Permits for Pack Creek
If you are renting kayaks and planning a camping trip with one or more days of visits to Pack Creek, you must obtain your own “private” permit from the US Forest Service. We are not allowed to do it for you! (But if you take a guided one day or multi-day tour, then the guide company must obtain your permit for you.)
There are 3 different permit zones in the summer: the Peak Season, Shoulder Season, and Off Season. (Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through this, and once you get the paperwork out of the way in advance, you can enjoy an amazing wilderness experience with few other people present.)
There are only 12 “private” permits per day allowed during the “Peak Season” which is from July 5 to August 25. This is when the salmon are mostly likely to be returning to Pack Creek to spawn, and thus this is when the most numbers of bears are gathered to feed and prepare for winter hibernation. (There are also 12 permits reserved for guided trips each day, so the number of people in any day of the Peak Season can never exceed 24.)
Permits outside the Peak Season, in the Shoulder Season from June 1-July 4 and August 26-September 10, are still required, but are cheaper and not limited in number. And permits before June 1 or after September 10, in the Off Season, are not needed at all! You can just go. (May can be a great month at Pack Creek, but after September 10 we recommend you stay home….)
To check permit availability or to reserve and purchase a permit between June 1 – September 10, go to www.recreation.gov. Enter “Pack Creek” in the WHERE box, then click on Check Availability, then enter your preferred Date and your Group Size. You will see a two week block of dates, with “A12” or other number, referring to the number of spaces available for that Date. Note that in the Shoulder Season before July 5 and after August 25 there is no limit on the permits, so the calendar shows “A99.”
Once you have checked on permit availability, contact me for your kayak reservation. Unless you have a large group, or are renting at the last minute, there will very likely be a kayak available on Windfall Island for your trip.
Here is a summary of the Permit Fees.
Shoulder Season: June 1-July 4, August 26-Sept. 10
Adults 16-61 $20
Children under 16 and Seniors over 61: $10
Peak Season: July 5 – August 25
Adults 16-61 $50
Children under 16 and Seniors over 61: $25