Important Changes to the 2023 PCT Long-distance Permit Application

Are you planning to hike 500 or more continuous miles on the PCT in 2023? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) has made some changes to the PCT Long-distance Permit application this year. Read on to make sure you’re ready when the first round of permits becomes available on Tuesday, November 15th.

What’s changed?

Applying for a permit on the first release date:

To be eligible for a permit on the first release date on November 15th at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time, you must register ahead of time at Registration opened on October 12th and will remain open until November 1st at five p.m. PT. When registering, you’ll enter your phone number, email address, date of birth, and other contact information. Note that registering doesn’t ensure that you’ll receive a permit—it only means that you are eligible to apply for one.

Also new is the ability to apply for the same permit date as your hiking partner. After registering, you’ll have the option to link the two applications so that both of you can get the same itinerary. You must set this up in the permit management portal at least 24 hours before the permit release. On permit day, only one of you will enter the queue. When it’s their turn, they will be able to select a date that has two or more spaces available. Once they’ve submitted the application, applications for both people will be created.

What won’t change is the number of permits available on each release date. The number of permits per day will remain at 35 for the first round on November 15th, as in past years.

Additional note: The first permit release specifically pertains to anyone planning a northbound thru-hike. It also applies to northbound trips 500 or more continuous miles in length that start south of Sonora Pass anytime between March 1st and May 31st.

Applying for a permit on the second release date:

As with the first release date, you will need to register ahead of time to be eligible to apply for a permit on Tuesday, January 10th at 10:30 a.m. PT. You may register up until January 5th at five p.m. PT.

Again, the number of permits for the second release date will stay the same as before at 15 per day.

Additional note: The second permit release pertains to those planning for a southbound trip or those who weren’t successful in obtaining a northbound permit in the first round.

What else?

If you still have questions about the new changes to the PCT permit process, visit You can also check out How To Score a PCT Long-distance Permit to read a more detailed overview of the permit process. But more importantly, don’t fret. If anything, the changes to the permit application process should help things run more smoothly. Just make sure to register ahead of time!

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