By Michael Lanza

You just decided you’d like to backpack in Yosemite this year and realized you’re months too late to reserve a wilderness permit. What now? As it happens, one positive outcome of the pandemic has been Yosemite National Park revising its procedure for obtaining a first-come or walk-in backpacking permit, making it possible to reserve a permit two weeks in advance—meaning you no longer have to risk traveling to the park, standing in line and hoping for Lady Luck to smile on you. Here’s how you can grab a last-minute permit for backpacking in Yosemite this year.

Little wonder that the nation’s third national park, designated in 1890, sees enormous demand for wilderness permits and that most available permits get claimed months in advance. Unquestionably one of the 10 best backpacking destinations in America, its sprawling backcountry abounds in classic High Sierra scenery: high passes overlooking a sea of rocky peaks, meadows alive with wildflowers, and too many stunning mountain lakes, creeks, and waterfalls to count.

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

Backpackers hiking over Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park.
” data-image-caption=”Backpackers hiking over Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park. Click photo to read about this trip.
” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ width=”900″ height=”598″ src=”″ alt=”Backpackers hiking over Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park.” class=”wp-image-47278″ srcset=” 1024w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Backpackers hiking over Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park. Click photo to read about this trip.

After numerous trips in Yosemite since my first more than three decades ago—including the 10 years I spent as Northwest Editor of Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog—my biggest lesson has been that every time I believe I’ve seen the best that Yosemite has to offer, I take another trip and discover I was wrong.

In fact, I have a permit reservation for another multi-day hike in Yosemite later this summer—because it’s impossible to get enough of this park.

A backpacker hiking to Burro Pass
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