Climbing Permits

2021 climbing permits will be sold through Recreation.gov 

The USFS has not yet announced a date for the sale of climbing permits for the 2021 season. They are currently evaluating ways to improve the permit system to better meet the needs of the public; please check back for updates.

Permits will be administered by the US Forest Service and Recreation.gov.


At 8,328 feet high (as measured by USGS in 2009), Mount St. Helens offers climbers a breathtaking view from the crater rim. Although it is not a technical climb, it is strenuous and hazardous due to ice, large boulders, loose pumice, fast-changing weather and volcanism. Climbers should be in very good physical condition, well equipped, informed about volcanic hazards, and have plenty of water and food.

The Mount St. Helens Institute has partnered with the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to help protect the volcano’s fragile features and to ensure climbers have a safe, low-impact experience on the volcano.

Before climbing Mount St. Helens, please read climbing rules, road and trail conditions, and other important information from the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.


Climbing permits are required year-round on Mount St. Helens. A Climbing Permit allows an individual or group (max size limit of 12) to be in or upon the area defined as the Mount St. Helens Closure Area #2 (PDF) during the 24 hour period designated by the permit.

To reduce crowding and protect natural features, the number of climbers per day on Mount St. Helens is subject to a quota from April 1 to October 31. 

During the quota season, permits must be purchased online in advance. A permit may be printed up to 14 days before your reservation date. Once your permit has been printed, you cannot make changes. Outside the quota season, permits are free of charge and self-issued at the trailhead.

April 1 - May 14: 500 climbers/day. Must be purchased online in advance.

May 15 - October 31: 100 climbers/day. Must be purchased online in advance.

November 1 - March 31: Unlimited climbers. Permit is free and self-issue at the trailhead.