Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
0 registered (), 12 Guests and 30 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3675 Members
10 Forums
5540 Topics
50737 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Topic Options
#20188 - 12/13/11 08:25 AM Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7644
Loc: Fresno, CA
Edit March 26: If you entered the lottery, you can see the results on now. Click the "Current Reservations" link to see the successful reservations. Failed applications should be available to view under Lottery Applications.
For more information and discussion, see this link:  The Mt. Whitney Lottery - as of March 26, 2012

Edit March 16: The lottery application period is now closed, and credit card charges are showing up.
    For more info see:   The Mt. Whitney Lottery - as of March 16, 2012

Starting this year, 2012, the Mt Whitney trail permits for the first time are being processed electronically. Permit applications must be entered online, and within a single application, up to ten different start dates may be entered (but no date ranges). Entries can be entered between February 1 and March 15, with the lottery being held the end of March.

For more discussion of the changes, please see this thread:   2012 Whitney Permit Lottery information now available
2011 lottery information is here.

Steps to enter the lottery are in the Wilderness Permit Options (link to the left in the Feature Topics box), under Step 4.

Below is the text from the document from Inyo National Forest.(Click to download MS Word document)

Note that this information covers ALL trails in Inyo, not just the Mt Whitney trail. Also note that Mt Whitney permit lottery entries cannot be made until February 1, 2012.

There is an online news release here: Dec 12, 2011 news release, Title is: Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Reservations Now Available Online

Here's the text of the Word document:

Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Reservations for 2012

As of December 9, 2011 reservations for wilderness permits are now available online at
Call Center at (877) 444-6777

This simple and convenient reservation system is already familiar to many national forest visitors who currently make campground reservations.
Visitors can navigate with a Google map or by trail name. Each trail is listed individually with information for the specific trail and a trip planning map of the area. There is a link back to the Inyo National Forest website for additional information.
Visitors who prefer to talk to a person can reserve through the Call Center. You won't be able to see the trip planning maps, so identify your trail name and camp locations before you call.

What Remains the Same?
All of the wilderness rules, permit requirements, quotas and management plans have remained the same. Visitors will still check in at visitor centers to convert their reservation to a permit and receive current wilderness education information. Confirmation of the group size will continue to ensure that unused permits are made available to other visitors. Wilderness education information is provided by phone while arranging for night box permit pickup. Our partnerships and agreements with our neighboring parks and forests will still be supported. The $5 per person reservation fee ($15 per person for Mt. Whitney Zone) that supports visitor education and other wilderness programs will still be used to sustain these programs on the Inyo National Forest.

What has Changed? online will give visitors access to reservations 24 hours a day from the convenience of any online device. Paper reduction and faster communication is possible with email and online transactions. The call center for will assist people who prefer reserving by phone.

A $6.00 non-refundable Transaction Fee is charged to finance the online reservation system.
Refunds will not be made for reservations for the Mt. Whitney trail or Mt. Whitney Zone Day Use, however refunds will be allowed for other entry trails.
  • The $5 per person fee ($15 for exiting or visiting the Mt. Whitney Zone) will be refunded if you cancel or reduce your group size at least 22 days prior to your entry date.
  • The $6.00 transaction fee is non-refundable.
  • There will be no refunds of any fees if you cancel or reduce your group size 21 days or less before the entry date.
    Changes to a reservation can be done online or through the Call Center up until two days before your entry date. Last minute changes can be done when you pickup the permit, if space is available.
  • To change entry trail or date of entry, cancel your current reservation and reserve the desired trail and dates if space is available. Reservation and transaction fees will apply to the new reservation. Cancellations 21 days or less before the entry date will not be refunded.
  • Group leader or alternate leaders cannot be changed.
  • Changing the number of people while keeping the same dates and trail: If you are increasing your party size, the $5.00/person ($15.00/person in Whitney Zone) reservation fee will apply. For a decrease in group size at least 22 days prior to the entry date, the per person reservation fee will be refunded for the number of people reduced.
The Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office will not make reservations for visitors, however the staff will continue to help visitors with wilderness information and education and with night box permits, and they will ensure commercial wilderness permits are issued in compliance with wilderness plans and requirements.

What about the Mt. Whitney Lottery?

The Web page for "2012 Mt. Whitney Permits" can be previewed at Online applications will be accepted starting February 1, 2012.

Permits for Mt. Whitney are reserved by a lottery due to the high demand for reservations. All the applications will be included in a computerized lottery. Applications are made online for the dates and group size you would like. You can list up to 10 alternate choices. For each choice, indicate if it's a day hike or overnight permit. Dates in July, August and September usually fill completely from the lottery.
  • Applications will be accepted online from February 1 through March 15.
  • After March 15 lottery applications will not be accepted.
  • All lottery applications that are submitted online from February 1 through March 15 will be processed in a computerized random drawing.
  • Results will be sent by email before April 1.
  • Permit reservations cannot be changed, transferred or resold. Only the leader or alternate leader can use the permit. There are no refunds.
  • Starting April 1 the remaining space will be made available for reservations on a first-come, first-served basis either online or through the Call Center.
  • Reservations can be made until two days before a trip entry date if space is available.
  • Space is not saved for walk-in permits for Mt. Whitney. There is no wait list for cancellations. Cancellations will go back on the calendar within 24 hours.

Call Center for
Reservation Line: 1-877-444-6777
Customer Service: 1-888-448-1474
TDD Line: 1-877-833-6777
International Line: 1-518-885-3639
Hours of Operation: Eastern Time
March 1- Oct 31, every day, 10 a.m.-12 midnight (7 a.m.- 9 p.m. Pacific Time)
Nov 1- Feb 28, every day, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. (7 a.m.- 7 p.m. Pacific Time)

How do I find the Inyo National Forest trails?
From the home page
under the
    "Search for Places"
    "Inyo National Forest"
    (pick INYO NF - FS, CA)
    and Select
    "Permits & Wilderness"
    and click on "Search"

To preview the site for the Mt. Whitney Lottery enter "Mt. Whitney" and "Permits & Wilderness".

Still have questions?
Inyo National Forest wilderness information: 760-873-2483

Edited by Steve C (03/26/12 12:30 PM)

#20191 - 12/13/11 08:55 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012 [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7644
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here is a second document which I can't find on Inyo's website:

Inyo National Forest - Wilderness Permit Reservations -

Changes for 2012 - Talking Points and Frequently Asked Questions

Talking Points

  • Due to changes in computer server capability, as well as national contract obligations, the Inyo National Forest moved the Wilderness Permit and Reservation program to NRRS on December 9, 2011.
  • ReserveAmerica is the contractor that handles the online and call center reservations for the NRRS.
  • The starting point for obtaining an Ansel Adams, Golden Trout or John Muir Wilderness Permit reservation, including Mt. Whitney reservations/permits, is
  • The Inyo National Forest will no longer accept permit reservations over the phone, through the mail, or by FAX.
  • The existing Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit office will be staffed to provide wilderness information and night box issuing service, as well as provide trip planning and current condition information. They will continue to issue wilderness permits and reservations for commercial outfitter guides and pack stations. The Wilderness Permit Office employees will be the conduit for information from the Inyo National Forest to ReserveAmerica and thus
  • The process for converting a reservation into a permit will remain the same as in past years with wilderness visitors picking up their permits at local visitor centers.
  • The move to the NRRS will enhance public service and customer convenience in the following ways:
    1. Online reservation service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Call Center is available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Time in the summer and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Time in the winter.
    2. Increased customer convenience and security through a user-controlled application process.
    3. The NRRS Call Center, the Wilderness Permit Office, and Forest Service visitor centers are available for assistance.
    4. Forest Service staff on the Inyo National Forest are still available to provide local information and trip planning.
  • The fees associated with making an Inyo Wilderness Reservation have changed:
    1. Reservation fees were $5/person and $15/person for the Whitney Zone. These fees will remain the same; however a $6/permit transaction fee will now be assessed to cover the cost of processing online reservations.
  • Fee for adding to group size remains the same and is $5/person or $15/ person for the Mt Whitney Zone. Customers can cancel reservations and receive a refund of fees, as long as the cancellation occurs at least 22 days prior to the date of entry, except that no refunds will be issued for changes to reservations on the main Mt. Whitney trail for either overnight or day use.
    1. Reservations can be changed in less than 22 days prior to date of entry but fees will be forfeited.
  • The reservation fee ($5/person, $15/person Whitney Zone) will be used for on the ground wilderness management, wilderness education, and wilderness information and trip planning at the visitor centers and Wilderness Permit Office.
  • The $6 transaction fee will go to the NRRS to cover their processing fee. This is not refundable.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Recreation Reservation Service or NRRS?
The NRRS is part of the E-Gov Recreation One-Stop Initiative and offers one-stop shopping to the public for a wide range of federal recreation areas, facilities and opportunities involving campgrounds, cabins, parks, and tours of national sites, historic homes and caves. Participating agencies include the Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Records and Archives Administration.
This multi-agency approach for one-stop shopping for federal recreation site reservations, provided under a contract administered by the Forest Service, capitalizes on designing a convenient, flexible, secure and responsive service to provide recreation reservations.

What is serves as the Federal Government's on-line recreation and trip planning portal for a variety of recreation information and reservations on public lands. There is a large amount of recreation data, information and assistance available through It will be the main link to the reservation for an Inyo Wilderness Permit. This includes John Muir (including Mt. Whitney zone), Ansel Adams, and limited entry quota trails accessing Golden Trout Wilderness.

Who is ReserveAmerica?
ReserveAmerica is the contractor the NRRS will be using to provide customers with Inyo Wilderness Permit Reservations.

What is the benefit to the public in moving Inyo Wilderness Permit Reservations to the NRRS?
Through the NRRS the public will be able to make advanced reservations on-line ( 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Those without Web access, or who prefer not to use the Web, have the options of either using the NRRS Call Center or visiting a designated Forest Service office on the Inyo National Forest. Anyone who needs extra assistance for trip planning will still be able to contact the Forest Service for more information. The new system will also allow for changes to group size online, through the call center and in person at Forest Service visitor centers. All other changes (entry date or trail and Trail Crest exit) are accomplished by canceling and re-booking the desired space. Refunds will be allowed for non Mt. Whitney trips as long as the changes are made at least 22 days prior to the date of entry. Changes can be made 21 days or less before the trip, however there will be no refund when you cancel and re-book.

Security measures are in place to streamline the procedure and reduce handling of funds by numerous employees.

How reliable is this new program?
The NRRS has been managing reservations, lottery, and permitting programs for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and 4 Rivers Permit Lottery with a great deal of success and customer satisfaction. The NRRS has been managing reservations for campgrounds, cabins and tour centers throughout the country for many years. In Region 5 the Desolation Wilderness Reservation and Permit program has recently transferred to NRRS and in the future you may see many other wilderness areas using this system for overnight permitting.

Is my personal information I enter on kept confidential? has a privacy policy for protecting your personal information. For more information please review the privacy and security section on the website.

Why is the Forest Service moving to the NRRS to process Inyo Wilderness Reservations?
The NRRS will be able to utilize state of the art technology to offer online services computer capability to handle a reservation system which will no longer be available on the Inyo National Forest due to a change in computer server capability.

What were some of the concerns with the old permit reservation system?
Visitors wanting to make a reservation were only able to call, FAX or mail a request to the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office. Permit Reservations were only processed during business hours. The Wilderness Permit Office has not offered internet permit reservations.

How do I find Inyo National Forest Wildernesses and Trails on the website?
Beginning on December 9, 2011 visitors can navigate to the website.
From the home page, under the
    "Search for Places"
    enter: Inyo National Forest
    (pick INYO NF - FS, CA)
    and Select
    Permits & Wilderness
    and click on Search

To preview the Mt. Whitney Lottery site, enter Mt. Whitney and Permits & Wilderness.

What if I have problems or questions when I'm entering my permit?
The NRRS portal contractor provides customer service both online and through a call center available to assist customers. The Call Center number is 1-877-444-6777.

How will the NRRS know about wilderness conditions and provide the information I may need for my trip?
The Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office staff will create alert notices posted by the NRRS contractor to inform the applicant of current conditions and notices. They will be able to handle updates in a very quick efficient manner by posting information on There will be links on to access more detailed information on the Inyo National Forest website. Wilderness visitors may still contact the Wilderness Permit Office and visitor centers offices directly for more detailed information and assistance with trip planning.

Can I still call the permit offices that I have worked with before?
Yes, the Wilderness Permit Office will still be available and able to help with your questions and trip planning.

How do I pay my Reservation Fees for an Inyo Wilderness Permit?
You will be able to make those payments online with a credit or debit card in a secure program that will inform you immediately if there is an error with an incorrect number or entry. Reservation fees are paid at the time the reservation is made, directly to the contractor All of the reservation fees collected are directed back to an account established by Inyo National Forest to directly support wilderness management.

The $6 Transaction fee, also paid to at the time the reservation is made, is retained by to cover the cost of processing online reservations.

What payment methods are accepted through accepts payment by credit or debit card, including: VISA, Master Card, Discover and American Express. A Customer's monthly credit card statements will reflect " 888-448-1474" for reservation transactions.

How are the fees I pay utilized?
The Permit Reservation fees collected for the Inyo National Forest will continue to support wilderness ranger patrols, visitor information services, educational programs, and other on-the-ground wilderness management. Ninety-five percent of the reservation fees collected stays on the Forest where they are collected and 5% goes to the Pacific Southwest Region for program support and grants back to the units for specific projects.

How do I get my printed permit?
You will receive a confirmation letter by email after making a reservation. This is NOT your permit. Fourteen (14) calendar days prior to your date of entry, you should go on line and confirm your group size. At this time you can change your permit pick up location and check for alerts to current conditions. Open the confirmation letter for full instructions for night box service and permit pickup locations. Permits need to be picked up in person during normal office hours. Your permit is not valid until signed.

Will I be able to make changes to my permit after I make my reservation?
Yes, you will be able to change your group size online, or cancel and re-book a new reservation with a refund up to 22 days prior to your entry date. There Are No Refunds for the Mt. Whitney trail or Mt. Whitney Zone Day Use reservations. If you do not have computer access, contact the Call Center. One day before your entry date, changes can be made in person at Forest Service visitor centers.

Will I be able to cancel my permit if my plans change?
You will be able to cancel your reservation through NRRS. If the cancellation is greater than 22 days from your planned date of entry, you will receive a refund of reservation fees, except for the Mt. Whitney Trail and Mt. Whitney Day Use Reservations. The $6 Transaction Fee is non-refundable. If you cancel less than 22 days in advance, the reservation fees will be non-refundable as well.

Will walk-in permits still be available at Forest Service visitor centers and ranger stations?
60% of the available quota for each trail during the quota season (May 1 to November 1) will be available for advanced reservation. One day before the entry date, all unused reservation space and the remaining quota will be available on a walk-in basis at Inyo National Forest visitor centers.

Where are the Forest Service Visitor Centers that offer Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permits, both reserved and walk-in?
  • Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center, Junction of Hwy 395 and State Route 36, 2 miles south of Lone Pine, CA, 760-876-6200 or TDD 760-876-6201
  • White Mountain Ranger Station, 798 North Main Street, Bishop, CA, 760-873-2500 or TDD 760-873-2501
  • Mammoth Welcome Center, 2500 Main Street, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 760-924-5500 or TDD 760-924-5531
  • Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, Hwy 395, north of Lee Vining, CA, 760-647-3044 or TDD 760-647-3045 (open generally April 1-December 1)

#20223 - 12/14/11 10:27 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012 [Re: Steve C]
Tomcat_rc Offline

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 49
Loc: Ridgecrest
Fee is now $15.00 + $6.00 reservation fee if I read correctly.

How will the no show/cancelled permit process work for permit pickup?
Will we have access to those permits that went unclaimed and if so will it be at IAC or reservation system?

Sorry for seeming like a dummy.

#20224 - 12/14/11 10:39 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012 [Re: Tomcat_rc]
+ @ti2d Offline

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 832
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
You beat me to those questions, Tomcat!

Okay, so "thinking positive" and getting my "date" do I pick up my permit at the IAC two days before my start?

Uh, never mind...the more I read the more I get the big picture and the more I wish they did it the "stairwell" way.

Steve, we got some collaboration to do for the REI presentation on January 18 and 23, 2011.

Edited by + @ti2d (12/14/11 10:44 AM)
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

#20226 - 12/14/11 11:12 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012 [Re: Tomcat_rc]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7644
Loc: Fresno, CA
To keep the discussion primarily in one place, I'll post in the other thread: 2012 Whitney Permit Lottery information now available

#20230 - 12/14/11 01:48 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012 [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
The $6.00 transaction fee somewhat offset by the ability to cancel reservation with a refund.
(Edit: Only NON-whitney reservations can be canceled for a refund.), I'll save $21 each time I walk in for my Whitney Zone permit.

This looks good to me on first glance.

Edited by Steve C (02/12/12 08:36 PM)

#21119 - 01/31/12 10:19 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012 [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7644
Loc: Fresno, CA
The Mt Whitney Permit Lottery applications can be entered starting sometime tonight -- possibly as early as 9 PM today, (January 31), since the site runs on the east coast.

Just be aware, you should take your time! There is NO ADVANTAGE to submitting a lottery application early. All applications will be processed in one single process, which will be run AFTER March 15.

If you have friends who may or may not commit to going on the trip, or have date conflict issues, it is probably better to wait until the week before the lottery closes to make your entries. Your lottery choices/entries CANNOT BE CHANGED once you submit them. And cancellations are non-refundable.

Just don't wait until March 15, in case you have trouble navigating the web pages to get into the lottery. They aren't the easiest to figure out, since the system is built to accommodate lots of different applications, from lottery applications to plain trail permits on trails all over the country.

If you have questions or problems, PLEASE do post, especially in the thread where discussion has started:  2012 Whitney Lottery information now available.

Once the site opens up to the lottery applications, I'll try to post with the clearest steps possible to enter your choices.

Good luck, everyone!

Edit March 13, 2012:   Thursday, March 15 is the LAST day to enter the lottery. The application window will close about 9 PM Pacific Daylight Time that day.

The website information reports that lottery results should be available March 26.

Read this thread: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available for current comments on the lottery.
(Note that there are at least three pages of comments.)

Edited by Steve C (03/13/12 11:59 AM)