The park has received a bump of 115% reservations requests for the Wonderland Trail!

I’m pretty sure this isn’t an April fools joke, although it was posted to the Park’s web site on April 1st.  Never in history have they seen such high numbers for reservations for wilderness permits.  Who knew back in 1915, when the Wonderland Trail was first constructed that it would turn into such a sought-after gem!  Because of the high demand, always have a great Plan B so your heart doesn’t get broken if you get denied.  Have you hiked the Spider Gap, Cloudy Pass/Buck Creek Pass?  How about the Napeequa Valley? Perhaps it’s time to take a section hike of the PCT? How about the checking out the Pasayten Wilderness Area? Washington State is absolutely bursting with high subalpine scenery and plenty of great places to visit.  In the meantime, I’m crossing my fingers and sending good juju your way! The following was posted by the Park Service: 

Wilderness Permits & Reservations – April 1, 2014: As of this morning, we have received 1,950 applications for wilderness permits during the March 15-31 time-frame, which is about 115% above the usual amount of 800. With this phenomenal number of applications we will be able to successfully book only about 60% of these initial requests, especially for those seeking backpacking permits. I have processed wilderness reservations for 15 years here at Mt. Rainier and have never seen numbers like this. If we are not able to book your trip we will send you a letter notifying you of this. Processing begins April 1. The option to a reservation is a first-come, first served permit. Requests received in March, April and May could take up to six weeks to process because of the large number of applications. Each one is processed by hand with usually only 2 rangers assigned to this duty. It will be well into May before this initial batch of reservation requests are completed. This means you may not get a reply from the park for some weeks, depending on when your request is processed. As the season goes on and the initial pile of requests are whittled down, the park is able to process and reply to reservation requests in 1-2 days.

Last minute reservations for the Wonderland Trail should be delivered today!

If you are dreaming of wildflower meadows and snowy glaciers along the Wonderland Trail, you should get your reservation request in no later than today, April 1st.  After today, the odds of getting a permit reduce substantially.  With such profound beauty, it’s easy to see why so many people are interested in seeing this gorgeous backcountry.  I’m sending you all good luck and keeping my fingers crossed!

50% increase in permit requests

Feel free to blame me and the other media for telling hiker friends about the beauty of the Wonderland Trail. I’m sorry, I just can’t help myself. With misty-eyed, make you weep, sheer scenic beauty, the word is spreading and folks, like you, want to get out there and see it for yourselves. This ambition has resulted in a record 50% increase in reservation requests to hike the WT for 2013! If you are one of those on the reservation request list, please be patient with the park as they go through and manually (yes, you read that correctly) input all of those requests. In the first 17 days, the poor Park Service received a whopping 1450+ reservation requests and as I write this, they continue to pour in. Remember, if you don’t get your optimal itinerary, you can utilize the first-come, first-served permit system the day before or day-of your trip to try to make changes. Pages 50-51 in my book have more information about getting your optimal itinerary if you need to grab a quick refresher. While you wait to hear back, keep up your training, dig out your gear, and try not to get too antsy anticipating what is sure to be a fantastic journey!

March 15th is nearing!

Those who have sat on the snowy shoulders of winter, waiting, planning and dreaming, the time is nearing! The first day to get your Wonderland Trail permit reservations in, is March 15th. Now we just need Old Man Winter to blow on out of here, so that this snow can melt and we can get you and your gorp into the backcountry!

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