California is filled with some of the United States most breathtaking hiking trails and campsites, but many of these popular trails and campgrounds come with a lot of rules and regulations.
Hiking permits, backpacking permits, and campground reservations all vary depending on what you are looking for, and so my goal here is to give you a glance at some of California’s most popular hikes and areas permit regulations so you don’t have to go searching each and every one of them down.
These kinds of rules and regulations change frequently, and I’ve updated this post to reflect 2022’s most current regulations. (But if you ever notice any info is wrong, please just hit me up in the comments below and we will get the data changed ASAP.)
I like to update this guide at the beginning of every year, because it’s that time of year we starting thinking about our goals – trails we want to hike, 14ers we want to climb, and places we want to see. It’s always a good idea to start thinking ahead about where you want to go because a lot of trails and campsites in California (particularly the more popular ones) require reservations and permits.
I know when I moved to California I felt lost about when to apply for permits and where to get the reservations from. It seems like each park or forest has a different system. Hopefully, in this post, I can help demystify this permit and reservation process for you for popular hiking trails and campsites in California.
So let’s dive in!