Wilderness Permits

Permit requests can be submitted via fax, email or postal mail. For those who do not have access to a fax machine, there are numerous online services that allow you to fax from your computer.
Our fax number, email address, and mailing address may be found on the permit application.

Free Wilderness permits are not required for day hikes, but they are highly recommended as a safety precaution for anyone going into one of San Bernardino National Forest’s eight wilderness areas. Wilderness permits provide a record of visitors to the area, which enables Forest Service personnel to monitor whether all visitors return. If you choose not to obtain a wilderness permit, it is highly recommend that you leave your itinerary with a friend or family member. Some signs leading to wilderness areas may have outdated information about permit requirements; the Forest Service is working to correct those as quickly as possible.

Simple rules to protect you, the resources, and your wilderness enjoyment must be followed. Recommended day hike permits as well as required overnight permits may be requested in person at the Mill Creek Ranger Station, Big Bear Discovery Center, by mail or fax, up to 90 days in advance of your trip. There is a quota for each overnight trail camp, so planning farther in advance increases the chance of your permit being approved.

To ensure a unique experience and a safe trip, it is in the visitor’s best interest to be both well informed and adequately prepared prior to entering the Wilderness. With this in mind please take the time to read the following information before starting the application process:

  • It is highly recommended that visitors get a detailed map of the San Gorgonio Wilderness prior to planning their trip. The map, and other hiking essentials, along with the Wilderness permit should be carried with you throughout your visit. Maps may be purchased at the San Bernardino National Forest Ranger stations, local sporting goods stores, or at the SGWA Backcountry Store.
  • The San Gorgonio Wilderness is home to the California Black Bear. While bear encounters are not common in the Wilderness, knowing what to do and what not to do while recreating in their habitat is vital. To help ensure your safety, as well as the safety of the bears, we encourage all visitors to read the bear awareness information found here.
  • The National Forest Adventure Pass is required for each car parked at the Vivian Creek, or South Fork trailheads. The Adventure Pass is in addition to the Wilderness permit. Here are a few guidelines to avoid any confusion between the two: The Adventure Pass is purchased and then displayed in your parked vehicle. The Wilderness permit is free and is carried on your person while hiking. For detailed information on the Adventure Pass program and locations where they can be purchased, please click HERE.

The San Gorgonio Wilderness has eight trailheads offering a variety of access points. You may click on the appropriate links for more detailed information on

Trailheads, overnight camps, distances, and elevations
Trail conditions
Water sources
Wilderness Ethics

 

The following page links are under construction for your use in the future:

  • Equestrian & Stock Animals
  • Large Groups (12 or more) or Organizations (i.e. Boy, Girl Scout groups)
  • Winter Travel

FINAL INSTRUCTIONS (Adobe Reader required! )

  1. If using Adobe Reader, fill out the permit request online (using your keyboard, mouse, and/or TAB key to move from field-to-field; links below). Entries must be completed in all boxes, including second choices. Incomplete requests will not be approved. If using an earlier Adobe version, please print the form and complete with an ink pen.
  2. Once completed, review the information and then print the document. Review the Wilderness regulations and initial where indicated, then sign and date your request. Fax or mail the completed request to the Mill Creek Ranger Station at the number/address provided.
  3. Direct all questions regarding Wilderness permits to the Mill Creek Ranger Station (909) 382-2882. The San Gorgonio Wilderness Association does NOT issue permits. Please allow a minimum of five days to process your permit!

Wilderness permit requests are accepted up to 90 days in advance.  Since there are campsite quotas (limits) we encourage you to plan ahead so you will be able to camp at your first choice campsites if staying overnight.  This is especially critical during the busy summer months and on holiday weekends.  Some campsites fill up weeks in advance.

Please allow a minimum of five days to process your permit! The Mill Creek Ranger Station is the only location where these permit requests are processed, and since it is closed Tuesday and Wednesday and on some holidays, permits cannot be processed on these dates.

Day Hike Permit forms do not require approval. Please print the completed form and carry it with you. Fax, Email, or mail the form as a safety precaution for going into our wilderness area.  

We will fax, email, or mail either the overnight permit (if it has been approved) or the denied request (if the quota is full) back to you.  We can also leave overnight permits outside the station for pickup outside business hours.  Please note that this method is not foolproof – sometimes permits left outside get stolen or damaged.  Faxing, email, or mailing is the preferred method.  Please indicate at the bottom of the request form how you want the permit returned.

We may not be able to telephone you to fix incomplete requests, so please take the time to fill out the form in its entirety including signature at the bottom. Thank you!

REMEMBER IF YOU SEND IN A PERMIT, YOU MAY NOT BE APPROVED DUE TO AVAILABILITY – OVERNIGHT SITES FILL UP EARLY.  BE SURE TO CHECK IF YOU ARE APPROVED FOR YOUR REQUEST BEFORE YOUR HIKE DATE.  WE WILL FAX BACK CONFIRMATIONS BUT IF YOUR REQUEST IS FOR PICK UP ON THE DAY OF YOUR HIKE YOU MAY NOT HAVE A PERMIT AND WE HAVE NO WAY OF NOTIFYING YOU!

permit_dayhike

permit_overnight