Backcountry Permit

If you wish to camp anywhere in the park, other than in developed campgrounds on the North Rim or the South Rim, you must obtain a permit from the Backcountry Information Center.

Grand Canyon Backcountry Information Center

A backcountry permit is required for:

  • overnight camping outside of Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, and North Rim Campground
  • overnight camping in all sites at Tuweep Campground
  • overnight camping anywhere on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park between Oct 16 - May 14 (includes ski-camping)
  • off-river camping by river trip participants
  • overnight camping with private stock outside of Mather Campground (May 15 – Oct 15) overnight camping with private stock outside of the North Rim Campground June 9 – Oct 15, 2023.
  • packrafting, other than that which occurs under a river permit

A backcountry permit is NOT required for:

  • day hikes (this includes nighttime "day" hikes)
  • day stock rides
  • overnight camping at Mather Campground and Desert View Campground (campground reservations for Mather Campground at
  • overnight camping at North Rim Campground between June 9 – Oct 15, 2023. (campground reservations at
  • overnight camping with private stock at Mather Campground (May 15 – Oct 15) or the North Rim Campground June 9 – Oct 15, 2023.
  • overnight stays at the dormitories or cabins at Phantom Ranch (advanced reservations with Grand Canyon National Park Lodges required)
Grand Canyon Backcountry Information Center
Visitor obtaining a permit at the Grand Canyon Backcountry Information Center

Backcountry travelers must have their permit in their possession while in the backcountry. Once a camp is established, the permit must be attached to a pack, tent, or other equipment in plain view so it can be easily checked by rangers.

Permits are valid only for the trip leader, itinerary, number of people, and dates specified on the permit. Permits for all overnight backcountry use must be obtained through the Backcountry Information Center at Grand Canyon National Park.

Reservations for overnight tent or RV camping in developed use areas on the canyon rims (Mather, Desert View, North Rim) are not obtained through the Backcountry Information Center. The Backcountry Information Center does not make reservations for river trips, mule trips, Phantom Ranch lodging, or trips into the canyon on the Havasupai Reservation.

To obtain additional information on how to enter the Phantom Ranch lodging lottery, or to check general availability, please contact Xanterra Parks and Resorts at 303-297-2757 or 888-297-2757 ( For hikes into Havasu Canyon contact Havasupai Tourism Enterprise at (928) 448-2180 or (928) 448-2237 or (928) 448-2141 or (928) 448-2121

Hike Smart at Grand Canyon

For a safe and enjoyable hike prepare before you arrive.


Rules and Regulations

Visit the Backcountry Rules and Regulations webpage to review the regulations you are expected to follow if issued a Grand Canyon backcountry permit.

Grand Canyon National Park has moved its overnight backcountry reservation system to for all calendar year 2024 and later backcountry permits. For Grand Canyon backcountry permits and FAQs visit

Permit Cost

Permit holders will be responsible for paying park entrance fees upon arrival.

April 2024 and later: $10 per permit or lottery application plus a nightly charge of $15 per person for all below rim areas and $4 per person for all above rim areas. The lottery/basic permit charge is non-refundable. The per person or stock animal nightly charge is refundable until 30 days before permit start date.

South Bass Trail and Pasture Wash Trail visitors may be charged an additional fee by the tribe for crossing the Havasupai Indian Reservation.

When to Apply

Backcountry reservations are initially offered via an early access lottery on Applicants can apply for the early access lottery online over a two-week period that ends on the 1st of the month and matches the current deadline (e.g., Jan 1 for all May start dates; Feb 1 for all June start dates; March 1 for all July start dates, etc.). Through this lottery, up to 750 applicants will be awarded a date and time when they will be eligible to log in to their account, check availability, and have an opportunity to reserve an itinerary and pay for their reservation. On the 1st of the subsequent month (e.g., Feb 1 for May start dates) everyone will have immediate access to check availability and reserve any remaining camp space.

Grand Canyon Backcountry Monthly Lotteries in 2024

Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Early Access Lottery - Opens for Applications Nov 16 Dec 16 Jan 16 Feb 16 Mar 16 Apr 16 May 16
Early Access Lottery - Closes at 5pm MST Dec 01 Jan 01 Feb 01 Mar 01 Apr 01 May 01 Jun 01
Early Access Lottery - Applicants notified of Results Dec 02 Jan 02 Feb 02 Mar 02 Apr 02 May 02 Jun 02
Early Access Lottery - Awarded Time Slots Begin Dec 04 Jan 04 Feb 05 Mar 04 Apr 04 May 06 Jun 04
Early Access Lottery - Awarded Time Slots End Dec 28 a Jan 30 a Feb 16 Mar 15 Apr 17 May 17 Jun 17
Early Access Lottery - Final Timeslot / All Lottery Applicant Access Begins Dec 29 b Jan 31 b Feb 21 Mar 20 Apr 22 May 22 Jun 20
After-Lottery - Reservations Open to Public Jan 01 Feb 01 Mar 01 Apr 01 May 01 Jun 01 Jul 01

a – A workaround is in place for the April and May 2024 lotteries while modifies the reservation system so winner eligibility to apply does not end mid-month when the Awarded Time Slots end. Grand Canyon’s intention is for winners to not be rushed and to have the whole month to apply. The workaround entails having the lottery continue to award timeslots through to the second to last weekday of the month.

b – While Grand Canyon’s intention was for the Final Timeslot to last for 8 or more days at the end of the month, under the current reservation system the Final Timeslot lasts only 1 day. This is not enough time for Backcountry Information Center Rangers to assist all the experienced Grand Canyon hikers who will be in the Final Timeslot. The workaround is to continue awarding timeslots through to the 2nd to last weekday of the month so more experienced hikers can be assisted and fewer will need Backcountry Information Center Ranger assistance on the last weekday.

How to Apply in the Lottery

To create a lottery application, go to Find the "Early Access Lottery" section, and (if a lottery is currently open) select the "Register for Open Lottery" button. You will login to your account. You will need to check a box that says you understand the regulations. Next you click on "Proceed to Cart" to enter your credit card information and pay.

The deadline for early access lottery applications matches the application deadlines. Lottery applications can be submitted through over a 2-week period that begins on the 16th of the month and ends at 5pm MST on the first of the month, 4-months prior to the desired start month:

For Permit Start Dates in Lottery Opens Lottery Closes at 5pm MST
May 2024 December 16 January 1
June 2024 January 16 February 1
July 2024 February 16 March 1
August 2024 March 16 April 1
September 2024 April 16 May 1
October 2024 May 16 June 1
November 2024 June 16 July 1
December 2024 July 16 August 1
January 2025 August 16 September 1
February 2025 September 16 October 1
March 2025 October 16 November 1
April 2025 November 16 December 1

How to Apply for a Permit

Lottery Winners during Timeslot

Lottery winners can view availability and create a reservation for the lottery month by starting at, find the "Early Access Period" section, then select the "View Early Access Availability" button. Early access timeslots expire at the end of the month. Availability for all other months is accessed through "Check Availability" (in the "Available Permits" section). See additional instructions at:

Applying within 3 Months

Go to, find the "Available Permits" section, and select the "Check Availability" button. If space is available, create a reservation for start dates within 3 months of the present. See additional instructions at:


Last-Minute Permit for Corridor Campgrounds

A small, limited number of last-minute permits are available exclusively for visitors at Grand Canyon National Park who wish to camp at Havasupai Gardens* or Cottonwood Campgrounds. These permits are issued in person only, are for one night only, and cannot be purchased more than one day prior to the start of a hike. Last minute permits are held back to facilitate an overnight backcountry experience and are not intended for a rim-to-rim multi-night trip. During the trans-canyon waterline replacement project, availability of last-minute permits may be extremely limited at times.

IMPORTANT. Hikers obtaining a permit on the North Rim will have priority access to Cottonwood Campground and will likely not be able to obtain a last-minute permit for Havasupai Gardens* Campground. Hikers obtaining a permit on the South Rim will have priority access to Havasupai Gardens* Campground and will likely not be able to obtain a last-minute permit for Cottonwood Campground. No last-minute space is held for Bright Angel Campground.

Last-minute permits are issued by the Backcountry Information Center, located inside the park on both the South Rim and the North Rim. The South Rim Backcountry Information Center is open daily, year-round, while the North Rim Backcountry Information Center (located in the National Park Service administrative building) is open daily, May 15th to October 31st. Both offices are open on holidays and keep the same daily hours, from 8 am to noon and 1-5 pm Mountain Standard Time.

*Havasupai Gardens is the NPS Campground formerly known as Indian Garden, accessed from Grand Canyon Village via the Bright Angel Trail.


You can stop by the Backcountry Information Center at any time during open hours and request a waitlist number. This number is valid for the following morning and will be used to determine priority of service. At 8:00 a.m. Backcountry Information Center staff will call waitlist numbers. When your turn comes you can request a permit, exchange your number for a new waitlist number good for the following day, or simply ask questions. You may participate in the waitlist for as many consecutive days as is convenient.

Following is an example showing how the waitlist can be used to secure a lower number for the next day and increase your chances of obtaining your desired permit. This is an example of how the process works in the busy season. Backcountry Information Center staff can give you a much clearer picture of how long the potential wait time will be once you arrive. During the busy season it is rare to get a last-minute permit the same day.

Last-minute permit and waitlist example for South Rim. The same process is applicable to those waiting on the North Rim. The only difference would be the campgrounds and maybe one day shorter wait on the North Rim.

  • Day 1, Tuesday: You come to the Backcountry Information Center at 11 a.m. and request a permit for Havasupai Gardens* on Wednesday night. No permits are available. You join the waitlist for the next day and are assigned #10.
  • Day 2, Wednesday: You return at 7:59 a.m. Unfortunately, by the time Backcountry Information Center staff reaches your waitlist number, all Corridor Campground permits have been assigned. You exchange today's waitlist number for tomorrow's waitlist number; you are #2.
  • Day 3, Thursday: You return at 7:59 a.m. You obtain a permit for Havasupai Gardens* on Friday night, hiking out Saturday morning.

*Havasupai Gardens is the NPS Campground formerly known as Indian Garden, accessed from Grand Canyon Village via the Bright Angel Trail.

Use Areas

The backcountry is divided into "use areas". Each use area has an overnight capacity based upon the size of the area, the number of suitable and available campsites, its ecological sensitivity, its management zoning, and its use history. Use areas range in size from several hundred acres to several thousand acres.

Length of Stay

Camping in designated campsites or campgrounds is limited to two nights (consecutive or non-consecutive) per campsite or campground per hike. Designated campsites include the Corridor (Havasupai Gardens*, Bright Angel, Cottonwood), Hermit, Hermit Rapids, Monument, Granite Rapids, Cedar Spring, Salt, Horn, Horseshoe Mesa, South Bass Trailhead areas (SE1, SE2, SE3), Cape Final, Point Sublime, Swamp Point, Fire Point, Tapeats, and Deer Creek Use Areas. One exception is made to this rule, during the off-season (November 15 through February 28), and within the Corridor Use Area only, overnight stays up to a total of four nights per campground per trip are allowed.

*Havasupai Gardens is the NPS Campground formerly known as Indian Garden, accessed from Grand Canyon Village via the Bright Angel Trail.

Outside the use areas named above, "at-large" camping is permitted, meaning that camps are not limited to designated sites.

Trips are limited to a maximum of seven nights per use area; however, overall trip lengths are not limited.

Group Size

More permits are available for small groups (1-6 people) than for large groups (7-11 people). Because there are only a few large group sites, limiting the size of your group will increase your chances of obtaining a permit.

Larger groups tend to cause a disproportionately higher amount of damage to the canyon, largely due to the effects of "social" trailing. For this reason, the park's Backcountry Management Plan does not allow groups larger than eleven people to camp in the same campground or use area.

Regulations stipulate that all permits are void when a group obtains multiple permits for the same campground or use area for the same night. The alternative for these larger groups is to obtain permits for smaller groups and ensure the itineraries for these permits never bring more than one of the permits into the same campground or use area on the same night. No more than four large groups or eight small groups that are affiliated with each other may camp within the backcountry on the same night.

Commercial Use

In addition to following all normal backcountry permit requirements, commercial organizations must obtain a Commercial Use Authorization. Contact the park's Concession Management Office at (928) 638-7707 for further information or visit

North Rim Winter Use

Winter use guidelines come into effect after the North Rim receives adequate snowfall to close Highway 67 or on Dec 1st, whichever comes first. Once in effect, winter use guidelines apply until mid-May, when the North Rim reopens for the season.

During the winter season a backcountry permit is required for overnight use of the North Rim from the park's northern boundary to Bright Angel Point on the canyon rim. Winter access is by hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing only. A permit can be obtained in advance at the Backcountry Information Center.

Permittees are allowed to camp at-large between the park's north boundary and the North Kaibab trailhead but not at the trailhead itself. Between the North Kaibab trailhead and the Bright Angel Point area, camping is permitted only at the North Rim Campground group campsite.

Human waste may not be buried in the snow in areas that will be in view of summer users.

Remote Sites

With a valid credit card, last minute permits may sometimes be obtained from the rangers on duty at the Lees Ferry ranger station for a limited number of use areas in their vicinity. However, these rangers have other patrol responsibilities and may not be available to provide assistance. It is recommended that all trips be planned well in advance through the Backcountry Information Center.

Organized Group Rim-to-Rim and Extended Day Hike/Run

Any organized, non-commercial 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 (SUP). 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 accommodate group size. Commercial operations are not authorized under this SUP. For more information visit

Backcountry Use Statistics

Backcountry use statistics (from overnight backcountry permits). The statistics include:

  • yearly statistics
  • permittee breakdown by country and US state
  • use trends, corridor and non-corridor
  • use area details

Backcountry Information Center

The South Rim Backcountry Information Center is open daily from 8 am to noon and 1-5 pm Mountain Standard Time. The North Rim Backcountry Information Center is open daily mid-May to October 31 from 8 am to noon and 1-5 pm (Mountain Standard Time).

Backcountry Information Center staff answer information telephone inquiries at 928-638-7875 between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday, except on federal holidays.

Email the Backcountry Information Center.

Mailing address is:
Grand Canyon National Park
Permits Office
1824 S. Thompson St., Suite 201
Flagstaff AZ, 86001

Trip Planner (2mb PDF file): The information in this newspaper can assist you in obtaining a backcountry use permit.

Video: HIKE SMART: Your Essential Guide to Hiking in Grand Canyon video. Explore how to have a safe and unforgettable adventure here in Grand Canyon, including tips from our experts on preparedness, hydration, and hiking in the heat.

Video: Hiking Grand Canyon, Prepare for Backpacking. This video is designed to help you plan for and enjoy your hike into the canyon's harsh, yet fragile, environment.

Video: Leave No Trace. All Grand Canyon backcountry users are asked to follow Leave No Trace principles. The goal is to have minimum human impact on the canyon as a result of your trip.

Hike Smart: Be sure and listen to the Hike Smart Podcasts! (transcripts available)

The Grand Canyon Conservancy sells maps and guides on hiking in Grand Canyon National Park.


Last updated: April 23, 2024

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Grand Canyon, AZ 86023



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