three sisters wilderness sign

Central Cascades Wilderness Permits

Wilderness Permits in the Central Cascades

Wilderness Permits are required for all overnight stays and for day use at some trailheads in the Central Cascades wilderness areas from June 15 – October 15. This includes areas in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, Mt. Washington Wilderness, and the Three Sisters Wilderness. To see which trailheads require a permit, please visit the US Forest Service website.

There are two types of permits available for visiting the Central Cascades wilderness areas of Oregon:

Only overnight permits are available in advance of the season. At 7:00 a.m on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 40% of overnight permits for each day of the season will be released. Once the permit season begins, the remaining 60% of overnight permits will be released on a 7-day rolling window throughout the permit season. Day use permits will be in two released in 10-day and 2-day rolling windows before each date.

The only cost for the permits is the reservation fee charged by recreation.gov.

  • Day use permit: $1 per person, for each outing
  • Overnight permit: $6 per group permit, for each outing

About the Central Cascades Wilderness Areas

The Central Cascades wilderness areas of Oregon are home to iconic and volcanic mountain peaks, high alpine meadows, streams, and lakes, and old growth forests. Expansive mountain views, wildlife, wildflowers, and much more can be found in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas. The wilderness permit system was established to ensure the protection of these landscapes now and into the future.

Backpacking, day hiking, mountaineering and horseback riding are the most common forms of recreation in the area during the short summer season, after snow has receded. Opportunities for nature photography also abound. Cross-country navigation skills are necessary to access many of the high lakes and mountain peaks.

There are no restroom facilities within these wilderness areas. Visitors must practice Leave No Trace skills, including properly disposing of human and pet waste and carrying out all trash. Services available at trailheads will vary.

If you cannot secure a permit for a specific trailhead, have no fear! Bend is chock full of amazing hiking opportunities in every direction.

Central Cascades Wilderness Permit Regulations

  • Permits are non-transferable.
  • Group Leaders cannot be changed, and at least one group leader or alternate group leader must be with the group.
  • You must enter the permit area on the entry date and entry trailhead shown on your permit.
  • All group members are required to start on the same day and camp together.
  • Maximum length of overnight stay is 14 consecutive days. People may not exit and reenter at a later date.
  • You must carry your permit with you and present it upon request to any Forest Officer or other law enforcement officer throughout the duration of your trip. Permits are non-transferable.
  • You may not re-enter on a different date using the same permit.
  • Travel between Central Cascades Wilderness areas is only allowed at Pacific Crest Trail trailheads.

Frequently Asked Questions & Brochures