U.S. Wilderness Permits – May Permits

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure in the wilderness areas of the United States? It’s a breathtaking experience that everyone should try, but don’t wait until the last minute to plan and reserve your permits.

Permits and lotteries are released throughout the year, and it’s crucial to ensure you have the right passes to make the most of your time in the great outdoors. From camping to hiking, and backcountry passes, there is no shortage of adventure opportunities, and with such high demand, it’s important to plan ahead.

In fact, many of these permits need to be requested up to a year in advance to secure your spot. So this year, why not get ahead of the game and start planning now? This blog has been designed to highlight which required permits will be released throughout May, making it even easier to plan your perfect outdoor adventure for the rest of 2024!

Remember that it’s important always to be prepared and know the risks before you go. Do your research, plan, and have fun! Keep it wild and leave no trace

You will need an America The Beautiful Pass to enter many of these National Parks and other wilderness locations. Get your card now so it’s one less thing you have to think about on the road. 

Seasonal Permits

Inyo National Forest - Wilderness Permits

May - November 2024 - Quota season when the number of people per day is limited.

The Inyo National Forest is located in the stunning Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Inyo Forest is full of challenging trails, towering mountain peaks, and amazing views that are absolutely mind-blowing. If you’re interested in exploring the John Muir Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, there are numerous entry points for these trails. In addition, these trails offer access to the longest stretch of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range without a road. There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors in the Inyo forest including hiking, fishing, peak bagging, taking pictures, or just taking in the breathtaking beauty of the High Sierra. Whether you’re looking for some scenic isolation, breathtaking views, or just an unforgettable experience, you’ll find it all right here!

A wilderness permit is required year-round for overnight trips into John Muir, Ansel Adams, Golden Trout and Hoover Wilderness, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks. Many of these overnight permits become available 6-months before the date, and they do fill up quickly! 

Image taken at Iva Bell Hot Springs on the Fish Creek Trail.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Wilderness Permits

May 26, 2024 - September 23, 2024 - Quota season when the number of people per day is limited.

If you’re looking for a stunning and diverse landscape, check out Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. These parks are wild and rugged and super beautiful. Back in the day, President Johnson made it a big deal to protect these awesome places with the Wilderness Act. Now, these two parks have over 1,300 square miles of wilderness, and it’s almost all protected.

Some famous spots like Mount Whitney and trails like the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail can get really crowded, especially on the weekends. But if you’re looking for peace and quiet, check out places like the Monarch Divide, Roaring River country, eastern slopes of the Great Western Divide, and the Hockett Plateau – these spots are lesser-known but just as amazing! So whether it’s summer or winter, these parks are full of tranquility and adventure!

Most, but not all trailheads allow a proportion of all available entry quotas to be reserved up to six months in advance. Reservations may be made up to one week prior to the entry date. Unused reservable quota space is made available for walk-ups. 

Canyonlands National Park Overnight Backcountry Permits

May 10, 2024 - All locations for September 10 – December 9, 2024 available for reservation starting at 8:00AM.

Canyonlands National Park is  amazing! You won’t believe the canyons and buttes that were formed by the rivers. It’s divided into four districts: Island in the Sky, Needles, Maze, and the rivers themselves. And, lemme tell you, every district has its own unique vibe but they all scream “desert”.

But, heads up –  these districts aren’t close together and there aren’t any roads that connect them. That means, you’ll have to drive between them.

Island in the Sky is a major highlight of the park! It’s way up high with amazing views of the surrounding area. You can even drive and bike on White Rim Road! Hiking here is super fun too but be warned- there’s no water in the tall slopes or vast basins.

Do you even know about Needles?! Backpackers and skilled drivers come here all the time. The hiking trails are really long and connect to each other.

And then there’s Maze! This is not for the faint-hearted. Getting here is pretty intense- the roads are remote and come with a high risk of damage. Plus, the backpacking routes are hard to find without a map and good navigation skills!

Zion Left Fork North Creek (Subway) Seasonal Lottery

Starting May 1st, the lottery for July - September Hikes Opens

Application Start Date
Event Date
May 1, 2024 - May 25, 2024
Lottery for July 1 - September 30 Subway hikes open.

Planning to explore the Left Fork of North Creek, also known as Subway? Here’s what you need to know…

Whether you’re tackling it from the top-down or bottom-up, you’ll need a permit for your journey. If you’re up for a technical challenge, the top-down route involves canyoneering gear like ropes, harnesses, and often wetsuits or drysuits. On the other hand, if you prefer a rugged hike, the bottom-up route is for you. Be prepared for a strenuous off-trail adventure lasting 6-10 hours, complete with river wading and scrambling over boulders and fallen trees.

Both routes require the same permit, which you can reserve on rec.gov

Monthly Permits

Coyote Buttes North - THE WAVE

In May, it's time to apply for September 2024 permits!

Application Deadline

Wed, May 31, 2024 | 11:59PM MDT

Lottery Results Avaiable

Thu, Jun 1, 2024 (Estimated)

Event Date

Fri, Sep 1, 2023 – Sat, Sep 30, 2024

Have you ever heard of Coyote Buttes North? It is such an incredible spot within the breathtaking Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs wilderness area that you simply must see! The sandstone formations there are some of the most impressive in the world, and The Wave in particular is definitely worth checking out. While it’s important to note that there are no trails or facilities, permit-holders can benefit from having a guide complete with pictures, a map, and GPS to help navigate the area. The hike to The Wave can be challenging, but it’s achievable with some effort and prior preparation. Be sure to inquire about recent weather when planning your trip, as the road to the permit area may require a high-clearance two-wheel-drive, and four-wheel-drive or alternate arrangements may be necessary in certain conditions. 

Permits are required to visit the Coyote Buttes North wilderness area, otherwise known as “The Wave”.  These are day-use only, no overnight permits are allowed, which means no camping. Wishful permit holders may enter the lottery anytime during May for your chance at September permits.

The lottery is run on the first of the next month at 9:00 am EST, and applicants are notified (immediately following the lottery) via email whether they were selected or not. Permit winners must log back in to confirm the winning permit, complete any remaining information and submit payment by the 15th of the month or forfeit the permit. Each individual may submit only one application per lottery. 

How Does the Quota Work for this Permit?

  • The quota for this permit is measured in persons and/or groups visiting the area per day. A daily maximum of 64 people are permitted to visit Coyote Buttes North.
  • 48 people and/or 12 groups (whichever comes first) are awarded through the online lottery system.
  • The other 16 people and/or four groups (whichever comes first) are awarded through the Daily Lottery, a separate process from this online lottery.
  • The maximum group size is 6 people.
  • Everyone, regardless of age, must be included in the permit. This includes infants that are not walking.
  • Dogs do not count against the quota, but must be included on the permit and also require a fee. This process occurs during the confirmation of a successful lottery application.

Coyote Buttes South Advanced Permit

In May, it's time to apply for August 20234 permits!

Application Deadline

May 1, 2024

Event Date

Reservations are accepted starting at 12 noon MDT for a permit during August.

Coyote Buttes South is a total must-visit spot! Covering 112,500 acres of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, it’s home to some of the most amazing and mind-blowing sandstone formations you’ll ever see. Keep in mind that hiking here means trekking in deep sand, but trust us, it’s totally worth it! There aren’t any designated hiking trails or specific spots to go to, so go ahead and explore in your own way! Make sure you’re fit and have backcountry hiking and navigation skills before you go, and you’re all set!


To help protect yourself and the wilderness experience, please take the following precautions:

  • Four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle is required for Cottonwood Cove & Paw Hole Trailheads. The roads accessing these trailheads are composed of deep sand with sections of rough rock.
  • Lone Tree is the only trailhead that may be accessible with a two-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle when road conditions are good. However, accessing the permit area using this option adds an additional 5-mile round trip hike through deep sand.
  • Check weather forecasts at the Paria Contact Station, the GSENM Kanab Visitor Center, or online before you go.
  • Tell a responsible person your itinerary and whom to contact if you are overdue.
  • If you carry an emergency beacon or SPOT, know how and when to use it. False alarms put rescuers at risk and can cause lasting damage to the canyons.
  • Carry at least a gallon of water per person in hot weather. 

Paria Canyon Overnight Permits

In May, it's time to apply for August 2024 permits!

Application Deadline

May 1, 2024

Event Date

Reservations accepted starting at 12 noon MDT for a permit during August

Paria Canyon is super beautiful and has huge red rock amphitheaters, sandstone arches, and hanging gardens – it’s nationally known for its beauty. Plus, it’s actually part of one of the longest slot canyon systems in the United States, which is made up of Paria Canyon, Buckskin Gulch, and Wire Pass.

If you’re after solitude, Paria Canyon’s a great place to be. You can backpack through the water-sculpted narrows and colorful geological layers, and the views are pretty stunning too. Just remember that there aren’t really any marked trails, drinking water sources can be few and far between, and you might not run into many other visitors. There are also some tricky obstacles to be aware of, like quicksand, deep mud, and canyon obstructions – so be prepared, take precautions, and stay safe. If you’re planning on hiking in a slot canyon, make sure you check the weather for the whole watershed first!

This permit is required 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 ten days of the start date of your trip. 

How Does the Quota Work for this Permit?

Overnight entry into the canyons is limited to 20 people daily (dogs do not count against this total). This is a cumulative total from all four trailheads. No more than ten people per group. If your group is larger than ten, you must split into two groups of no more than ten people; each group must enter the area on a separate day and is not permitted to travel with, enter or exit with, or camp with the other group. You cannot hold more than one permit per permit area simultaneously. Everyone, regardless of age, must be included in the overnight permit. This includes infants that are not walking.

Bob Bear Trailhead

In May, it's time to apply for June 2024 permits!

Application Deadline

May 1, 2024

Event Date

On May 1, permits are available to purchase for the following month of June.

The Bob Bear Trail is calling, offering an epic journey for those who love hiking and jaw-dropping views. Starting at 5,700 feet on Deadman Mesa near charming Strawberry Town, this trail descends 1,500 feet over four miles into the breathtaking Fossil Creek canyon. Your reward? Access to one of Arizona’s most spectacular riparian areas!

Now, a heads up – the trail can get steep and scorching hot during summer. To ensure a safe and unforgettable experience, pack at least one gallon of water per person, some snacks, and don sturdy shoes. Safety first, folks!

Oh, and here’s the lowdown on permits: If you plan to park in the Fossil Creek permit area from April 1 to October 1, you need an advance permit. Only one permit per person per calendar month is allowed, and they’re up for grabs on the first of the month, one month ahead of time.

This permit guarantees parking at the Bob Bear Trailhead lot, but it’s first-come, first-served for specific spaces. Vehicles can’t exceed 22 feet, and everyone listed on the permit must be safely seated inside. So, gear up, get your permits, and let the Bob Bear adventure begin!

Weekly & Daily Permits

Save Time On The Research

Do you have an itch to explore and experience new things, but don’t know where to begin? I’m here to lend a helping hand! I’ve put together a collection of my personal Google maps filled with over 100 of the best hikes, picturesque photography spots, hidden camping sites, cool stays, natural hot springs, breathtaking waterfalls, and much more – all across the states. Trust me, with my maps by your side, you’ll save plenty of time and have an unforgettable adventure. Go ahead, download them now and get ready to hit the road!

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