2018 PCT Permit Registration Opens November 1st

Planning to hike more than 500 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018? Then you’ll need to register for a PCT Long-Distance Permit through the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA). Registration opens November 1.

Permits starting at or near the Mexican border are limited to 50 people per day, and permits will be released in two phases. Unlike previous years when permits were released in January and February, for the 2018 season 35 permits will become available at 10:30am PT on November 1st, 2017 with the remaining 15 permits becoming available at 10:30am PT on January 17, 2017. If you wish to start your hike elsewhere along the PCT, those permits will also be available at 10:30am PT January 17th. There is no way to preregister.


As illustrated above, the month of April into the first week of May is an extremely popular time to start a northbound trek of the PCT for two reasons:

  1. Hikers tend to plan 6-8 weeks to travel the 702 miles to Kennedy Meadows, the gateway to the Sierra. In past years, hikers avoided entering the Sierra before “Ray Day,” which in an average snow year is June 15th. By this time there has been enough snowmelt to allow for passage through the Sierra; although, as we all know, every year is different.
  2. The average PCT thru-hiker finishes the trail in five months. The PCTA suggests northbound hikers end their hike by early October, as in past years early snows by that time has made it difficult to reach the border.

Before November 1st, visit the PCTA’s Long-Distance Permit page to familiarize yourself with the registration process. In the coming months The Trek will have more information for 2018 PCT hikers; such as applying to cross into Canada, how to handle fire closures, and other tips to prepare you for your hike.

Stay tuned—we’ll post an update with the once registration open.

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Comments 2

  • Irene : May 16th

    If you wish to start your hike elsewhere along the PCT, those permits will also be available at 10:30am PT January 17th. There is no way to preregister…Does this mean that I can’t apply until 1/17th or that these permits for hikers starting elsewhere will be given out on 1/17th? If possible please clarify. Thanks

    • Amy : May 16th

      Hi Irene; I believe it means you cannot apply until 1/17. These dates were current for last year however, if you’re planing a hike for 2019 the dates may change. If you need further help, I’d suggest contacting the PCTA. Hope this helps.


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