John Muir Wilderness Mt Whitney Sequoia / Kings Canyon national Parks Wilderness

MT. Whitney Lottery Opens Feb.1, 2022

Written by sierrarecmagazine Reservation System Will start Accepting Applications Tuesday Feb. 1 2022

MT. Whitney, Ca, – January 11, 2022 – Are you ready to scale the Highest Summit in the Lower 48? We’ll like it or not you will need to enter a lottery run by There are many varied opinions on the process of getting some Americas most sought after trail permits, but the one fact remains, if you want to challenge yourself and climb Whitney in 2022, you will need to enter the lottery. It’s a lottery system, securing Mount Whitney permits does involve some luck. In the 2019 drawing for Mount Whitney permits in late March, the Forest Service received more than 18,800 applications requesting spots for 84,000 people. Only 34 percent of applicants — 5,651 team leaders — received their preferred dates.

Whether you are seeking a one day hiking challenge, an overnight ascent or beginning the trek of your dreams, climbing Mt. Whitney is sure to be a memorable experience. Here are a few tips that can help you prepare:

  • Register Now at for an account. (Required to enter the Lottery)
  • Submit only one application during this window with your preferred date and up to 15 alternate dates. Pick out dates between May 1 and Nov.1 Remember better odds for weekdays and non holiday weekends.
  • Choose your group size (new for 2020) up to 15 people.
  • Designate an alternate trip leader who will need to acknowledge their responsibility upon application.
  • Set a Calendar Reminder. Applications accepted until March 15th.

MT. Whitney

Located on the eastside of California’s beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Mt Whitney Trail starts in Inyo National Forest at Whitney Portal, 8,300 feet above sea level. The trail gains over 6,200 feet of elevation before reaching the summit in Sequoia National Park. The summit of Mt. Whitney is the southern end of the John Muir Trail. Named for the naturalist, author and early wilderness preservation advocate, the John Muir Trail extends from the summit of Mt Whitney more than 200 miles north to reach Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. 

Most day hikers choose the classic Mt. Whitney Trail. The 22-mile round-trip hike will challenge even very fit hikers. Expect to hike 12 to 14 hours to the summit and back. Consider starting before sunrise. Be prepared to hike in the dark. Choose your dates wisely. The Mt. Whitney Trail is a non-technical, but strenuous, route to the summit when it is free of snow. However when snow or ice is on the mountain winter mountaineering skills and equipment are necessary for safe travel. The trail is usually snow-free from July to late September. Any day hikers attempting more technical rock climbing routes should carefully research the difficulty. 

For the backpacker attempting to go up and back on the Mt. Whitney Trail, a popular travel plan is to stay one or two nights camping at Lone Pine Lake (10,000ft level), Outpost Camp (10,500ft level), Consultation Lake (11,000ft level) or Trail Camp (12,000ft level). The Mt Whitney Trail overnight permit can also be extended to continue onto the John Muir Trail giving the opportunity to trek the longest roadless section of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. 

For more information or help planning your trip, please call the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office (760) 873-2483. Trips sponsored by organizations or commercial groups must contact the permit office before applying for a Mt. Whitney permit.

Important Dates

February 1, 2022 – March 15, 2022Mt Whitney lottery open to apply for permit
March 24, 2022Lottery results published
April 1, 2022Reservations open for remaining dates at 7am PST
April 30, 2022Deadline to confirm awarded lottery reservation and pay reservation fees
May 1, 2022Dates from unclaimed lottery released for web reservation at 7am PST
May 1, 2022 – November 1, 2022Quota season when number of people per day is limited
November 2, 2021 – April 30, 2022Non-quota season when number of people per day are unlimited
November 2, 2022 – April 30, 2023Non-quota season when number of people per day is unlimited.

How Does the Quota Work for this Permit?

Quotas for Mt Whitney are based on the number of people starting on the trail each day. Day use and overnight permits have separate quota.

  • Day use permit is valid for one day (midnight to midnight)
  • Overnight permit can extend for multiple nights

Quota for Mt Whitney is in effect from May 1 through November 1

  • 100 people per entry day for Mt Whitney Zone Day Use permits
  • 60 people per entry day for Mt Whitney Trail Overnight permits
  • Overnight trips that start on other trails are limited by different quotas
  • No age limit; children count in group size limits and quotas

Quotas limit the total number of people in the area; group size limits ensure people spread out to prevent impacts from larger groups.

Group Size

  • Maximum group size of 15 people
  • Group size limits apply year round, including day use
  • Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have smaller group size limits in some areas
  • Groups on separate permits cannot combine if they will exceed the group size limit

Need To Know

Lottery results will be posted under individuals account profile on March 24th.

April 30 is the deadline for successful applicants to claim the date awarded by completing the reservation details and paying the $15 per person reservation fee.

Mt Whitney permits are by reservation only, no walk up.  

Your permit will be canceled as a No Show unless you complete check in/ print permit before the No Show deadline. 

Pick up your permit in person at the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center during open hours. If you cannot pick up in person, you may request over phone or email – see Permit Pickup Instructions 

No Show Deadline:

  • Noon one day before entry date for Whitney Day Use
  • 10am on entry date for Overnight Mt Whitney Trail

The signed permit must be in the group leader’s possession during the trip and must be presented to rangers upon request. The group leader signing the permit is accepting responsibility to ensure everyone in their group will follow the rules and regulations on the rules and regulations on the permit.  

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