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Yosemite National Park Large Groups

In order to preserve the natural and aesthetic value of Yosemite's wilderness, groups of 8 people or more should be aware of the following information:

Group Size

The maximum group size for groups traveling on maintained trails is 15 people and 25 head of stock. (Stock are not permitted off-trail, except within one-fourth of a mile off the trail for purposes of watering and rest stops or overnight camping.)

Cross Country Travel

A maximum group size of 8 persons has been set for any group traveling off maintained trails in order to reduce impacts such as the development of use-trails and the creation of new campsites in off-trail areas. This limit applies to all areas 1/4 mile by map off any established, maintained trail. This includes side trips by larger groups (i.e. peak climbing).

Obtaining a permit

The following are tips to assist you in obtaining a wilderness permit or reservation for a permit.

  • Keep groups small.
  • Start your wilderness trip mid-week.
  • Include alternate trailheads and/or starting dates.
  • Indicate the minimum number of people you will accept.
  • Include the leader's daytime phone number in the request.

    Although many organized groups publish their trip schedule before reservation requests are accepted, the Park Service cannot guarantee the availability of any trailhead or date. Trip participants should be informed that adjustments may have to be made due to quota limitations.

Commercial Use

If the amount of money collected from all members of the group exceeds the actual expenses of the trip, the trip is classified as commercial use. If your trip fits this description, the leader must obtain a commercial use license before applying for a wilderness permit. Please contact, with the details of your trip:

Special Park Uses P.O. Box 700 El Portal, CA 95338 (209) 379-1858


Many groups make projects of picking up extra trash; we hope yours will too. We will happily supply extra trash bags.

Minimum Group Impact

Large groups provide an excellent opportunity to actively teach, review, and practice minimum impact techniques. Instill in group members a respect and a sense of stewardship for the land. It is especially important to cover the many aspects of proper wilderness use with every group member, and to practice minimum impact camping at all times while in the wilderness. Please refer to the How To section for specific information.

Campsite selection

Numerous existing campsites in Yosemite wilderness which will accommodate large groups. Please do not make new sites or campsite improvements, i.e. new campfire rings, hauling logs to make benches, etc.

If you have a fire, please build a small warming fire rather than a large bonfire to conserve park resources and reduce air pollution.

Water quality protection

Please help protect water quality by assuring all members of your group understand how to properly bury human waste. Group leaders should carry small plastic trowels to use in this process by digging individual cat holes.

Do all washing and dump all wastewater well away from camps. Establish a group washing area at least 100 feet away from any water source and restore the area to a natural looking state when you are ready to leave.

To minimize damage to fragile shoreline vegetation all wilderness users, especially groups, should bring large containers to carry water away from stream or lake shores for use.

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