Summer Permits at Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks

Summer is coming! Here's what you need to know about permits at Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
March 01, 2017

Our National Parks  were created to preserve the ecological and historical integrity of our wild places while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment. To help you get outside this summer, both Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks are upgrading their permitting systems.


New Backcountry Permit System in North Cascades

Wish you could have reserved the Sahale Glacier camp in advance instead of crossing your fingers at the ranger station at 7am? Now you can! North Cascades is piloting a reservation system this season for popular areas like Cascade Pass, Copper Ridge, and major climbing areas. First-come, first-served permits will still be available (40% reserved for walk-ins), but this system can help you plan ahead to secure campsites.

Reservation requests are open from March 15-31. These reservations are for the summer season, which runs May 15 - September 30. Application processing will begin April 1 and is estimated to take a few weeks. A $20 non-refundable fee is associated with reservations. Any reservations submitted after April 1 will be processed in the order received. Learn more about the lottery permit system from our friends at Washington Trails Association and check out the North Cascades National Park page.

Mount Rainier Permit Requests

Last year Mount Rainier had a first-come, first-served policy for all backcountry permits. They've reinstated their reservation system this year, and starting March 15 you can make reservation requests for wilderness permits online. Read more on our Rainier Permitting blog.

Mountaineers Policy for Reserving Routes/Places

As most leaders know, we have a Mountaineers Outdoor Ethics Board Policy, which dictates we only have one group on a trail or route at a time, and the group shall be no larger than 12 people. The most common place we run into confusion around this issue is related to overlapping two-day climbs. For example, one leader will have a climb scheduled for June 3-4, and another leader will want to climb June 4-5. The second leader asks, "We aren't technically on the upper portion of the route on the same day, so why is the website blocking me from listing my trip?

The policy was not created for climbs specifically, rather it's goal is to prevent having two Mountaineers groups worth of cars at the trailhead and people on the trail/general camp area at the same time - which inevitably happens if we make exceptions based on route specificity. Thanks for your understanding!


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