Boy Scout Troop 604
Many campsites and trailheads require reservations and/or permits.
Once a campsite location is determined, you need to find out as soon as possible whether reservations are required. Most campsites that do require reservations fill up quickly, so you want to make them as soon as you can.
In order to make a reservation, you will need a rough idea how many people are going. The best method I've found to get people "signed up" is to have them make a non-refundable deposit. This deposit should be estimated to cover the reservation costs based on your estimate of how many people are going.
Once you have a rough headcount, you can determine how many campsites you will need. Your first choice should be group campsites. The advantage of them is that everyone can camp together and it is usually cheaper that multiple individual sites.
For State Parks www.reserveamerica.com
For Wilderness Permits www.recreation.gov
For Yosemite www.yosemitepark.com
None of the local (Los Padres or Angeles National Forest) backpack trips we do require permits. However, they currently require Adventure Passes for parked vehicles. Adventure Passes cost $5 per day (an overnight trip is two days) or $30 for the year. For more information, check out: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/r5/passes-permits/?cid=stelprdb5208699&width=full
Almost all trailheads in the Sierras do require permits. This includes Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks. Many trailheads in the Sierras have quotas. Some quotas are quite small (i.e. 6-12 people per day). Sometimes you can “borrow” permits from the following day if they’re available, but you need to ask.
First, you should find out how much the permits cost and how far in advance of your trip date you can apply for them. There are several links at the bottom of this page to help you get going. If the cost is small (lots of trailhead permits only cost $5 per person) and the daily quota is small (12 or less people), you may want to apply for all the permits as soon as you can. If fewer people go, you can distribute the excess cost (which won’t be much).
Next, you will need to determine how many people are going. As above, you should collect non-refundable deposits for the cost of the permits from each person who is interested. Use this money to reimburse the treasurer or to pay for the permits if you haven’t obtained them yet.
How To Plan a Camping or Backpacking Trip