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Planning your bucket list road trip for the summer? While we’re all in favor of allowing for room for spontaneity in your trip planning, there are a few items you should lock down as soon as possible before they sell out: National Park campsites, Escape campervans, and popular hiking permits.

Booking National Park Campsites

When you want to get a popular hiking permit in a national park, it’s a good idea to book your campsite, too. There is some great free and dispersed camping outside of many of our National Parks. However, for parks like Yosemite, it can take a couple of hours to drive into the Valley where many of the popular attractions are. All that driving can cut into your time to actually explore the park if you don’t find camping beforehand, so we advise booking your national park campsite about 5 months in advance for the summer months.

Helpful Guides:

Booking Your Escape Campervan

We start to sell out for the summer months as early as February – March, so if you’ve been eyeing a campervan, be sure to book your campervan trip soon to secure your desired trip dates, pick up and drop off locations, and campervan model.

Booking Popular Hiking Permits

Hiking the Narrows Zion National Park

Zion National Park

When to Book:

Zion National Park permits for backcountry camping and a top-down day hike of the Zion Narrows are available online up to three months in advance.

Where to Book:



$5, plus more depending on group size

Havasu Falls Waterfall

Havasupai / Havasu Falls Campground Reservations

When to Book:

Opening day is February 1, 2020, at 8 am Arizona Time.

Where to Book:



All campground reservations must be 3 Nights / 4 Days
$100 per person per weekday night
$125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)


Havasupai/Havasu Falls Campground no longer accepts walk up or phone reservations. From their website: “Since the entire season completely sold out almost instantly on last year’s Opening Day, be sure to create an account now – and then come back, sign in to your account, and be ready to go by 8 AM on February 1st when the reservation calendar for the entire 2020 season opens up.”

Yoho National Park

Canadian Rockies: Banff, Jasper, and Yoho National Parks

When to Book:

In Banff and Yoho National Parks, backcountry permits open reservations as early as January 23, while some car camping reservations are open starting January 8, 2020 at 8am MST. In Jasper National Park, reservations for car camping open January 24 and backcountry permits open January 7.

Where to Book:





Double check that your passport is up to date if you’re visiting Canada from the US.

Grand Canyon Hiking Permits

Grand Canyon National Park

When to Book:

Permits are required for all backpacking trips in Grand Canyon National Park. They should be submitted by 5 pm MST on the 1st of the month that is four months prior to your proposed start date.

Where to Book:

Backcountry Permit Request Form


$10 per permit


Requests must be faxed, mailed or brought to the Backcountry Information Center (North or South rim) in person. For more information including seasonal hiking tips, trail information, Leave No Trace, Hike Smart, and private stock requirements visit www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm

Half Dome Cables Permits Yosemite

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

When to Book:

The preseason lottery application period for Half Dome, Yosemite National Park is March 1 through March 31, 2020. Lottery results will be announced mid-April.

There is also a daily lottery offering a limited amount of permits. The application period is two days in advance of the desired hiking date, from midnight to 1 p.m. Pacific Time. Applicants will receive notification of results late on the application date.

Where to Book:



A non-refundable application fee of $6.00 is required for each lottery application. Each awarded permit has a $10 recreation fee.


Keep an eye out for the weather on this hike, as it is not safe to hike the cable portion of the hike if it is raining or has rained recently.

Coyote Butte North - Arizona

The Wave, North Coyote Butte, Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness

When to Book:

4 months prior to your hiking date.

Where to Book:



$7 per person per day, and $7 per dog per day


You can find more information on their permit process for the North area here or the South area here. Only 10 people are granted access for the North Coyote Buttes per day through the lottery system. Since just 4-5% of entrants are able to secure a permit this way, this is one of those rare cases where you have better odds at the in-person lottery, which is held every day at the Grand Staircase-Escalante Visitors Center between 8:30—9:00 a.m. Utah time for the next day’s trip. Only one person per group can enter the lottery per day; otherwise, you risk being disqualified.

Enchantments basin from Prusik pass

The Enchantments, Washington

When to Book:

Overnight permits for the Enchantments are required for any multi-day trip between May 15 and October 31 and are bookable between February 15 – February 29, 2020.

Where to Book:



Non-refundable reservation fee of $6, plus a recreation fee of $5.00/person/day if you are awarded a permit.

What if I don’t get the popular hiking permit I wanted?

There are plenty more incredible hikes and campgrounds to choose from! Visit our blog for more trip ideas and tips on where to hike and camp.

2 thoughts on “Guide to Booking Popular Hiking Permits for Summer 2020”

  1. Most what i read online is trash and copy paste but i think you offer something different. Keep it like this.

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