Wilderness Permits

Due to the El Dorado Fire, the Forest Service has informed us that the Wilderness is closed to the public until October 1st. All permits through Sept 30 have been cancelled and no new permits will be issued until the closure is lifted. More information on the fire may be found on Inciweb. https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7148/

Free Wilderness permits are  required for both day hikes and overnight camping in the Wilderness.

COVID-19 SITUATION AS OF SEPT 1 2020: Due to the COVID-19 virus, SGWA still has only one volunteer processing permits from home. Emailing your permit request is best as our volunteer can only be in the office for a brief period once a week.

If you are unable to use the drop down on these permits you may download the form and fill out by hand. some browsers don’t support our forms. thanks.


Day Hike Permit


Overnight Permit

Simple rules to protect you, the resources, and your wilderness enjoyment must be followed. Day hike and  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 summer use is very high. There is a quota for each trail and 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, email 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.  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 trail and  campsite quotas (limits) we encourage you to plan ahead so you will be able to hike your preferred trail or 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. Always provide a second choice in case the site you want is full.

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.

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  permits outside the station for pickup after 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.

The Email with your Approved permit will look like this:

Be sure to watch your Spam/Junk Mail folder in case it goes there.

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 -TRAIL AND  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!