Wilderness Permit Descriptions

Wilderness Permit Descriptions - Drop Down Menu Navigation


When Do You Need a Permit?

Wilderness Permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips, overnight climbing bivouacs, all through-hikes of The Narrows and its tributaries, all canyons requiring the use of descending gear or ropes, and all trips into Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway).

Wilderness Permit Fees

Fees help cover the costs of issuing permits, Wilderness patrols, resource monitoring, and trail repairs. Fees are non-refundable and based on group size. There is an additional $5 non-refundable fee for each online reservation or lottery application.

  • $15.00 for 1 to 2 people
  • $20.00 for 3 to 7 people
  • $25.00 for 8 to 12 people

Calendar Reservations: 2 months in advance

All visitors can reserve a wide variety of canyoneering, camping, and climbing trips using the online reservation system. Please note that calendar reservations are not permits.

Making a Calendar Reservation

Reservations are available online during a two month time frame. On the fifth day of every month at 10:00 am MT, reservations for the next month become available. If they are still available, reservations can be made until 5:00 pm MT, on the day before your trip.

For a trip in... calendar reservations are available on....

March... February 5th
April... March 5th
May... April 5th
June... May 5th
July... June 5th
August... July 5th
September... August 5th
October... September 5th
November... October 5th
December... November 5th
January... December 5th
February... January 5th

There is a $5.00 non-refundable fee for each online calendar reservation, and there is an additional charge for a permit that is determined by the size of your group. Backpackers that intend to camp in multiple locations must make a separate reservation for each location.

Many of the permits for The Subway (Left Fork) and Mystery Canyon are secured through the Advance Lottery system prior to calendar reservations becoming available.


Advance Lottery Reservations: 2 months prior

  • An online Advance Lottery is held for trips, April through October, into Left Fork (Subway) and Mystery Canyon.
  • Applications must be submitted two months prior to your planned trip with three prioritized dates, and are limited to one request per individual, per canyon, per month.
  • Applicants will be sent a notification email on the 5th day of the following month with information about the status of their request.
  • Any spaces for Left Fork (Subway) and Mystery Canyon not reserved through the Advance Lottery, can then be reserved through Calendar Reservations or the Last-Minute Drawing.
  • There is a $5.00 non-refundable fee for the Advance Lottery application.

Last Minute Drawing Reservations: 7 to 2 days in advance

For Canyoneering trips, including Left Fork (Subway), and top-down, 16 mile, through day hike of The Virgin River Narrows.
  • An online Last-Minute Drawing is an option for Canyoneering trips when the Advance Lottery or Calendar Reservations are fully booked.
  • Individuals can apply for the Last-Minute Drawing to obtain any remaining reservations for permits.
  • The Last-Minute Drawing is limited to one request per individual, per canyon. Applications can be submitted seven days prior to a trip date, until two days before at 12:00pm MT.
  • The online drawing is held at 1:00 pm MT, two days before the trip date. Applicants will then be sent a notification email with information about the status of their request.
  • If your group is selected in the Last-Minute Drawing - Log in to your Zion Wilderness Reservations Account to complete your reservation application before obtaining your permit at the Wilderness Desk.
  • Any spaces not taken through the Last-Minute Drawing will be available as Walk-in Permits the day before a trip date.

First-Come, First-Serve, Walk-In Permits

  • Walk-in spaces are available for Wilderness trips not already filled by Advance Reservation or Last-Minute Drawing.
  • Permits must be obtained at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Wilderness Desk the day before, or the day of the trip.
  • There are six backpacking campsites in the Narrows that are only available as Walk-In Permits, and should be obtained in person the day before your trip.
  • Come prepared with your trip itinerary and vehicle(s) information: Make and model, color, state, license plate number.

Obtain Your Wilderness Permit

  • Plan your trip itinerary to allow sufficient time to obtain your permit the day of, or the day before your trip during our Hours of Operation.
  • Allow for at least 20 minutes to obtain a permit. Come prepared with all vehicle(s) information: make, model, and license plate(s).
  • All Wilderness permits must be obtained in-person at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Wilderness Desk.
  • The individual listed as the reservation holder must be the one to obtain the permit, please plan accordingly.
  • ⚠️ Wilderness Permits cannot be obtained at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center.


Wilderness Permits are Non-Transferable

Traveling in the Zion Wilderness requires careful planning and preparation. Permit holders assume the responsibility of ensuring that their group is aware of the risks involved, is self-reliant, has developed a back-up plan, and will follow park regulations. Because these are such important aspects of trip planning and resource protection, permits for trips into the Zion Wilderness are non-transferable.

If you cannot participate in your trip, please cancel your reservation to provide opportunities for others. If other members of your group still wish to participate in a planned trip, you may coordinate with a new prospective permit holder for them to immediately reserve the available spaces or sites, as soon as your reservation has been cancelled.

You may cancel your reservation online by logging in to your Zion Wilderness Reservations Account. As soon as your reservation is cancelled, those spaces or sites will immediately be available for someone else to obtain through the calendar reservations page. New permit holders will need a Zion Wilderness Reservations Account prior to creating a calendar reservation.

Plan your trip itinerary to allow sufficient time to obtain your permit the day of, or day before the trip during Zion Wilderness Desk Hours of Operation. The individual listed on reservation must be the one to obtain the permit, please plan accordingly.


Zion Express Membership

  • Zion Express Membership allows visitors who regularly visit the park, and are familiar with the park resources to obtain a login account to create online reservations and convert them into Wilderness Permits from home.

  • To become a member, applicants must watch three orientation films at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Wilderness Desk. (Membership cannot be obtained in the Kolob Canyons.)

  • After watching the films, applicants will sign a Zion Express Program Agreement form and obtain a username and password for their member account.

  • There is no cost for enrollment. Membership is valid for the remainder of the current year and for the next two calendar years. Memberships may be cancelled if any regulations are violated.


Last updated: June 22, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale, UT 84767


Recorded park information available 24 hours a day. Phones are answered 9 am to 4 pm Mountain Daylight Time. You can also send your questions to us at zion_park_information@nps.gov.

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