A permit is required to hike Mount Whitney in California’s Sierra Nevada, both for day-use and overnight hikes. Rangers patrol regularly and any hikers found in the Mount Whitney Zone without a permit will be fined and directed to leave the mountain.
For hikers starting from the east side of the Sierra Nevada at Whitney Portal, day use and overnight permits can be purchased from Inyo National Forest via the recreation.gov website. A permit quota is in operation between May 1st and November 1st and permits are allocated by lottery which opens for applications February 1st and closes March 15th. The Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office can provide further guidance by phone at (760) 873-2483.
Hikers starting in in Sequoia National Park and approaching Mount Whitney across the Sierra Nevada range from the west can apply for a wilderness permit from Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks via the recreation.gov website. A permit quota is in operation from around the end of May through mid September, but there is no lottery in operation, with permits issued based on availability within quota limits.