Once summer hits, Central Oregon will be buzzing with visitors from all over the globe, drawn to our mountainous region by hikes with stunning vistas promised at the end. Central Oregon hiking has gotten so popular that steps have been taken to preserve our most beautiful natural areas while still giving people the opportunity to enjoy them. A Central Cascades Wilderness Permit has been required in the busy season since April 2021 for popular hikes like the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington.
When Do I Need a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit?
If you want to enjoy some of Central Oregon’s most-loved hikes, you have several options, though the new system doesn’t leave much room for spontaneity. Permits are required for several popular hikes from June 15 through October 15, 2022, a change from last year when permits were required from Memorial Day Weekend onward.
This year, Central Cascades Wilderness Permits will be available on April 5, 2022 at 7am for overnight permits and on June 5, 2022 at 7am for day-use permits. Additional permits will be released 10 days prior to the trip date, as well as 2 days before the trip date. Last year, the system resulted in many no-shows, which inspired changes to improve the system in 2022.
What Hikes Require a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit?
Luckily, not all Central Oregon trailheads require a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit, but you will need one for the following Three Sisters Trailhead hikes:
- Broken Top
- Crater Ditch
- Devil’s Lake (South Sister)
- Devil’s Lake (Wickiup Plains)
- Green Lake
- Lava Camp Lake
- Sisters Mirror
- Tam McArthur Rim
- Todd Lake
You will also need permits for several trails in the Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington Wilderness areas. You can find permits for these and all of the Central Cascades Wilderness by searching for “Central Cascades” on Recreation.gov. There are quotas for both day-use and overnight permits, which means limited access. If you don’t obtain a permit when they are released for day use in April, changes to the system mean you aren’t out of luck yet.
Central Cascades Wilderness Permits won’t be available at Forest Service offices, which means you can obtain them online or by calling 877-444-6777. About 40% of the overnight passes will be released on April 5, with the remaining passes available seven days before a trip start date. For day-use permits, the first batch of permits will be released on June 5, with remaining permits released on June 13.
How Much Does a Wilderness Permit Cost?
The only fee associated with the Central Cascades Wilderness Permit is the reservation fee charged by Recreation.gov. Day-use permits will be $1 per person, per outing. Overnight permits will be $6 for a group permit, for each outing (1-12 people per group).
If you decide to strike out on your own without a permit, fines for violations start at $200 plus processing costs, but can go higher and may require a court appearance, depending on the individual’s behavior and history of past incidents.
Plan Ahead to Guarantee Your Spot
If you plan on coming to Sunriver for your summer vacation and want to hike South Sister, Broken Top and other mountains with gorgeous views, it helps to plan ahead. Remember, overnight permits will be available starting April 5, so mark your calendar, set an alarm and snag those permits so you can enjoy the view.
Have you booked your Sunriver summer lodging yet? Book summer vacation rentals in Sunriver in advance. Browse our impressive array of vacation homes for rent in Sunriver or call and one of our talented reservations agents will help you find the perfect setting for your vacation.