February might be short on days, but it’s stacked with future adventure opportunity. Plenty of permits for those who like to plan ahead become available in February, and whether it’s summitting Mount Whitney or spending the night in the Enchantments, February has plenty of reasons to make circles on the calendar. While every month opens up new opportunities to reserve a space to hike the Narrows Route in Zion top-down, these awesome hiking and adventure permits only become available in February.
Mount Whitney lottery, opens February 1
For those looking to hike or backpack to the highest point in the contiguous United States, February is an important month to apply for a permit. Day hikers, backpackers, and technical mountain climbers alike need a permit to summit Whitney, and the application period for the lottery runs from February 1 to March 15. Interested visitors can apply for a permit through Recreation.gov, and it helps greatly to do a little research to better your chances. One of the first things to keep in mind is that the route is only considered non-technical in the snow-free months of July through September.
Grand Canyon non-commercial raft permits, February 1
For those with the skills and experience to lead their own trip through the Grand Canyon, the first three weeks of February is the time to apply for a permit for the following year. That means for a 2020 non-commercial trip, February 2019 is the time to apply on the Weighted Lottery page. Follow-up lotteries occur throughout the year for changed trip plans and cancellations. If you win a launch date, it’s important for you to pay your fees and not risk losing your spots.
Mount Saint Helens climbing permits, available February 1
Administered by the Mount St. Helen’s Institute, permits are required to the climb to the crater atop Mount Saint Helens between April 1 to October 31. Since walk-up permits are limited to 500 people a day between April 1 and May 15 and just 100 people per day between May 16—October 31), permits are occasionally available throughout the warmer weather dates, but can be competitive and non-existent on the weekends and holidays. Part of the permit purchase goes to the work being done by the Institute, and the view from the top is well worth the strenuous effort of the hike leading towards it.
10th Mountain Division Hut lottery, applications due by February 14 (members only)
For 10th Mountain members, applications for the next year’s hut reservation system are due by February 14. Following a new online system, applicants looking to nab one of these premiere backcountry huts for the next winter will need to verify their membership (starting at $35/month) and can then apply for an unlimited amount of trips and alternatives for the following season. Non-members will need to wait until the second lottery process, which takes places the first business day of June.
Enchantments overnight permit lottery, application opens February 15
The Enchantment area within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of Washington easily lives up to its descriptive name, and anyone looking to spend the night in this fairytale world between mid-May and October needs to carry a permit. Permits are awarded through a lottery system, and applicants need to apply for the lottery between February 15 and March 2. However, a small percentage of overnight permits are left aside to be made available for daily lotteries. Those looking to day-hike the demanding trek don’t need a permit, though they do need to register at the trailhead and be ready for a full-day adventure.
Supai / Havasu Falls camping permit, February 1
Of all the enchanting places to visit within the Grand Canyon, the remote village of Supai often tops out as one of the most sought after. Home to the Havasupai Tribe, the area’s blue-green waters and stunning canyon scenery, including the well photographed Havasu Falls, draws tourists from around the world.
Due to the remote location and fragile environment, day hikes into Supai are strictly prohibited, and competitive overnight permits are the only way to see and spend the night in this magical canyon environment. For 2019, permits for the year open on February 1st. Interested visitors can stay up to date with the Havasupai and Havasu Falls Facebook Page.