Final question (for now!) from Bristol, England. I have a permit from HI for 15 Sept. A friend of mine is thinking of joining me but doesn’t have a permit and of course there aren’t any to be had of the pre-booked kind for my date. However, I know there are 20 reserved for those who turn up and queue at Tuolumne Meadows. I have a “long” permit – it shouldn’t take me 21 days to finish. So he might risk it. However the question. How many people generally show up to get one of these 20 permits in mid Sept?
If it’s 30 that’s not too bad – but if it’s a 100, then maybe it’s not worth the risk.
Your friend should be in pretty good shape for a walk-in permit, but get there early to line up just in case. Stop at the ranger station the day before and they can give you some indication what the line is like. And your best bet for snagging a walk-in permit will on Tuesday through Thursday (more people like to start on or near weekends).
You can stay at the backpacker’s campground the first night. Depending on demand, people line up early, but you are not allowed to camp or sleep in line at the ranger station.
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Flex your adventure muscles!