Permits — planning and snagging a backcountry, campground, or even just access permit for your favorite hike is probably not anyone’s favorite part of being in the outdoors. Few of us can honestly say we enjoy tracking down some dusty fax machine to fire paperwork off to remote Forest Service offices and hoping for the best. But permits are a necessity — and as more and more people join us in the outdoors, we can expect more and more places to start requiring permits, too. Thankfully, a new website is working to make this process a bit more painless — and starting now, you will be able to see permit availability AND reserve your own right from your favorite Modern Hiker trail guides!
The site is called Outdoor Status, and it scans Recreation.gov every thirty minutes to look for folks who had to cancel their permit reservations. You tell them what dates you’re looking for and if they spot a cancelled permit in your timeframe, you’ll get a text message and can book your permit directly from the Recreation.gov site. You can also use their service to look ahead to see if there are certain days where more permits might be available for you, as well as find out all the available options for getting a permit like pre-release auctions and walk-ups. Here’s an example from their listing for the Pohono Trail.
The paid service is currently available for certain locations in California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Colorado, but more locations will roll out in the future (and potentially as more become available through Recreation.gov).
But right now, on applicable Modern Hiker trail guides, you’ll be able to see permit availability at a glance both at the top of the trail guides and near the rest of the relevant beta. We’re looking forward to adding more soon — but we’re also psyched to make it just a little bit easier to read the best dang trail guides on the web AND get the permits you need, too!
I’m currently in the process of updating a bunch of our existing trail guides with this new feature, so keep your eyes peeled!