Some people day hike to Big Pine Lakes, but spending a couple of nights in John Muir Wilderness is the best way to experience this gorgeous area. Overnight permit quotas are in place from May to September, and you can reserve a wilderness permit up to six months in advance. If you see a "W" for your preferred entry date on Recreation.gov, it means a few more permits will be released at 7 AM exactly two weeks before your ideal start date.
Once you reserve a permit online, you'll have to request your permit via email, phone, or in-person, by answering a few questions. It'll take up to 48 hours to process and finally receive your permit.
Permits cost $6 (non-refundable fee) and an additional $5 per hiker.
Big Pine Lakes is tucked away in John Muir Wilderness, a 100-mile stretch along the Sierra Crest in Inyo National Forest
The name "Inyo" derives from a Native American word meaning "dwelling place of the great spirit."
John Muir Wilderness was designated and protected by Congress in 1964. Since then, it has become the second most-visited wilderness in the country!