Don’t worry, they are completely free.
From September 1, hikers will require day permits to use hiking trails that lead to popular peaks in San Bernardino National Forest. The change is a bid to reduce the damage to the forest from foot traffic and avoid overcrowding. Hikers will be able to get the wilderness permits for day hikes and overnight trips free of charge, according to the forest website.
“A key characteristic of wilderness is experiencing solitude,” said Jody Noiron, Forest Supervisor. “We have lost that on many of our wilderness trails and sorely need a place for it in busy metropolitan Southern California.”
Note, the permits will only be required in certain parts of San Gorgonio, San Jacinto and parts of the Cucamonga and will not apply to areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Groups will also be limited to a maximum of 12 people. Anyone planning on going will have to get a permit ahead of time and they’ll be available up to 90 days before the day you plan to go.
Up to 144 day hikers will be allowed at each trailhead in the San Gorgonio and Cucamonga wilderness areas each day. There are more details on wilderness permits here.
Here’s what you need to know for each of the aforementioned areas:
While they are completely free you will need to leave a minimum of 5 days to all the permits to be processed and you can do it via, email, phone, fax, or postal mail. You can call the Mill Creek Visitor Center on 909-382-2882 or reserve by email through https://sgwa.org/.
There will only be 30 permits available per day entry into the San Jacinto Wilderness from the Devils Slide Trailhead on Saturday and Sundays from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Free permits are available for camping within the federal wilderness area and you can call 909 382 2921 to make a reservation.
There will only be a permit required if you plan to go to Cucamonga Peak, or Etiwanda Peak and the Lytle Creek area. Reservations can be made by calling the Lytle Creek Ranger Station on 909 382 2851.