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Backpacking King’s Canyon area

Flat lander looking for a 4-5 day moderate backpacking loop in or near Kings Canyon. Have done Grand Canyon and RMNP. Looking to check out the Sierras. have been looking at the Jennie Lakes loop. Having a hard time finding info regarding permits and camp sites. Sounds like only need a permit for the time spent camping in KCNP but how difficult is it to get?  Is there a lottery, first come first serve?  Also the maps don’t show specific camp sites on the Jennie lakes area. Can you camp anywhere?  Any other loops we need to check out?

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Try this,, if you haven't already:

A very extensive site which should address most of your concerns.  A phone call or e-mail will also help.

To be clear, I am retired NPS and a big fan, but there are difficulties with the various park systems sometimes.  I have found it easier to base trips in adjaacent USFS wilderness areas where permits are often easier to obtain.

Most of the "Sierras" is under Forest Service management, if you just want to check out the general area.  The resources and scenery within the National Parks is outstanding, but there is plenty of wonderful country available, aside from the NPs (which sometimes are a bit overcrowded, etc.)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

found this, it might help

page 8 of this SEKI pdf is specific to Jennie Wilderness

Interestingly enough, it says:

" Special Note for Jennie Lakes Wilderness, Sequoia National Forest (USFS)If you access Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks through the Jennie Lakes Wilderness (via trail #’s 6, 7, or 😎 you are subject to the daily entry quota based on where you spend your first night in the national parks. If you camp only in the Jennie Lakes Wilderness and never camp in the national parks, you do not need a wilderness permit.


Here's their step by step:

Wilderness permits are required year-round for all overnight trips in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks' wilderness.

Outside the quota season: Wilderness permits are self-issued, free of charge and not subject to quota limits. They can be obtained at anytime from dropboxes located outside of Visitor Centers/Permit Stations.

The 2019 quota season has ended. The 2020 quota season will begin May 22nd. In this timeframe a limited number of people are allowed on each trailhead per day in order to provide outstanding opportunities for solitude during the busy summer months, as required by the Wilderness Act. Applications for the entire summer season will be accepted begining March 1, 2020 at 12:01 am Pacific Time. Day hiking does not require a wilderness permit.

Permitting Desk Hours of Operation and Trailhead Specifics
  • Kings Canyon Visitor Center (in Grant Grove) 8:00 am-4:30 pm daily: Redwood Canyon, Belle Canyon, JO Pass, and Sugarloaf Valley
  • Lodgepole Visitor Center 7:00 am-3:30 pm daily: Twin Lakes, Lakes Trail (walk-up ONLY), Alta, & High Sierra Trail
  • Roads End Permit Station 7:00 am- 3:30 pm daily: Woods Creek, Bubbs Creek, Copper Creek & Lewis Creek
  • Mineral King Ranger Station 8:00 am-3:45 pm daily: Franklin Pass, Sawtooth Pass, Timber Gap, Farewell Gap, Eagle Lake, White Chief, Mosquito Lakes, Tar Gap & Atwell/Hockett
  • Wilderness Office (near Foothills Visitor Center) 8:00 am-4:00 pm M-F (go to Foothills Visitor Center on weekends): Middle Fork, Garfield Grove & Ladybug
Obtaining a wilderness permit during the quota season:
  1. Decide where you want to go by looking at Trail Descriptions, the Park Atlas and Trail Conditions.
  2. Find the name of and quota limit for your desired trailhead on the Wilderness Trip Planner.
  3. Make sure that there is space left in the reservable quota on the date that you wish to start your trip here: Trailhead Availability.
  4. Submit a Wilderness Permit Application at least 2 weeks in advance OR learn about How Walk-up Permits Work. Please double check the sent email to ensure the wilderness permit application you submitted was not sent blank. Blank applications often lead to delays in the permitting process.
Reservations: Step 1: Apply

Download first and fill out the Wilderness Permit Application electronically. You can then attach it as a .pdf to an e-mail addressed to This can be done no sooner than March 1, at 12:01am PST and at least 2 weeks ahead of when you wish to start your hike. Quota limits are solely based off of the entrance point on a given day so please provide alternate start dates and trailheads to increase your chances. Include a daytime phone number to avoid delays. Duplicate applications may result in duplicate, non-refundable charges. Please, indicate in the body of your e-mail if you wish to reserve more than one trip and be sure to fill out a separate application for each trip. Faxed applications are no longer accepted; e-mail and U.S. mail are the only accepted methods for application.

Applications may be mailed to this address:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Wilderness Office #60
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271-9700

Step 2: Pay

Upon completion of your reservation, we will e-mail you a link to our payment form. Wilderness permits cost $10 plus $5 per person within the quota season. In the e-mail you will be given a Permit ID number that you will use to pay for your reservation. Do not copy and paste this number, you must type it in with no spaces for it to work. The fee is non-refundable, non-transferable, not for use in future years and is not for re-sale. Technical issues with the website should be directed to the helpdesk.

Step 3: Pick-up permit

Your confirmation letter is not a wilderness permit and cannot be used for overnight travel. Bring your confirmation letter to pick up your wilderness permit at the start of your trip.Your confirmation letter will include details of where to pick up your permit. Wilderness permits are only issued during Permitting Desk Operating Hours by trailhead rangers who provide important area information. There are no, “night drops”. You may pick up your wilderness permit as early as the afternoon prior to your entrance date after 1:00 pm or no later than 9:00 am on the morning of your entry date. If you need to pick up your permit later than 9:00 am on the morning of your entry date, simply notify the Wilderness Office at (559-565-3766) or e-mail at ahead of time. If you do not make arrangements for a late pickup, your reservation will be canceled at 9:00 am and your spot(s) may be given to people waiting for walk-up permits.

good luck!

REI Member Since 1979

BEAR BARREL! (or other "bear resistant" food container). Check to see if it's required!!