The Yosemite Lottery Cheat Codes

The Yosemite Lottery Cheat Codes

Yosemite National Park has some of the best backpacking trips in the United States. Yet, permits are difficult to get. Only 27% of applicants won the lottery in 2022. Here is how to increase your chances of getting one.

Yosemite’s lottery system

Most parks issue backpacking permits through a single advance lottery. Yosemite has 25 of them! From November to April, Yosemite runs a weekly lottery to issue permits 24 weeks before your trip start date. Here is what that looks like for 2024:

Lottery periodTrip start date

Nov 12–18
Apr 26 – May 4
Nov 19–25
May 5–11
Nov 26 – Dec 2
May 12–18
Dec 3–9
May 19–25
Dec 10–16
May 26 – Jun 1
Dec 17–23
Jun 2–8
Dec 24–30
Jun 9–15
Dec 31 – Jan 6
Jun 16–22
Jan 7–13
Jun 23–29
Jan 14–20
Jun 30 – Jul 6
Jan 21–27
Jul 7–13
Jan 28 – Feb 3
Jul 14–20
Feb 4–10
Jul 21–27
Feb 11–17
Jul 28 – Aug 3
Feb 18–24
Aug 4–10
Feb 25 – Mar 2
Aug 11–17
Mar 3–9
Aug 18–24
Mar 10–16
Aug 25–31
Mar 17–23
Sep 1–7
Mar 24–30
Sep 8–14
Mar 31 – Apr 6
Sep 15–21
Apr 7–13
Sep 22–28
Apr 14–20
Sep 29 – Oct 5
Apr 21–27
Oct 6–12
Apr 28 – May 4
Oct 13–20
Yosemite National Park’s permit lotteries for the 2024 season.

If you don’t want to remember all these dates, subscribe to the Outdoor Status newsletter to get notified when lotteries open up.

The cost of entering the lottery

You can only enter a given lottery once, but you can enter multiple separate lotteries. Each application costs $10. In July, the lottery success rate is around 20%, so you will, on average, have to enter five lotteries (and spend $50) to win a permit.

While lotteries are a good way to regulate access, pay-to-enter lotteries only benefit those who can afford them. And a big chunk of that money ends up in’s pockets.

If you don’t want to play that game, see “What if I don’t win the lottery?”.

The best time to apply

Best month

Lottery success rate for every lottery in 2022Apr 29 – May 754%May 8–1453%May 15–2132%May 22–2842%May 29 – Jun 449%Jun 5–1148%Jun 12–1841%Jun 19–2529%Jun 26 – Jul 226%Jul 3–922%Jul 10–1622%Jul 17–2319%Jul 24–3021%Jul 31 – Aug 622%Aug 7–1324%Aug 14–2025%Aug 21–2728%Aug 28 – Sep 330%Sep 4–1031%Sep 11–1732%Sep 18–2441%Sep 25 – Oct 142%MayJunJulAugSepLottery Success Ratefor every lottery in 2022

Your odds of winning the lottery are the highest before mid-June and after mid-September. We don’t have data for October, but you should expect the success rate to be even higher than September’s.

Best weekday

You can enter up to 8 itineraries per lottery application, but the historical reservation data that provides doesn’t tell us anything about the winning itinerary. gives us a single start date per lottery application, even when that application has multiple alternative start dates.

Strangely, Sundays have ten times the number of lottery applications than other weekdays. However, all we can say is that Sunday is one of the selected options. We think that when an application has multiple start dates, defaults to showing us the earliest selected start date. It’s often a Sunday since it’s the earliest start date you can select.

However, if we discard Sunday applications, we can see some variation in the weekday success rate. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday seem to have the highest success rate. But take this with a grain of salt!

How to apply?

Enter the lottery on

Your application must include your trip’s entry point, exit point, and 1st night camp area. You can find that information under the “permit details” section of Outdoor Status’ trip pages. Find your trip using the list of the most popular backpacking trips in Yosemite.

What if I don’t win the lottery?

Get an unclaimed permit

Permits that aren’t claimed in the lottery are released at 9 AM PT on the Friday following the lottery closing date. For example, the first lottery closes on Saturday, November 18, so unclaimed permits are released on Friday, November 24, at 9 AM PT.

Wait for the last-minute release

Only 60% of the permits are issued through the lottery, the rest is released at 7 AM PT, 2 weeks ahead of your trip start date. It’s your best chance to get a permit. However, you will have to plan your trip on short notice.

Snag a canceled permit

Very often, people who book permits in advance end up canceling. These permits go back to to be rebooked. You can use Outdoor Status Alerts to get notified when we find canceled permits.

Next issue on the 25th

Never miss a permit deadline ever again!

Once a month, receive the list of top permits that are opening up

The charts were created using historical reservation data provided by

Lottery dates are also available on Yosemite National Park’s website.