photo of Rae Lakes in Kings Canyon National Park, CA

  Rae Lakes

  Kings Canyon National Park

Middle Rae Lake

Rae Lakes Backpacking Trip Resources

Books and Maps

Mike White's recently published book on hiking trails in Kings Canyon and Sequoia has received high praise. Tom Harrison's maps have become the standard for back country travel.


Cedar Grove Pack Station

The Cedar Grove Pack Station is located near Cedar Grove Village. They can pack you and your gear into Paradise Valley or take you on a more extended trip around the Rae Lakes Loop. They are open from May to mid-October.
Cedar Grove Pack Station - Facebook

Wilderness Permits

A Wilderness Permits is required for each party for all overnight trips in Kings Canyon National Park. During the Quota Period (near the end of May to about the third week of September) there are trailhead quotas for the number of people who may enter each day. The trail through Paradise Valley to Rae Lakes is called the Woods Creek Trail. The daily quota of overnight campers permitted onto the Woods Creek Trail is 25. Of those, 20 slots may be reserved. The other 5 are Walk-up permits. There is a $10 fee per permit plus $5 per person during the Quota Period.

New for 2017, download a fillable PDF wilderness permit application. Suggest using Adobe Acrobat Reader to open and fill in the PDF. Then email request with application as an attachment. Find full information at Wilderness Permits. You will receive an email response within 2 weeks. This is your confirmation letter, but not your permit.

Bring your confirmation letter with you to get your wilderness permit. You can get your permit the day before your hike after 1:00 PM or the day of your hike by 9:00 AM. Permits for Rae Lakes are issued at the Road's End station located alongside the trail. Permits can only be picked up during permit station operating hours. There are no night drops.

Road's End permit station in Cedar Grove is usually open from 7:00 AM to 2:45 or 3:30 PM. Hours vary, so call ahead to confirm: (559) 565-3341.

Backcountry Regulations for Kings Canyon

  • Campfires are prohibited above 10,000 feet.
  • Bear canisters are required in the Rae Lakes area and along Woods Creek.
  • Two night Camping Limits for Paradise Valley and one night at each lake from Dollar Lake to Glen Pass.

More about Wilderness Permits

About three quarters of the number of people entering a particular trailhead for overnight camping can be reserved in advance, beginning March 1 at 12:01 AM and continuing until two weeks prior to your departure. You can check on the availability of permits for a particular trailhead at Wilderness Permit Reservation Availability.

If you know you will be delayed beyond the 9:00 AM deadline to pick up your permit, call the Wilderness Office by 8:30 AM to hold your reserved permit. Wilderness Office: (559) 565-3766

Do not submit more than one application per request or group each day. Such applications will be disqualified.

Walk-up Permits

Walk-up permits may be picked up beginning at 1:00 PM the day before the start of your trip at the permit station at the trailhead. More permits may become available after 9:00 AM the day of your trip if some reserved permits have not been picked up by then.

Planning Your Trip

A good source of information is the park's website:
Wilderness Trip Planner.

Groups are limited to a maximum of 15 people (12 when traveling cross-country, and in some areas 8).