Access to Fort Lewis for Hunting and other Outdoor Activities

FORT LEWIS, WA — With summer underway and hunting season approaching, Fort Lewis would like to remind residents of our neighboring communities that Fort Lewis is a closed installation. Accessing Fort Lewis‚Äô wilderness training areas without authorization is trespassing, and is punishable under federal law.

However, Fort Lewis makes every effort to ensure the public has access to Fort Lewis property whenever restrictions are not needed to ensure public safety, installation security, or to allow military training.

Members of the public can request permission to access many of Fort Lewis’ training areas for hunting and other approved recreational activities. Permits for hunting, hiking, horseback riding, and other activities are available upon request, provided the requestor complies with installation access requirements for the type of permit they are issued (military ID card holders will also need a permit to access wilderness training areas, but application procedures may vary slightly from those for members of the general public).

Installation access requirements exist to ensure the security of those who live and work on our installation, as well as those who come to appreciate the natural beauty our wilderness training areas offer.

The public’s continued cooperation in this matter allows Fort Lewis to provide continued access to this natural resource by residents of our installation and of the surrounding communities.

For Hunters (Hunter and Firearms Registration):

  • Before hunting on Fort Lewis, prospective hunters must register at the installation‚Äôs Northwest Adventure Center.
  • To register, visitors should first apply for a visitor‚Äôs pass at the Fort Lewis Visitor‚Äôs Center (located off I-5 at exit 120), then proceed to the NAC on North Fort Lewis.
  • A valid driver‚Äôs license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance must be presented to receive a visitor‚Äôs pass, and also to register the vehicle for use while hunting on post.
  • Information required to register a firearm for use on post includes the make, model, serial number, barrel length, total length, and any additional information that could help identify the weapon. (Do not bring a firearm onto the installation before it is registered. Once registered, firearms must be secured in accordance with installation security procedures to be transported in vehicles).
  • Hunters must also present a valid hunting license. Washington state hunting licenses are available for purchase at the NAC with a valid ID, and proof of completion of an approved hunter‚Äôs safety course. Hunters must watch a 10-minute video at the NAC to be issued an Installation Hunter‚Äôs Registration Card, which completes the registration process.
  • Fort Lewis accepts a limited number of reservations per day during archery and firearm seasons for several types of big game and waterfowl. Each reservation is for a specific training area- areas are opened to hunting as breaks in military training allow.
  • Once registered, hunters can apply for reservations up to one day in advance by phone or in person, beginning at 8 a.m. each day.

More information about hunting seasons and licensing is available from the Washington Dept. of Fish and Game, at

For more information about hunting on Fort Lewis, contact the NAC at (253)967-6263

Other Recreational Activities (Installation Area Access Pass):

  • Many Fort Lewis‚Äôs wilderness training areas are available for outdoor activities, such walking, hiking, boating, and horseback riding, when not in use for military training.
  • Individuals who are interested in participating in recreational activities on Fort Lewis property should apply for an Installation Area Access Pass.
  • Passes are issued free of charge, and are valid for one year.
  • To obtain an Installation Area Access Pass, visitors should first apply for a Visitor‚Äôs Pass at the Fort Lewis Visitor‚Äôs Center (located off I-5 at exit 120).
  • A valid driver‚Äôs license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance must be presented to receive a visitor‚Äôs pass. Passengers age 16 and older must also present a photo ID at the gate.
  • Once on post, visitors can proceed to the Fort Lewis Range Control office to apply for the Installation Area Access Pass.
  • Pass holders are authorized to participate in approved recreational activities on Fort Lewis training areas, provided each visit is coordinated with the Fort Lewis Range Control office to ensure the activity does not interfere with scheduled military activities.
  • Range Control can authorize visits for pass holders over the phone, up to 24 hours before the planned visit.
  • Certain training areas are not opened to the public, and certain outdoor activities are not authorized.
  • Prohibited activities include driving off-road vehicles, illegal dumping, discharging weapons of any kind, consumption of alcohol in areas other than approved camp sites, and any activity that damages wildlife, vegetation, fencing, or military property and equipment.

For more information, contact the Fort Lewis Range Control Area Access Office, at (253)967-6277.


  1. Jason says

    I was stationed at Fort Lewis for a period of time while I was in the Army. It is a great place to hunt!
    I didnt know that civilians were allowed to use it though, so thanks for enlightening me!
    I love your blog! Too bad I didnt know about it while I was stationed there! I would have gotten so much valuable information about the area from here!

  2. says

    Great information and I appreciate you clearly outline the do’s and don’ts! I love archery bow hunting and want my children to enjoy the pleasure I have had in the sport!

  3. David says

    I am currently deployed and new at Fort Lewis. I would love to get some hunting in when I get home this fall. Any tips?