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Enchantments Lottery Dates, Permit Process for 2013

Posted by Loren Drummond at Jan 15, 2013 03:40 PM |
If you want to camp in the Enchantments Basin this summer, you'll need to apply for a permit in two basic steps. First you apply between February 15 and March 2. If you win a permit in the lottery, then you need to confirm and pay for it between March 6 and March 31.
Enchantments Lottery Dates, Permit Process for 2013

Campsite above Lake Viviane. Photo by David-Hagen

There is no place quite like Washington's Enchantment Lakes Basin in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Backcountry camping in the Enchantments ranks high on many Northwest hikers' wishlists.

Because of the area's popularity, all overnight visitors must obtain a permit if they want to camp in the Basin between June 15 through October 15. Most of those permits are issued through an annual lottery, which opens next month. So, if you know you want to backpack in the Enchantments this year, start planning and mark your calendars with the following dates.

How to apply for an Enchantments permit

The Forest Service says there will be a few additional changes to the application process this year. If you want to get in the running for one of the coveted permits, follow these basic steps (and then cross your fingers). First you apply between February 15 and March 2. If you win a permit in the lottery, then you need to confirm and pay for it between March 6 and March 31.

Step 1. Starting Feb. 15, apply for a permit at recreation.gov

The 2013 Enchantment lottery will open on February 15, 2013 and end at 11:59 p.m. on March 2, 2013. (Applying early doesn't give you preference for a permit, so just make sure to get your application in during this window.)

  • Set up an account at www.recreation.gov. This can be done at any time (even right now). You can use the same account to reserve other permits or any of the campsites that use the National Recreation Reservation Service system.
  • Fill out an application at www.recreation.gov on the Enchantments Permit page. You'll be able to select your preferred zone to camp in (see map) (Core Enchantment, Snow Lake, Colchuck, Stuart Lake or Eightmile/Caroline), the dates of your trip, and the number in your group (maximum of 8 heartbeats) in your party.


It's a good idea to research where and when you'd like to go before you start the application process since making changes to an application may not be easy or even possible once you've submitted it.

You will be charged a $6.00 non-refundable application fee. At this point, you will NOT have purchased a permit, but rather will have entered the lottery.

Step 2. Starting Mar. 6, confirm and pay for your permit

Successful applicants must confirm and pay for their permits between March 6 and March 31.

The lottery results will be posted on recreation.gov on (or just after) March 6, at which time applicants can log into their recreation.gov account and find out the results of their application.

If you don't win one of the lottery permits, you can still try for the small number of daily walk-in permits later in the summer.

More details and trip planning resources

Read carefully, because all of the 2013 information may not yet be posted. As more details about the evolving process are released, WTA will do our best to keep you in the know.

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