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What's it like getting a walk in permit?

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What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby MarmotPrince » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:23 am

Searched this topic without finding much...

My question: What is it like getting a walk in permit to Whitney, Kearsage or the Palisade trailheads?
Do I have to line up at the permit station at 6am to fight for a space? Or do I show up at 1pm for the no shows? Or is there enough cancels so that even by the end of the day, I can come into the office and pick up a permit? Obviously I don't expect an exact answer but a general idea.

The reason I'm asking is because I get to Lone Pine after a 11 hour drive from Arizona...it's going to suck driving there, then waiting overnight in town, then waiting all day to get a permit, then finally starting up the trailhead LATE in the day, as opposed to just driving into the trail head, acclimating, and starting the next morning.



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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:02 am

Rather than drive 11 hours straight, why not just plan to stop and camp on the way- there are high altitude campsites nearby Lone Pine (Cottonwood walk-in comes to mind) where you can relax at 10,000 feet. Then drive down to the permit office in the AM. Cancelled permits used to be given out after 11AM for the day of entry. And yes, there usually is a line. Unfilled spaces can be given out the previous day. Hard to say if you will quickly get a permit or not. But, at any rate, there are plenty of opportunities to drive up to higher altitudes so you do not have to "sit in town all night". Best to call the FS office or get the most current information on their web site. Some of the Forests here have changed the rules for walk-in permits this year. I always plan on a day's delay if I need a walk-in permit, but rarely have had to wait that long. You would be amazed at how many people cancel their reservations. I have found that for one person, a permit is easy to get, and it gets more difficult the larger your group size.
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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby sparky » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:53 am

Get there early, and there shouldn't be any issues. I rarely make reservations I usually do a walk in, with alternatives planned. I have been skunked twice that I can think of, once we waited a day as we didn't want to hike the alternative, another we took the alternative and had a blast.
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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby sparky » Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:06 am

Also a few times I timed it to drive strait through to arrive at the ranger station in the morning. It makes for a really long day, but you would be surprised at how energized you can be on little sleep. The mountains are magic. I don't know if this is safe for most people, I will let you decide if you can do that or not, but it has worked for me. I always get there early enough to sleep for an hour or so too.
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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby maverick » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:28 am

I do not mind driving 5 hours, starting at 3 am, to get a walk-in permit first thing in
the morning, but 11 hours is long.
Try to camp somewhere along the way, preferably at elevation if you can, so on your
next day hike the elevation will not be as much of an issue, plus you'll have gotten
an earlier start, and be well rested.
Inyo NF Site: Permits
http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsint ... 520Permits
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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby rlown » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:34 am

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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:38 pm

I have never tried to get a Whitney permit but I have never reserved a permit before at all. Not even on major holidays. I have always just strolled in sometimes later in the day near closing time and just got a permit. I have yet to have the permits be full on me.
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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:14 pm

Rogue

I can only assume that you have never tried to get a permit for a popular trailhead during a summer weekend...
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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:18 pm

Depends on what is popular. I've had no trouble with places like Cottonwood Lakes, Onion Valley, Little Lakes Valley, Lake Sabrina, High Sierra Trail on the western side etc...
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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:22 pm

Except that the OP was asking about Whitney...
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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:37 pm

I have one permit experience for Whitney, in early September. I finally got a permit in the lottery, paid $$ for three of us. Well, things change with time, the two partners bailed and I was in the permit office to make changes for a solo trip. Instead of climbing Mt Muir I decided to salvage the trip by doing a 10-day solo yo-yo to Hamilton Lake and back. I waited in line with several others. All the others were getting first-come permits and had no trouble at all. For all the $$ I lost getting a reserved permit, I will not do that again for a trip planned after Labor Day or mid-week. At this point, I am willing to take the chance to save the $$. I think the chance of getting a permit any time of the day for one person is excellent, for two good to fair, but for larger groups, particularly on prime weekend dates, probably not that good- for large groups you better get there early and stand in line.
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Re: What's it like getting a walk in permit?

Postby rlown » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:41 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote: for large groups you better get there early and stand in line.


Um, for larger groups, put in reservations, beforehand. This is kind of obvious. Solos or duos, ok.. show up spend an extra day, and get a permit.. If you have more than 2, plan your trip, get the permit ahead of time, or you might be disappointed.
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