Does Hiking in Mammoth Lakes Require a Permit?

Due to the conditions common in the Mammoth Lakes area, it’s often possible to comfortably hike throughout a big chunk of the year here. As is the case with anything outdoor related, it’s important to be prepared so your experience can be as enjoyable as possible. In some situations, this means securing a permit. Below, the mountain sports experts from ASO Mammoth, your one-stop shop for high-quality hiking gear, Mammoth ski rentals, and tips for exploring Mammoth’s grandeur, discuss whether or not a permit is something you’ll need to get before you hike in Mammoth Lakes.

Daytime Hiking Doesn’t Usually Require a Permit

If you’ll be hiking during the day along any of the public hiking paths in Mammoth Lakes, you generally won’t need a permit. This is usually the case with trails on public land or hiking trails accessible to the public, such as the many trails near the five lakes directly in Mammoth Lakes. However, some publicly managed lands in the area do require permits. One of these locations is the nearby Mount Whitney area, where a permit is required for daytime and overnight hikes.

To avoid unexpected issues as you hike and explore, find out what rules apply before you grab your gear and go. The U.S. Forest Service’s website has a convenient interactive map you can use to quickly see any restrictions or guidelines for specific hiking spots in the area.

You May Need Permits for Overnight or Multi-Day Hiking

You’re more likely to need a permit if you have plans to hike in Mammoth Lakes overnight or enjoy a hiking experience that will extend across multiple days. This is more likely to be the case if your hiking adventure will include camping or setting up a space where you can rest and recharge before getting back to the trail. On a related note, campgrounds in Mammoth Lakes are often located by the lakes and in close proximity to hiking trails.

Know How to Get Your Permit

If it turns out you need a permit for your hiking experience in Mammoth Lakes, the most convenient local place to get what you need is the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center on Main Street. If you’ll be hiking with other people, the leader of your group will need to pick up the permit. Otherwise, the person requesting the permit will need to get it and carry it. When you contact the Forest Service or National Park Service to find out about permit requirements for hiking, be prepared by:

• Putting together a list of your preferred local hiking trails
• Mentioning the expected duration of your hike and when it will take place
• Having some alternative trails in mind in case you’re unable to obtain a permit
• Asking about related fees in advance so you’ll know what to pay and how payments are accepted

Forest Service trail permits for the Mammoth Lakes area can be reserved six months or more in advance. However, in some situations, you can get a permit a few days before your trip, as long as there’s trail space available.

If you’re looking to explore the natural beauty of Mammoth Lakes, hiking is one of the best ways to do it. Whether you hike or prefer to enjoy the scenery on two wheels, you can find everything you need at ASO Mammoth, the area’s top provider of mountain bike, snowboard, and ski rentals. Mammoth visitors can rely on us for high-quality equipment and outstanding service. Stop by when you get to the mountain or give us a call at 760-965-3444 for more information.