The park has numerous opportunities for backcountry hiking, but few maintained trails. The most commonly used routes follow river valleys or ridgelines. Topographical maps, available at the visitor center, are essential; although backcountry permits are not required, rangers strongly recommend that those planning to go into the backcountry register and discuss their plans with park staff before setting out.
Backcountry camping is permitted in most areas, but not within a quarter-mile of most trails, in bristlecone pine forests, in Wheeler Peak and Lexington day-use areas, or within 100 feet of a water source. Backcountry campers must camp in groups of 15 or less and are encouraged to use backpacking stoves; campfires are permitted below 10,000 feet elevation only, and you are not allowed to burn any wood from the bristlecone pine tree. Trash, including toilet paper, should be packed out, and human waste should be buried at least a half-foot deep and no less than 100 feet from water sources.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.