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Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query

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Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 27, 2014 10:35PM
Hello,

What a wonderful site. I have been consuming its contents for weeks. I am curious as to what the exact protocol is for the dispersal of day-of permits. I called the Tuolomne Meadows permit desk and the ranger was more than a little tight-lipped about it. He wouldn't even give his opinion as to an appropriate time to arrive. I understand that 10AM is when unclaimed permits are released, and 11AM is when FCFS are handed out for the following day, but what time would you recommend I get there (for either Sunrise or Cathedral lakes)? And is there an obvious waiting area where people queue up?
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 03:50AM
I don't remember exactly (you can search) but they hold something like 40% of the permits for walk ups. Couple that with no shows and you have a pretty good chance of getting a permit. Having said that, people start queing up pretty early. Last time I was there they had a well marked area for starting the line.
When are you going ? If it's after Labor Day, you shouldn't have a problem getting a permit. Also, have a plan B and C. There's usually something open.

Edit: Welcome to the forum smiling smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2014 03:51AM by The Other Tom.
avatar Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 06:11AM
2 most pop THs so ranger can't say
"get here at 5am n you will get permit"...

There is a sign where the line starts
outside the permit station.
Peeps prob sleeping there at 4am.

Have fun (w that)
tongue sticking out smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 10:58AM
I like to use the permit office at the Highway 120 entrance station the day before my hike when possible. The lines are shorter, and since the system is computerized, your chance of getting a permit is the same as up at Tuolumne Meadow.
Also, with a shorter line, the rangers are usually less stressed. I usually recite the rules,and tell them I'm not going to make any wood fires. With that I have even had them offer me Half Dome permits.
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 11:04AM
I've always been told that the Ranger Station within the area of the TH gets priority distribution. In that if someone in the Valley is interested in, say the Mono Pass TH, they will first check with people at the Tuolumne issuing station.
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 11:29AM
I think that was before the current computer system.
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 12:38PM
Good to know--thank you.
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 05:07PM
Quote
lschaaf
I think that was before the current computer system.

No, you are wrong, it is still happening and I think was only recently implemented, at least officially. From the website http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm : "Priority for permits for a particular trailhead is given to the closest permit issuing station."

I think why the ranger was reluctant to give you a precise time as it varies dramatically depending on how many people show up and when they do. And as chick-on said, with such popular trailheads he doesn't want to a) tell you a time, it not work out and be held 'accountable' for it and b) if he says a specific time then everyone will just show up then, or 1 hour earlier. While chick-on's advice makes sense in August, mid-week in september shouldn't be so bad, maybe a few hours before 11. If you are going on the weekend though, that's a whole another story.
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 08:22PM
"priority to the nearest permit station"???? what does that mean--priority until all permits are gone? until 2:17 pm the day before? until 11:58 pm the same day(2 minutes for those other stations to get in)? is there an obvious meaning here that I'm missing? if not, can somebody who knows explain? no, I'm not a lawyer, I'm a confused nurse. seems like computerized system would allow "first come" to apply across the system, no need to check since permits issued by the nearest station are in the system, on the screen.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2014 08:28PM by mkbgdns.
avatar Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 29, 2014 04:17AM
What I've seen is that if someone asks for a same-day permit at another station, that station will call the "closest" one, and the rangers will ask who's planning to request that trailhead, before giving the other station the go-ahead.
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 29, 2014 08:40AM
Quote
ttilley
What I've seen is that if someone asks for a same-day permit at another station, that station will call the "closest" one, and the rangers will ask who's planning to request that trailhead, before giving the other station the go-ahead.

Exactly. As I understand it they did this because people would go to less busy permit stations, where there was no to little line, and try to get a permit for a popular trailhead, effectively cutting the line at the busier permit stations. It also clears up the ambiguity if two people are at the front of the line at two different stations at 11 am, who gets priority.
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 30, 2014 12:21PM
thank you, that makes sense. so people standing in line are counted toward quota before more remote station can issue permit. there WAS an obvious meaning that I was missing...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/30/2014 12:23PM by mkbgdns.
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 01:07PM
4am? Yikes!!!! Scratch that off the list smiling smiley

I'm planning to go next week. I'll just go do some more research and dig up some alternatives. Rumor has it Yosemite has plenty of those! Thanks for the help!
Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
August 28, 2014 05:13PM
Depending on your experience level and destination, there are two cross country permit options out of Tuolomne: Budd Lake -> to camp at Matthes crest area; and Elizabeth Lake to Nelson Lake. These are not listed on web published permit quotas. I have not done either, but I am planning on it in a week. Several forum postings suggest they never max out on quota. You need to feel comfortable with route finding and cross country travel. THere are some use trails to Nelso Lake. My understanding is both trips are pretty straight forward navigation wise. I will use either of these permit options as my backup plan. Best call the ranger for details.
avatar Re: Tuolomne Meadows First-Come, First-Served Query
September 01, 2014 09:42AM
The rules are very simple. It's a trailhead. You start there. Where you go from there is mostly up to you
provided that you follow all the backcountry rules and are over the crest which drains to Elizabeth and/or Budd.
Absolutely no camping at Budd Lake. And absolutely no camping at Elizabeth or any other lake north of the
crest... It will say as much right on the permit you are handed.



Chick-on is looking at you!
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