Special Use Permits

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, public health measures are in place including capacity limits, temporary closures, and modified operations. What's Open and Hours of Operation (updated daily) >

Update August 16, 2021:

  • New guidance is in place this week for COVID mitigations amid the nation-wide surge in cases.
    • Outdoor mask zones have been identified for all people regardless of vaccination status. These are the same zones that previously required mask-wearing for unvaccinated people due to the crowded nature of the area and the inability to effectively socially distance. The outdoor zones where masks are now required for all people regardless of vaccination status include:

      • All entrance stations

      • All bus stops

      • South Rim: Mather Point, Hopi Point, Grand Canyon Visitor Center Plaza and trails north to the rim, Desert View north of the parking lot, Rim Trail from Verkamps Visitor Center to the Bright Angel Trailhead.

      • North Rim: Bright Angel Point, Cape Royal, and Point Imperial (including access trails), trails and viewpoints around the North Rim Lodge and North Rim Visitor Center, North Kaibab trailhead and parking lot.

New NPS guidance requires masking in these areas regardless of community transmission levels because transmission levels are high across the country and we have people coming here from many locations.

As a reminder, masks are required in all NPS buildings and on all forms of enclosed public transportation, regardless of location, vaccination status, or level of community transmission. Additionally, masks must be worn in outdoors spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails and overlooks

 
Grand Canyon National Park is home to many beautiful landscapes which make it a popular place for weddings and special events. Most special events and activities held in the park require a special use permit, issued only after the National Park Service (NPS) determines that the activity will not cause derogation of the park's resources or values, visitor experiences, or the purpose for which the park was established. Please email Commercial Services at grca_permits_mail@nps.gov if you would like to review the specific conditions for your requested event prior to submitting your application.

Note:

  • Special Use Permits only allow the use of the permitted area. The permit does not provide for, or include, any services or ammenities.
 

Grand Canyon National Park has permanently suspended permitting the scattering of human cremains (ashes) within the park. The park’s Special Use Permit (SUP) program is no longer issuing permits for ash scattering at Grand Canyon. This decision was made after extensive interdisciplinary review and formal comment from our 11 traditionally associated tribes.

Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, Little Colorado River, and their surrounding areas are significant sacred sites rooted in the traditional history and cultural identity of Grand Canyon’s associated tribes. Based on associations with the cultural practices, traditions, beliefs, lifeways, and social institutions of traditional native communities, these areas combined are a Traditional Cultural Property eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic places pursuant to 36 CFR 60.4.

The practice of scattering ashes at Grand Canyon is considered disrespectful to many indigenous people and traditional communities. As such, the permitting of the activity could constitute an adverse impact to the Traditional Cultural Property at Grand Canyon and is incompatible with the park’s goal of recognizing indigenous beliefs.

Under 36 C.F.R. § 2.62(b), the scattering of ashes is prohibited at Grand Canyon National Park. This activity is inconsistent and interferes with the NPS’s efforts to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. § 470 et seq., and the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act, 25 U.S.C. § 3001 et seq.

Non-refundable application fees for 2021 permits are as follows:

Shoshone Point: $500

Shrine of the Ages: $275

Wedding (non-Shoshone Point locations): $240

Special Event: $425

Rim to Rim: $250


Do not submit any payment information with your application. Payment instructions will be emailed after application is received.
Please note that the application fee for special use permits is charged to recover costs of the permit approval process and is non-refundable (per 54 U.S.C. 103104, OMB Circular A-25, and NPS Reference Manual 53 Chapter 10). These fees include costs associated with permit processing and program administration.

Already know which type of SUP you need? Skip to the Application Form

 

Special Events

A special use permit is required for activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large. These activities require some degree of management from the National Park Service if there is the potential for interference with visitor use, congestion of a highly visited area, or possible impact on park resources. Special Use Permits are required for organized group activities and special events at Tuweep. Requests for such activities are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Contact our office for more information. Application Form -- Fees

At this time, the Ceremony Sites Calendar is not available. To check if your desired location and date is available, please email us at: GRCA_Permits_Mail@nps.gov

 

Organized Group Rim-to-Rim and Extended Day Hike/Run:
Any organized, non-commecial group of 12-30 participants, or not-for-profit group conducting rim-to-rim, rim-to-rim-to-rim, rim-to-river-to-rim, and/or extended day hikes in the inner canyon must obtain a Special Use Permit. The inner canyon is defined as the area below the Tonto Platform from the South Rim and below Manzanita Resthouse from the North Rim. Groups may not break into smaller groups on different permits to accomodate group size. Commercial operations are not authorized under this SUP.

Groups who must obtain a permit:

  • Organized Non-Commercial Groups - defined as any group traveling together, such as scouts, a club, a church, a meet up group, or a family/friend group that has created its own itinerary. Group size is between 12-30 people. 11 people or less do not require a permit.
  • Not-for-Profit Groups - defined as a group that may meet the criteria for a non-commercial group if the organization derives no taxable income from providing leisure/recreational services. Groups must prove 501(c)(3) status. Group size is between 12-30 people. 11 people or less do not require a permit.
  • Fundraiser Groups - defined as any group seeking or raising financial support for a charity, institution, or other enterprise. Group size is limited to 30 people. A permit is required for all Fundraiser Groups, regardless of group size.

What will be required with the SUP?"

  • An application fee of $250
  • It is recommended the group provides a certificate of insurance for general liability in the amount of $300,000 with the United States Government listed as additionally insured.
  • Group size is limited to 30 individuals, including all organizers and trip leaders.
  • The permittee and its organization (club, non-profit, group, etc.) is allowed to obtain one permit per day.
  • All groups will maintain a ratio of no less than 1 trip leader with certification in Basic First Aid and CPR for 1-7 participants or 2 trip leaders with certification in Basic First Aid and CPR for groups up to 15 participants, and 3 trip leaders with certification in Basic First Aid and CPR for groups up to 30 participants. Proof of certification is required with application.
  • All non-profits applying to operate under an SUP must provide proof that the Internal Revenue Service currently recognizes the applicant as an organization to which contributions are tax deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Any individual who has been compensated, including subsidized participation, must prove 501(c)(3) status.
  • Non-profits are prohibited from making taxable income under an SUP.

Additional conditions and further details of these requirements will be outlined in the SUP.

The NPS is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Backcountry Management Plan. Organized, non-commercial, rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running are among topics that will be addressed in the plan. The park expects to release a draft plan this fall for public review and comment. SUPs will be issued for rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running to protect park resources and public interest until the plan is completed. Application Form ___ Fees

 

Weddings

Grand Canyon National Park's inspiring viewpoints and natural settings are ideally suited for small, simple and quiet weddings. All ceremonies, regardless of size, require an approved Special Use Permit issued by the National Park Service. Weddings may be scheduled up to 1 year in advance. We do not allow many things traditional weddings usually request: chairs, tables, flowers, amplified sound, balloons, signs, etc. at any location. Special Use Permits only allow the use of the permitted area. The permit does not provide for, or include, any services or ammenities

Please review the Wedding Information Brochure below for a list of ceremony sites in the park and indicate your first and second choice location on the application.

At this time, the Ceremony Sites Calendar is not available. To check if your desired location and date is available, please email us at: e-mail us. Please note that Cape Royal Amphitheater and Point Imperial Viewpoint on the North Rim are only available May 15 to October 15 due to road closures and lack of facilities during the winter months.

Instructions for how to pay the nonrefundable application fee will be emailed to you after we confirm receipt of application. By law, we must recover costs associated with managing these permits and sites through these fees.
Application form
Fees
Wedding Information Brochure (172 kb PDF File)

For information on lodging, catering or reception availability please contact hotels and facilities directly. You can find information about lodging in the area at: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/lodging.htm

 

Shoshone Point

Beginning on January 1, 2022, Shoshone Point can only be reserved for a maximum 6-hour block of time between dawn and dusk.

The National Park Service offers a site on the South Rim of Grand Canyon for reservation by groups wishing to host a wedding, celebrate a birthday, conduct a memorial service, hold a family reunion, or any similar non-commercial event. The season is May 15 - October 15. No more than 5 vehicles may park out at Shoshone at any one time. Commercially marked vehicles are not allowed. Vehicles over 22 feet are not allowed.

An unimproved dirt road leads to this isolated area with spectacular views of Grand Canyon. The site features a covered pavilion, picnic tables, grills, trash cans and a vault toilet. There is no water or electricity at the site.

Shoshone Point is the place for people who can be flexible with their planning and can deal with unpredictable Grand Canyon weather.

At this time, the Ceremony Sites Calendar is not available. To check if your desired location and date is available, please email us at: e-mail us

Shoshone Point Information Brochure (163 kb PDF file) Application form -- Fees

 

Shrine of Ages

Located just west of Park Headquarters, the Shrine of the Ages is an National Park Service facility that is used for a variety of events. The Shrine features an auditorium with seating for 250 and a smaller, multipurpose room which seats up to 60 people. Alcohol is not permitted within the building, while food is only allowed in the smaller room.

If you are interested in reserving the Shrine, please contact Commercial Services at 928-638-7707 to check on availability prior to submitting an application. Application form -- Fees

At this time, the Ceremony Sites Calendar is not available. To check if your desired location and date is available, please email us at: e-mail us

 

First Amendment Activities

Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are constitutional rights. However, the courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect park resources. The necessity of a permit to conduct First Amendment activities is determined by the group size.

A small group is defined as “25 people or less.” A “small group” is not required to obtain a First Amendment Permit if they are located within a park designated First Amendment site and have no more than leaflets, booklets and/or hand held signs. A permit is required for any small group that:

  • wants to hold a demonstration or distribute and/or sell printed matter outside a designated First Amendment area.
  • wants to use equipment (i.e. tables, banners, platforms, etc.) even if it is within a designated area.
  • is merely an extension of another group already availing itself of the 25 person maximum.
  • wants to guarantee they will have priority for the use of a location, including the designated First Amendment areas.

A large group is defined as “more than 25 people” and is required to obtain a First Amendment Permit even if they are utilizing a park designated First Amendment site.

Some examples of special events that fall under First Amendment Rules:

  • distribution and/or sale of printed matter
  • religious services
  • public demonstrations or assemblies, etc.

There are no permit fees associated with First Amendment permits. Application form

At this time, the Ceremony Sites Calendar is not available. To check if your desired location and date is available, please email us at: e-mail us

Please contact Commercial Services at 928-638-7707 for more information about Designated First Amendment sites or the application process.

 

The Application Process

Special Use Permit Application (67kb PDF file)

Please email your application to grca_permits_mail@nps.gov or send completed and signed application to:

Grand Canyon National Park
Commercial Services Division
3 Camper Services
PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023


Email is the preferred method of submitting applications. After favorable review of your application, a Special Use Permit will be prepared and e-mailed to you for your signature. Upon receipt, you will need to review, sign and return the permit to our office for final approval. After the permit is approved we will email you an authorized copy. The approved permit must be in your possession at the time of your wedding or event.

We require a minimum of 4 weeks to fully process a basic permit request. Do not wait until the last minute to apply for your permit. No requests are expedited; no exceptions. Complex special events may require more than 4 weeks to process.


 
Frustrated person sitting in front of their computer screen.
PDF Form Display or Printing Issues?
Using a web browser to view and print our PDF forms and publications? You may experience issues where the PDF does not display or print correctly. Some web browsers do not automatically open PDFs using the Acrobat Reader application.

Things to try (1) Select the Acrobat Reader plug-in for your browser's default application for viewing/ printing PDFs. or (2) You can right click and save the PDF document to your desktop and then open it with the Adobe Reader application, and print from there. Get the newest version of free Adobe Reader.

 

Special Use Permit Fees

Permit Fees non-refundable and are based on an annual cost recovery analysis conducted by Commercial Services. These fees include the cost of permit processing, administration and the basic monitoring of events. Larger events or other special uses that require additional management and/or administrative time will incur additional fees at $65.00 per hour.

Do not include payment information on your application submission. Our office will email you detailed online payment instructions after we confirm receipt of your application.

 

Permit Type

2020

Special Event

$425

Wedding Permit (non-Shoshone Point)

$240

Extended Day Hiking (R2R)

$250

Shoshone Point

$500

Shrine of the Ages

$275

 

Additional Information

For more information about Special Use Permits; contact Commercial Services via e-mail or phone at 928-638-7707 anytime and leave a detailed message with your specific question(s).

 

Last updated: November 24, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon , AZ 86023

Phone:

928-638-7888

Contact Us

Stay Connected