Do we need a permit to hike through the Enchantment Lakes Basin in one day?

Bottom line: For a day hike in the Enchantments, you need a self-issued permit, which is available at the trailhead.

The whole answer is yes and no. You’ve probably heard of the hellacious process of trying to get an overnight camping permit in the Enchantments Core. Tens of thousands of people apply every year, and only a quota of few people per day are awarded the prized Core camping permits. 

For day hiking, though, you need a different kind of permit. And it’s much easier to obtain. Day permits are self issued at the trailhead and free with no quotas.

At each trailhead – Snow Lakes and Stewart Lake – stop at the bulletin board and look for a box with blank permits in it. Take one permit form per party.

Fill out both parts of the permit, then tear along the perforation. Tie the upper part of the permit to your party leader’s pack or other exterior location where a ranger is able to see it. Place the bottom part of the permit in the collection box provided at the bulletin board before you start your hike. 

If you expect that your party will split up, go ahead and complete two permits now.

There is no need to do anything with your permit when you finish your hike. Keep your permit tag as a souvenir!

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