Desolation Wilderness Backpacking Permits Q & A
Question: I'm thinking about a 4 or 5 day loop trip and know I need to secure overnight permit from Recreation.gov site. What I am not sure of is do I need to reserve each night in the zone I plan to camp? In other words, do I need one permit or four? If it is four, can I do this in one step on the site or do I need to jump through the hoop four times. I called one of the ranger stations, but it was too late or they were closed at the time.
Answer: You need only 1 permit in which you will specify where you will camp overnight each of the 4 nights. The 1 permit will be for you and for a specific number of people in your party who will be backpacking and overnighting with you.
On Recreation.Gov -- when you are making a backpacking reservation, you start the process by keying in your start date and how many people are in your party. The process will then ask you what is your entry trailhead name. It will also ask you your exit trailhead name. It will ask you your exit date and then it will calculate how many nights you will be sleeping in *Desolation.* Then, for each night it will give you choices where you may camp overnight, and you will select from those choices where you specifically will be camping each night. After you have entered your credit card information, etc. a permit number will be generated. Print the permit and keep it with you on your backpacking trip.
NOTE: Be aware of *Permit Delivery Method* toward the end of the process. The default is set to *ON-LINE* which means you will print the permit from your computer. The alternate *Permit Delivery Method* would be to pick up your permit at the *Issuing Ranger Station*. If you select, *Issuing Ranger Station*, you will be given a choice of WHICH Ranger Station to pick up your permit.
Attention: Desolation Wilderness is now in the non-quota season (Oct 1, 2013 to May 22, 2014). Permits for overnight and Day use are still required. Overnight permits are available on the day of entry and up to 6 months in advance through Recreation.gov. Be aware that trailheads are inaccessible due to snow in the winter months and parking areas may require a Snowpark permit. Permits are also available from 8:00 to 4:30, M-F at the Pacific Ranger Station in Pollock Pines (530-647-5415) and the Lake Tahoe Basin Supervisor's office in South Lake Tahoe (530-543-2600). Call ahead for current conditions and office hours as these offices may be closed during severe winter weather events.