Want to hike Mt. Whitney? In 2022, only 26% of applicants were able to get their first choice in the permit lottery. Here is how to maximize your chances of getting one!
It’s easier to get a permit for a day-hike than a backpacking trip. There are two reasons for this. First, fewer people apply for a day-hiking permit. Second, there is a quota of 100 day-hiking permits per day for day-hikers, but only 60 permits for backpackers.
Lottery success rate of getting your first choice for a day hike
Lottery success rate of getting your first choice for a backpacking trip
Hiking Mt. Whitney in a day is possible, but it’s one of the most strenuous hikes in the United States. Expect to be on the trail for 12 to 14 hours.
Hike to the summit and back down with a day pack
Camp at Trail Camp
Hike to the summit with a day pack. On your way down to Trail Camp, pack out and get back to the trailhead.
Camp at Trail Camp
Hike to the summit with a day pack. Come down to Trail Camp and camp there a second night.
You have the best odds of getting a permit for May, June, or October. But the trail may be snow-covered during these months. Therefore, I recommend hiking in September which has good weather and a higher success rate than July or August.
The best odds of getting a permit are on Tuesdays, or Wednesdays with almost a 30% chance of getting your first choice. Avoid Fridays and Saturdays which have only a 10% chance of success.
It’s far from over, there are other ways to get a permit.
Unclaimed lottery permits are released on April 22, 2024, at 7 AM PT. Permits run out quickly, so make sure to log in to Recreation.gov before 7 AM.
It’s common for people to cancel their permit. Luckily, you can rebook canceled permits on Recreation.gov. You can use Outdoor Status Alerts to get notified when we find canceled permits.
There is no quota on the number of permits between November 2 and April 30, but expect snow and cold temperatures. Only attempt if you have mountaineering skills.
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