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Yellowstone backcountry permits available online in 2022

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Hanging food on a food pole at campsite. NPS PHOTO / NEAL HERBERT

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

MAMMOTH, Wyo. Beginning spring 2022, visitors will be able to make advance online reservations for backcountry permits at Recreation.gov.

The new system is a direct response to public requests for an online backcountry permit reservation system and prompted a collaborative effort between the National Park Service and Recreation.gov. Moving to an online system allows backcountry users to check availability in real time and receive instant confirmation when reserving a trip. The system will also enrich the visitor experience by eliminating uncertainty and frustration and improve safety.

The three options for obtaining a backcountry permit are:

  • Early Access Lottery. The Early Access Lottery application period will go live on Recreation.gov March 1, 2022, and will end March 20, 2022. This lottery is based on a fair and randomized process to provide an equal opportunity for each applicant to be selected. If selected, successful lottery applicants will be assigned a date and time to book their proposed reservation online during the Early Access Period from April 1 through April 24. Participants are limited to a single reservation during the Early Access Period but may create additional reservations beginning April 26.
  • General Permits. On April 26, remaining permits for open campsites will be available on Recreation.gov.
  • Walk-up Permits. These permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis up to 48 hours in advance. Walk-up Permits cannot be reserved online in advance or through the Recreation.gov Call Center.

Early Access Lottery and General Permits will account for approximately 75 percent of permits issued for the season. The remaining permits will be available as Walk-up Permits.

Backcountry permit fees

Backcountry permit fees will increase beginning March 1, 2022. This will be the first increase since fees were implemented in 2015.

  • There will be a $10 application fee for the Early Access Lottery. This fee is charged for all applications to the lottery regardless of success. Successful applicants will pay a $5 per-person, per-night permit fee.
  • For General Permits and Walk-up Permits, the cost will be $5 per person, per night plus a $10 reservation fee.
  • The Yellowstone Annual Backcountry Pass will be available through Recreation.gov for $50. The pass exempts the individual pass holder from the $5 per-person, per-night permit fee.

Yellowstone offers more than 1,000 miles of trails and 293 designated backcountry campsites. Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Learn more about backpacking in the park, including trip planning resources such as maps and campsite locations, at camp in the backcountry.

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