Yellowstone Backcountry Permits Available Online in 2022
Written by Andrew-Rossi on January 28, 2022
A rustic visit to Yellowstone National Park will still need to start in the 21st Century, as backcountry permits and reservations go online this spring.
Beginning this spring, Yellowstone visitors will be able to make advance online reservations for backcountry permits at Recreation.gov. The new system directly responds to public requests for an online backcountry permit reservation system and prompted a collaborative effort between the National Park Service (NPS) and Recreation.gov.
Making online reservations will enable visitors to plan their trips ahead of time and ensure they will have a permit for their chosen itinerary upon arrival.
Moving to an online system allows backcountry users to check availability in real-time and receive instant confirmation when reserving a trip. Park officials say this change will enrich the visitor experience by eliminating uncertainty and frustration and improving safety.
There are three options for obtaining a Yellowstone backcountry permit.
Early Access Lottery
- The Early Access Lottery application period will go live on Recreation.gov on March 1, 2022, and end on March 20, 2022.
- This lottery is a fair and randomized process providing an equal opportunity for applicants to be selected.
- If selected, successful lottery applicants will be assigned a date and time to book their proposed reservation online during the Early Access Period from April 1 through April 24. Participants are limited to a single reservation during the Early Access Period but may create additional reservations beginning April 26.
- Available starting on April 26
- The remaining permits for open campsites will be available on Recreation.gov.
- These permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis up to 48 hours in advance.
- Visitors cannot reserve walk-up Permits online in advance or through the Recreation.gov Call Center.
Early Access Lottery and General Permits will account for approximately 75% of permits issued for the season. The remaining permits will be available as Walk-up Permits.
Furthermore, backcountry permit fees will increase beginning March 1, 2022 – the first increase since fees were implemented in 2015.
Early Access Lottery
- $10 application fee charged for all applications to the lottery regardless of success. Successful applicants will pay a $5 per-person, per-night permit fee.
General Permits and Walk-up Permits
- $5 per person per night plus a $10 reservation fee.
The Yellowstone Annual Backcountry Pass
- Available through Recreation.gov for $50.The pass exempts the individual pass holder from the $5 per person per-night permit fee.
Yellowstone offers more than 1,000 miles of trails and 293 designated backcountry campsites. Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry.
Learn more about backpacking in the park, including trip planning resources such as maps and campsite locations, at camp in the backcountry.
This website is a tool to plan your next trip, figure out details, and reserve experiences at over 4,200 facilities and 110,000 individual sites across the country. The Recreation.gov mobile app puts adventure at your fingertips. From booking a weekend getaway to planning a cross-country road trip, the Recreation.gov app helps you find and reserve campsites, review location details, and quickly access information on past and upcoming reservations.