U.S. Wilderness Permits – March 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 March, 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.

Cables On Half Dome

On March 1, 2021, Lottery opened to applications for permits for the 2021 Season.

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring it was “perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot,” George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, and in the process created the predecessor for today’s cable route.

Today, thousands of people reach the summit. For most, it is an exciting, arduous hike; for a few, it becomes more adventure than they bargained for. Every summer, park rangers must assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome trail.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

The Half Dome cables are put up each spring and taken down each fall, typically from the Friday before Memorial Day through the Tuesday after Columbus Day. These dates are conditions dependent and may vary from year to year.

You must have a permit to ascend the subdome steps and Half Dome cables. Permits are available by two lottery processes. The preseason lottery application occurs throughout March, with results announced mid-April. A smaller number of permits are available every day the cables are up, via a two-day in the advance daily lottery.

Mount Margaret Backcountry

On March 1, 2021, Permits Become Available

Located in the northeast corner of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, the site of the 1980 eruption, the Mount Margaret Backcountry offers excellent backpacking opportunities. Eight designated campsites are scattered throughout the high-elevation lakes and jagged ridgelines of the remote area, offering a rugged hiking experience. Trails cross through the forest that was blown down by the dramatic lateral blast of the eruption, leaving behind a scoured landscape that has since regenerated with young alder trees, wildflowers, and berry bushes. Although the trails are steep and challenging, the views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and the Cascade Range, as well as the quiet solitude, are unparalleled.

The 110,000 acres Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest was set aside by Congress in 1982 to protect significant features and the unique geologic, ecologic, and cultural resources in the landscape surrounding the volcano. An important objective of the legislation is to allow geologic forces and ecological succession to operate substantially unimpeded by human activity. When visiting the Mount Margaret Backcountry, please support the Monument’s objectives by staying on trail, following regulations outlined on your permit, and using the provided tent pad, greywater sump, and toilet facilities.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

Permits are sold and required for overnight camping in the Mount Margaret Backcountry between March 1st and November 30th. This area is often inaccessible due to snow until late spring or early summer.

Bob Bear Trailhead

On March 1, 2021, Permits for April 2021 Become Available

The Bob Bear Trail provides access to the headwaters of the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River and the Fossil Springs Wilderness on the Tonto and Coconino National Forests. The trail begins at an elevation of 5,700 feet on Deadman Mesa near the town of Strawberry and descends 1,500 feet over 4 miles into the Fossil Creek canyon. The trail offers a remote, backcountry experience and is steep and extremely hot during the summer, but rewards visitors with access to one of Arizona’s most spectacular riparian areas.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

Advance permits are required to park a vehicle in the Fossil Creek permit area from April 1–October 1. During this season, a maximum of one permit per person per calendar month may be reserved (one permit=one day). Permits are made available on the first of the month one month ahead of time. For example, permits for the month of April are available beginning March 1.

The permit allows parking for one vehicle only at the Bob Bear Trailhead parking lot. The maximum vehicle length is 22 ft. All persons listed on the permit must be accommodated inside the vehicle with a legal seatbelt. The permit guarantees parking within the specified parking lot, but specific parking space assignments are not made. Parking spaces are occupied on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Permits are not required from October 2–March 31.

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Permits

On March 1, 2021, Permits for High-Use Season Become Available

With towering cliffs, flowing water, and a rich diversity of flora and fauna, Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness remains one of Arizona’s truly unique areas. Its 19,410 acres of designated Wilderness beckons adventurers who yearn for solitude and scenic splendor. Located in southeast Arizona, roughly between Tucson and Phoenix, the Wilderness and surrounding public and private land conserve a vital ecosystem for future generations.

Expect the wild! There are no designated trails, campsites, signs, or facilities within the wilderness boundaries. The land is rugged and hikers should be in good condition to pass through dense riparian vegetation (a sign of a healthy ecosystem). All visitors should wear sturdy footwear suitable for hiking in sand, gravel, and cobble with the potential for numerous stream crossings in knee-deep water. From the West trailhead (2,630 feet), expect a continuous 430 feet elevation gain over uneven terrain for 12.25 miles to the East trailhead (3,060 feet).

There are multiple side canyons, caves, outcrops, chimneys, and “windows” to explore along the way. Strong or destination hikers can traverse from end to end in eight to 10 hours, while nature watchers, photographers, and those wanting to explore side canyons may take one or two nights.

Aravaipa Creek flows year-round, an unusual phenomenon in the Arizona desert. Nurtured by this abundant water, large sycamore, ash, cottonwood, and willow trees flourish along the stream, flanked by other riparian vegetation. In the fall, a kaleidoscope of brilliant red and golden leaves contrasts dramatically with the surrounding Sonoran Desert landscape.

Season Dates, Permit Information:

The permit allows visitors to enter the permitted area in Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, by foot or on stock, from the trailhead listed on the permit, on the dates specified by the permit.

Permits are required year-round and reservations may be made up to 13-weeks in advance of the start date. The permit is also required for accessing the wilderness from The Nature Conservancy’s Aravaipa Canyon Preserve on the east and west boundaries. No hunting, camping, or parking is allowed on private land.

Mt. Whitney Portal Camping Permits

Starting in March 2021, rolling permits will be available for dates September 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 March 1, 2021, at 7:00 am PST, availability will be released through September 1, 2021.

Paria Canyon Overnight Permits

On March 1, 2021, reservations were accepted for June.

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.

Coyote Buttes South

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

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.

The Wave – Coyote Buttes North

On March 1, 2021, Lottery opened to applications for permits during July 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 copied and retrieved from

This page is just to provide a collection of all permits that will be released in March 2021.

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