How to book a permit for the Three Sisters Wilderness

📘 Fastpacking 📘 Running

The process of booking a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit is as easy as an online checkout. But determining whether and when to get one can be complicated, so I hope this helps simplify the requirements.

This information is current as of 2023-02-01.

Step 1: When are you going?

If you're going into the wilderness between mid-June and mid-October you may need to pre-purchase a permit. Outside these dates, no permits are required in the wilderness areas. Usually, the snowpack will limit you to low-elevation, sunny areas before June 15. You can access the wilderness after October 15 in most years, but weather can be dicey and unpredictable.

Step 2: General information

Step 3: What type of trip are you taking?

Overnight trips

A permit is required for all overnight stays within the wilderness area during permit season.

Day hikes

Some trailheads require pre-purchased permits for entry into the wilderness. Other trailheads allow you to get a free, self-issued permit from a kiosk at the trailhead, and these permits aren't limited in number.

Step 4: Plan your trip

Some tips to make it easier to get permits:

As a runner who's not afraid of some extra miles, I can approach the permit process with flexibility.

Step 5: Purchase a permit

Is it always this bad?

Not really. Getting a permit isn't always this cutthroat - I'm describing the most extreme situation - but it pays to plan ahead and act quickly.

Can't make your trip? Log in and cancel your permit to free it up for someone else.

Couldn't get a permit or plan a workaround? As the trip date approaches, keep checking back to see if someone has given up a permit.