View Full Version : PCT permits

02-04-2004, 13:07
I plan on thru-hiking the pct this summer. Can i get one permit for the pct that will cover all the national parks or do i have to get individual ones for each area? thanks


02-04-2004, 13:44
You can get a single permit for the entire trail (no entry fees, no forms, etc). Your permit is for the first federal land agency that you hit: The Cleveland National Forest. As long as you continue your trip more or less continuously, it is good for all federal lands you encounter. To get your permit, go to: http://www.pcta.org and find the relevant form on their website. Print it out, fill it out, and mail it out. If you are a PCTA member, it is free. Otherwise, I think they charge you $5 for the service. If you don't want to pony up $5, you can probably drive out to the Cleveland NF headquarters and fill out something in person. To join the PCT is something like $15 for new members. Additionally, if you want to climb Whitney, you can put down a best guess for when you'd want to do it (put down June 18th if you have no guess), pay an additional $15 (Inyo charges, not the PCTA) and you'll get your Whitney permit also.

All this being said, I was asked twice to show my permit, both times on the same day. I saw 3 backcountry rangers the entire time, all on the same day in the Desolation Wilderness, near Tahoe. I don't think the rangers would have asked to see my permit normally, but all three were really attractive women and I stopped to talk with each one for as long as I could. After 20 minutes or so, they asked to see my permit. The middle of the 3 rangers didn't ask after 45 minutes of talking. I would get one, but I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Spirit Walker
02-05-2004, 10:57
We showed our permits only twice - once to a BLM guy who was giving us a hard time for hiking the trail near Deep Creek (he said the burned out trail was closed, PCTA said it was open) and again in Yosemite, where there was a ranger north of Tuolemne who was stopping all the hikers to ask how they were handling food storage.

02-05-2004, 11:36
I plan on thru-hiking the pct this summer. Can i get one permit for the pct that will cover all the national parks or do i have to get individual ones for each area? thanks


The PCTA offers a "all in one" pass for $5. But if you fork up for like $15 membership (it's for a good cause, duh), you can get one free. You still have to pay for Witney though ($15). Without the PCTA's, you'll need a ton of local permits, you can't just go to a NF office and get one - these are for BLM, NF, NP, Wilderness, state parks, state forests, etc...


02-05-2004, 22:38
I just applied for membership and my permits (w/Whitney stamp) this morning. The cheapest membership I saw was $25 and opted for the $35 one. plus $15 more for Whitney. Also, there has recently been a form change for entry into Canada. You can find the new form on pcta website.

02-09-2004, 09:18
When you get the Canadian entry form back, it will tell you to take it to Hope, BC, which is where the nearest RCMP office is. Hope is about an hour away on Greyhound and is a really neat town. First Blood was filmed there. Lots of cheap places to stay. So, if you don't want to pay for the Manning Park Lodge, you can get to Hope easily enough. I stayed in Manning Park and did not drop off my form in Hope. No problems getting across the border: Just wave my passport on the way by. Still, I would file the form at least. There have been previous years when the RCMP put a couple of officers in Manning Park to check hiker's immigration papers. Those without them just had to fill out some forms on the spot.

Note well: Despite what the Canadian Greyhound people tell you, a drivers license is not sufficient to get back into the US. You'll want your passport or a certified birth certificate. Entry with a drivers license will be granted at the discretion of the border agent. That is, if they believe you, they'll let you through with a warning after 12 minutes of badgering (as happened to a friend with me). With a passport, no problems. Send your passport or birth certificate to Stehekin via registered mail.

02-11-2004, 11:00
Is there any reason why, when reaching the marker in Canada, I couldnt simply turn around and reenter the U.S. via the PCT?

02-11-2004, 11:39
Here are a couple of reasons.

1) From the border to Manning Park is an easy 7 miles or so. In Manning Park, you can eat, drink, and be merrry, before getting on a bus and going to Vancouver, where you can eat, drink, and be merry again. Vancouver might be the greatest eating city in North America, by the way. From Vancouver you can either fly out or take bus to Seattle, where flights are cheaper.

2) If you want to turn around, then it is about 30 miles from the border to the first road, which is at Hart's Pass. There isn't much here, just a forest service road, a bathroom, and a summer caretaker. I did see a car drive by on the way to some overlook, but I suspect that hitch might be rather tough. You might have to wait a day to get a ride, and even then there are no close towns of any size. The first actual road is another 30 miles or so south, at Rainy Pass. This is a highway, although not heavily travelled by any stretch of the imagination. From here, there are a few towns of small size within 30-40 miles. Getting a hitch might take a few hours and you might have to hitch more than once to get to a town with a bus stop.

3) If you finish when most people do (mid Sept to early Oct), you will probably have been rained on and snowed on a reasonable amount. While you can cover the leg from the border back to Hart's pass in a day (a long one), the prospect of doing so and then waiting for a ride might not be very appealing. If you have someone that can pick you up at Hart's pass, it might not be so bad.

If I were to do it again, I would certainly go into Vancouver, stay at a wonderful pub/inn right in the middle of downtown Van (only $70 CA a night for two people, with about 30 beers or ciders on tap), and gorge myself on high quality, low cost sushi. Maybe take a bus and get some Sri Lankan food from one of my favorite joints.