Eightmile/Caroline Zone

Backpacking Permits for Canyonland’s Backcountry

On February 10, 2021, All locations for June 10 – September 9 are available for reservation. Reservations close two days prior to a trip start date.

Canyonlands National Park is a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. The park preserves the natural beauty and human history throughout its four districts. While they share a primitive desert atmosphere, each offers different opportunities for wildness and solitude. Though they appear close on a map, there are no roads that directly link the districts. Traveling between them requires two to eight hours by car as there are no locations in the park to cross the river without a boat.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

Mountain bikers and four-wheel drivers (includes motorcycles; OHVs are not allowed) must camp in the designated site, stay on established roads.

Backpackers/packrafters in heavily traveled areas, primarily Needles, must camp in designated sites while most at Island in the Sky or Maze camp in at-large zones and choose their own low impact sites following strict Leave No Trace principles and park regulations.

Camping within 1/2 mile or 1,000 vertical feet of the rivers is not allowed without a packraft or separate river permit and all required equipment.

All sites/zones become available for reservation 4 months in advance of the start of each season.

Advanced reservations close two days prior to a trip start date. First-come, first-served permits are available on-site two days prior to your trip if a quota is available.

Permits must be picked up in person by 2:30 PM MT the day of your trip or your reservation will be canceled.

Anan Wilderness Observatory Permits

On February 1, 2021, Advanced reservations for peak season become available at 8 AM Alaska Time.

Anan is a world-class bear viewing area and one of the few places in the world where both black and brown bears feed at the same creek at the same time. Anan Creek is home to one of the largest runs of pink salmon in southeast Alaska, some 200,000 – 300,000 salmon return each year and help support the high density of black and brown bears that gather there.

The abundant seasonal food source that the salmon run provides attracts a variety of wildlife to the creek. Harbor seals, bald eagles, and mink are common at Anan. Steller sea lions, orcas, wolves, humpback whales, and wolverines have also been spotted at and near Anan.

Anan is a primitive recreational experience where natural forces dominate. The three main goals of Anan management are having as little effect on the bear populations as possible; bear and public safety; and maintaining and providing an extraordinary experience for visitors.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

Day-use permits are required for Anan during the annual peak season of July 5-August 25. During the peak season, visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Starting in 2021, these permits are only for people who will not use any type of commercial service at Anan (those arriving with their own means of transportation and visiting without any hired escort). Individuals can no longer purchase permits on and then find a guide company to bring them to Anan. If you need transportation to Anan, contact an authorized guide service directly for permits and passage to Anan. To help plan your trip, the Anan calendar webpage shows the calendar for Anan operation from July 5-August 25. It displays each authorized guide company and their available permits for each day.

Havasupai Campground Reservations

All Havasupai tourism has been suspended for the Campground and the Lodge until further notice in response to the continuing coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.

Mt. Whitney Portal Camping Permits

Starting in February 2021, rolling permits will be available for dates August 2021.

Whitney Portal Campground is in a prime location within the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains – at the base of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States. With hiking trails to Mt. Whitney and the John Muir Wilderness less than a mile away, the campground is a popular home base for hikers, as well as family, RV, and tent campers who wish to explore the area’s activities and enjoy unparalleled scenery.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

Individual sites at this campground operate on a 6-month rolling basis.

On February 1, 2021, at 7:00 am PST, availability will be released through August 1, 2021.

Paria Canyon Overnight Permits

On February 1, 2021, reservations were accepted for May.

Nationally known for its beauty, the Paria Canyon has towering walls streaked with desert varnish, huge red rock amphitheaters, sandstone arches, wooded terraces, and hanging gardens.

Paria Canyon, Buckskin Gulch, and Wire Pass combine to form one of the longest slot canyon systems in the United States. Portions of the permit area are included in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Kanab Field Office, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness contains a variety of scenic, geological, historical, biological, and recreational values. Paria Canyon is noted for its scenery caused by erosion of the sedimentary rocks in the 2,500’ deep canyon producing a variety of unusual geological features such as arches, amphitheaters, and massive sandstone walls. At the Arizona-Utah border the Paria Canyon and its tributary, Buckskin Gulch, form spectacular ‘narrows’ only a few feet wide in places and several hundred feet deep.

Opportunities for visitors to experience solitude vary from good to outstanding, depending on the area of use. Excellent opportunities exist for a variety of primitive and unconfined types of recreation. Backpack through water-sculpted narrows and colorful geological layers on your

Season Dates, Permit Information:

This permit is required in order to camp overnight in the canyon. You must apply for, obtain, and purchase a permit in advance and pick up your permit in person within 10 days of the start date of your trip. Reservations are accepted at 12:00 noon (MDT) on the 1st of each month for a permit during the third month ahead.

For example, permits for the month of August would become available on May 1st at 12:00 noon MDT. Reservations are not accepted for trips beginning the same day.

Coyote Buttes South

On February 1, 2021, Reservations were accepted starting at 12 noon MDT for a permit during May.

Coyote Buttes South is just a small part of the 112,500 acres Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, but it includes some of the most visually striking geologic sandstone formations in the world. This area requires hiking in deep sand. There are no designated hiking trails or specific destinations in Coyote Buttes South. Hikers enjoy exploring and discovering their own routes. This remote area offers an opportunity for solitude where you will very likely see no one or have only occasional contact with other visitors. Permit holders should be in good physical condition and have good backcountry hiking and navigation skills.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

This permit is required to visit the Coyote Buttes South permit area. The area is designated day-use only (no overnight). Reservations are accepted at 12:00 noon (MDT) on the 1st of each month for a permit during the third month ahead. Reservations are not accepted for trips beginning the day of or the next day.

For example, permits for the month of August would become available on May 1st at 12:00 noon MDT. Online reservations would not be accepted starting on August 14th for a trip on August 15th.

The Wave – Coyote Buttes North

On February 1, 2021, Lottery opened to applications for permits during June 2021.

Coyote Buttes North is just a small part of the 112,500-acre Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness but has some of the most visually striking geologic sandstone formations in the world, including The Wave.

Coyote Buttes North Permit Area is within a backcountry, undeveloped wilderness area and does not contain any developed trails or facilities. Permit-holders are given a route description, which includes a route map, photo guide, and GPS coordinates along the suggested route to the Wave. The hike to the Wave is a physically demanding 6.4-mile round-trip hike. Permit-holders should be in good physical condition and be comfortable navigating in undeveloped areas.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

This permit is required to visit the Coyote Buttes North permit area, which features “The Wave.” The area permits day-use only (no overnight). Wishful permit holders may enter the lottery at any time during a calendar month. Although they are entering that calendar month, they are applying for a permit for the calendar month four months ahead. Application fees for all applicants will be charged at the time of application. Following the application process, two email confirmations will be sent. The first will be the application receipt of payment. The second will confirm permit application information. The lottery is run on the first of the next month at 9:00 am and all applicants are notified (immediately following the lottery) via email, whether they were selected or not. Permit winners will be asked to log back in to confirm the winning permit, complete any remaining information and submit payment. Each individual may submit only one application per lottery.

All information was retrieved from

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