How to apply for a Long-distance Permit

How to apply for a Long-distance Permit #

Research where and when you want to go. Make sure that your trip is feasible. The PCT is covered in snow for much of the year and if you’re aiming to hike, rather than ski or mountaineer, you’ll want to wait for the snow to melt.

Permit requests are reviewed and issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Use the buttons below to register. When registering, you’ll be prompted to confirm your phone number and email address, then enter your remaining contact information and date of birth.

Once you’ve registered, log into your management portal and apply for a permit for your trip. You’ll need to know your start and end locations and dates. If there is a limit on the number of permits available per day at your start location, you’ll see a calendar showing the number of permits already taken for each day. You’ll only be able to select a day that has space available.

Do not register more than once. Doing so may result in the cancellation of all your requests.

Register Login Check Availability

Release dates for 2023 PCT long-distance permits #

Northbound trips starting south of Sonora Pass between March 1 and May 31, including Northbound thru-hikes:
  • A limited number of permits are available for this kind of trip. The section below contains full information on how to apply. You’ll need to register ahead of time, between October 12 and November 1.
  • These permits are released in two phases:
    • On November 15 at 10:30 AM Pacific Time, 35 permits per day will be available.
    • On January 10, 2023, at 10:30 AM Pacific Time, the remaining 15 permits per day will be available.
All other trips, including Southbound thru-hikes:
  • A limited number of permits are available for some of these trips, such as those starting at or near the Canadian border. The section below contains full information on how to apply. You’ll need to register ahead of time, before January 5.
  • Permits will be available on January 10, 2023, at 10:30 AM Pacific Time.

Applying for permits with location-specific limits #

For these trips, there are usually more people who want permits than there are permits available. You should plan to apply when these permits are first released. On permit release days, there is a queue system.

How it all works on permit release days:
  • If you’re hoping to go through the queue and apply for a permit on the day of the first release, November 15, you need to register any time between October 12 at 10:30 AM Pacific Time and November 1 at 5:00 PM Pacific Time, using the buttons above. You won’t be able to apply on November 15 unless you register ahead of time.
  • Likewise, if you’re hoping to apply on the day of the second release, January 10, you’ll need to register before January 5 at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.
  • On the release day, at least a couple minutes before 10:30 AM, log in and click the button to start a new permit application. You will automatically be redirected to a waiting room page. At 10:30, everyone on that page will be randomly assigned a place in line. You’ll see approximately how long the wait will be, and the queue will let you know when it’s your turn.
  • Anyone who clicks “start new application” after 10:30 will get a place at the back of the line. We encourage you to arrive a couple of minutes before opening time but there is no benefit to arriving much earlier than that. Don’t try to arrive at exactly 10:30: you’ll probably get a random place in line, the same as if you’d logged in a few minutes earlier. If you’re unlucky, though, you’ll actually be there a second after 10:30 and wind up at the back of the line.
  • When it’s your turn, you’ll have 10 minutes to enter the permit application and start applying. Then, you’ll have 10 minutes to select your trip details.
  • Be advised that due to the high interest in these permits, it may take up to 3 hours for applicants to navigate the queue. Plan on that when scheduling your day.
Are you traveling with a partner for your entire trip?

After you register, you can link yourselves together in your management portal so that one person enters the queue and submits applications for both of you at the same time. This will ensure that you get the same itinerary.

  • Both people should register and then log in. Decide who will be responsible for applying for both of you. That person should tell their travel partner the code shown in the portal. The partner will enter that code to create the connection.
    • You need to do this at least 24 hours before the permit release. It will not be possible to link your permit on that day.
  • On the permit release day, only the person responsible for applying will be able to enter the queue. Once it’s their turn, they will only be able to pick dates that have at least 2 spaces available. When they select an itinerary and submit an application, permit applications will be created for both people for that same itinerary.

If someone is joining you for only part of your trip, they’ll need to get a permit on their own. If they’re planning on traveling less than 500 miles on the PCT, they are not eligible for a long-distance permit.

Starting a trip at the Northern Terminus

Because of U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations, no permits will be issued originating in Manning Provincial Park, BC, Canada. If you wish to start at the Northern Terminus, you will be issued a permit for the US/Canada border. You’ll need to start in the United States and hike north to the Northern Terminus, which is on the US/Canada border.

Most people who start a trip at the Northern Terminus begin at Hart’s Pass and go north to the Canadian border before turning around and heading south. If that’s your plan, you should select “Canadian border” as your start location but your start date should be the date that you start your travel north from Hart’s Pass.

Applying for permits without location-specific limits #

If you’re applying for a permit starting somewhere that doesn’t have a per-day trailhead limit, historically we won’t run out of those on the first day they’re available. You can apply any time after they are released. There’s no need for you to deal with the queue system that’s in place on permit release days. Just register and then select your itinerary to submit your application.

Information for people under 18 #

Will you be under 18 at the start of your trip? If you’re going to be hiking with your parents, they can add you to their permit. You won’t need your own permit if you stay with them.

If you’re not traveling with your parents, you’ll need your own permit and you’ll need to send us a written and signed letter of consent from a parent or legal guardian. The letter must state the dates and location of your trip, so you’ll send it after applying for your permit. You must carry this letter at all times while you’re on the PCT. Permit applications for unaccompanied minors under 16 years old will be reviewed by the Forest Service.

Individuals under the age of 13 must have their parents or guardian fill out their application. If you’re under 13, do not provide personal information to us through our website.

Planning multiple long-distance trips on the PCT in one year #

Register and submit a permit application for one trip, and then contact us so we can help set up your other trip or trips.

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Pacific Crest Trail Association
2150 River Plaza Drive, Suite 155
Sacramento, CA 95833

[email protected]