Tahoe to Whitney Permit Nightmare????

By shiveringman - Posted on 30 March 2018

I am trying to plan a Tahoe to Whitney walk, along the PCT/JMT, this summer.

I am finding that I can get as far as YNP but WILL BE STUCK THERE due to the Donahue exit quota.

I have found that getting a backcountry permit outside of YNP does not allow me to traverse the park and exit Lyell Canyon/Donahue Pass. Any help here?? Stevo


The Situation, Feb, 2017

Tracking Weird High Sierra Permit Restrictions



The Situation, March 2018

A most excellent TW Backpacker, JackDefranco, successfully obtained his permit for hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail from Meeks Bay to Tuolumne Meadows by first, going through the Desolation Reservation System, getting his second-choice dates, then contacting the Stanislaus National Forest, who he reported wrote him the remaing permit, stretching from Echo Lake to Tuolumne Meadows.


The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail


Here's what Jack had to say,

I think I got everything solved. For the thru TYT hike permits, first I got a permit on line via recreation.gov for Desolation Wilderness. The cost $10/day/hiker + $10 processing.  There’re daily quotas so you have to start early. I did not get my first start date choice.

Then I called Stanislaus forest Supervisor 209-288-6240 and they issued a thru permit from Echo Lakes to Tuolumne Meadows. No cost, just had to send them via email, the start day, list of hikers and the daily camping itinerary. Once figured out it wasn’t that hard. Please share as you see fit, but this is the process for now as far as I can tell. 

Thanks for your help and advice as well





Stanislaus National Forest Information & Contacts



Long Distance Permits in the High Sierra

All right! That's the hardest part of obtaining the Northern Section of our Tahoe to Whitney Permit. Those shooting for a Tahoe to Whitney trip can use Jack's approach, asking for Stanislaus to write the permit all the way through Yosemite to the Whitney Portal.

But that will conflict with Yosemite's Donohue Pass exit quotas. So any hiker coming South across Yosemite from points North has to stop in Yosemite? Back in the day of the Whitney Portal exit quota, anyone issuing a permit that exited out of Whitney Portal had to obtain a special permit from the Portal... it was a total mess, similar to the mess these disorganized policies are creating today.

The standard policy that the Forest and Park Services operate under is that, "every subsequent admin unit will honor permits issued for continious hikers by other admin units."

I agreed with restricting passage onto the JMT via Twin Lakes in the Hoover Wilderness, done to stop hikers from not getting a JMT permit...

But, stopping hikers who want to hike from Lake Tahoe, or even Kennedy Meadows (Hwy 108) South to Mount Whitney just causes more confusion that clarity. The various Forest and Park should resuming issuing TYT permits (I'm talking to you LTBMU), and long-distance High Sierra backpacking permits that are respected by all the other contigious Forests and Parks up and down the Sierra Crest, again, as their own written permit policies, past practices, common sense, and just basic fair play requires.

I hike further, so I am punished and restricted?


One time I got the LTBMU to write me a Tahoe to Whitney Portal permit that swung through Yosemite Valley after passing through Tuolumne Meadows, returning to the Southbound JMT-PCT in Lyell Canyon via Merced Lake and Vogelsang Pass, and finally exiting out the Whitney Portal.

Keep me posted about your adventures getting permits, as well as the ones in the wilderness...


Trail Guide

High Sierra Backpacking Permits

High Sierra Resupply Spots



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