Permits and Reservations

Letter to Commercial Use Permit Holders and Applicants Please Read.


  • No advance reservations are required to enter Pinnacles National Park.
  • Reservations for the Pinnacles Campground can be made at All reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance.


Special Use Permits
A special use permit is required for activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization, rather than the public at large. These activities require some degree of management from the National Park Service in order to protect park resources, the public interest and their park experience. Special use permits are required for events such as weddings, ceremonies, First Amendment activities, scattering cremation ashes, festivals, concerts, cultural programs, sporting and public spectator attractions.

  • e-mail us to receive a copy of the Special Use Permit Application.
  • Make sure you read the conditions of the permit before you arrive in the park.
  • There is a non-refundable $50.00 application fee for all Special Use and Commercial Use Authorization permits for Pinnacles National Park. This includes non-profit applications. There is no application fee associated with First Amendment permits.

Commercial Photography and Filming Permits

Changes to Commercial Filming Permits on Park Land

On January 22, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Price v. Barr determining the permit and fee requirements applying to commercial filming under 54 USC 100905, 43 CFR Part 5, and 36 CFR Part 5 are unconstitutional. The National Park Service is currently determining how this decision will be implemented.

Following the recent court decision, the National Park Service will not be implementing or enforcing the commercial filming portions of 43 CFR Part 5 until further notice, including accepting applications, issuing permits, enforcing the terms and conditions of permits, issuing citations related to permits, or collecting cost recovery and location fees for commercial filming activities.

As regulations regarding commercial filming permits are being reassessed, those interested in commercial filming activities on land managed by the National Park Service are encouraged to contact the park directly for more information about filming in the park and to discuss how to minimize potential impacts to visitors and sensitive park resources.

Do I need a permit to film?

Currently, the National Park Service is not issuing commercial filming permits, but is in the process of evaluating how best to regulate filming activities that affect visitors and park resources. All applicable laws and regulations governing activities and public use in parks still apply, including park hours and areas open and closed to the public. Videographers, filmers, producers, directors, and other staff associated with commercial filming are reminded that rules and regulations that apply to all park visitors still apply to filming activities even if no permit is needed for their activity. Check with the park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.

Are filmers still required to pay fees to film in parks?

As of January 22, 2021, the National Park Service is no longer collecting application or location fees, or cost recovery for filming.

Still Photography

When is a permit needed?

Price v. Barr had no impact on how the National Park Service regulates still photography, so there are no changes in how the National Park Service regulates that activity. Still photographers require a permit only when:

  1. the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
  2. the activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location's natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or
  3. a park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.

How do I apply for a permit?

Permit applications are available through each park's administrative office or website. Contact information for parks can be found on their websites; visit Find a Park to locate the park where you would like to photograph. You should submit a completed application along with the application fee to the park where you want to film or photograph as far in advance of your planned date as possible. In addition, you should request a meeting with park staff if your proposed activity is unusual or complex. Early consultation with park staff will help them process the submitted application in a timely manner.

What fees will I have to pay?

The National Park Service will collect a cost recovery charge and a location fee for still photography permits. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in processing your request and monitoring your permit. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of your permit. The application fee must be submitted with your application.

In addition, the National Park Service has been directed by Congress to collect a fee to provide a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands. The National Park Service uses the following still photography fee schedule:

  • 1–10 people - $50/day
  • 11–30 people - $150/day
  • Over 30 people - $250/day

Are there other permit requirements?

You may be required to obtain liability insurance naming the United States as additionally insured in an amount commensurate with the risk posed to park resources by your proposed activity. You may also be asked to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.

What about photography workshops?

If you are planning a photography workshop, you may need a commercial use authorization.

Commercial Use Authorization Permits
Any commercial, noncommercial, or nonprofit groups operating in the park or using park resources must have a commercial use authorization (CUA) permit if their activities result in monetary gain for any individual, organization, or corporation. If the amount of money collected from all members of the group exceeds the actual expenses of the trip, the trip is classified as CUA. This includes educational institutions. A CUA is issued for a period of one year.

  • e-mail us to recieve a copy of the Commercial Use Authorization Permit Application.
  • Commercial Use Authorizations require a $200.00 administrative fee in addition to the application fee.
  • If you are leading a hike, climb, or other guided activity, please fill out an authorized guide service itinerary.

For more information on permits contact us by email:
e-mail us

Processing Time
Applications for special use permits must be received no later than 30 days in advance to allow for processing comments and compliance review. Applications received less than 30 days in advance may be denied. First amendment rights applications must be received five days in advance to allow processing comments and compliance review. Applications for large group activities that occur within the park should be submitted at least 6 months in advance to allow for processing, comments, compliance, and authorization to advertise the event.

Entrance Fees
Once a permit has been approved and issued, most park entrance fees are not waived for the permittee and participants. Upon arrival to Pinnacles, entrance fees will be collected in accordance with federal recreational fee guidelines, including the use of an individual’s Federal Recreation Passes. Carpooling is always encouraged. Commercial Use Authorization Permit entrance fees are covered for their staff only by the $200.00 annual administrative fee.

Last updated: December 17, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

5000 East Entrance Road
Paicines , CA 95043


831 389-4486
Please call the number above for all park related inquiries. For camping questions contact the Pinnacles Campground at (831) 200-1722. For the park book store, please call (831) 389-4485.

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