In early 2006, after the completion of an extensive, multi-year public planning process, a weighted lottery system was selected for Grand Canyon National Park's noncommercial river permit system. The first weighted lottery was held in October 2006, and many follow-up lotteries have since taken place. Prior to the adoption of the weighted lottery system a waitlist was used to assign river launch dates.
The Annual Main Lottery
Each year in February a main lottery is held to assign launch dates for river trips occurring the next year. Follow-up lotteries are then held as needed throughout the remainder of the year to reassign cancelled and/or left-over river trips.
Lottery Eligibility Requirements
You must be at least 18 years old and not already a member of other noncommercial or commercial trips launching within the applied for year. No one may be listed on more than one application.
Applying through the weighted lottery costs $25, and those who are successful must immediately pay a nonrefundable deposit ($400 for standard size trips, $200 for small size trip). The deposit applies toward final permit fees. Final permit fees are currently $100 per person and are due 90 days before launch.
The $25 lottery application fee is charged once for each launch year for which a trip leader applies. After you have paid an application fee for a launch year, you can apply in all later lotteries for that launch year for no additional fee. The application fee is paid after a lottery application is submitted and can only be paid when a lottery is open.
Lottery application fee and river permit fees are nonrefundable.
Setting up a Profile and Registering to Receive Email Updates
You can access the weighted lottery website (https://npspermits.us/) for free year-round to setup a profile, modify an existing profile, or to sign up to receive email updates on upcoming releases of launch dates and river news. Even if you are presently not seeking a river trip but are interested in a future date, you are strongly encouraged to register.
How to Apply
When a noncommercial lottery is open, a list of available dates can be found on the Available Noncommercial River Launch Dates web page.
Lottery applications are accepted through the weighted lottery website (https://npspermits.us/) only when lotteries are open. During those times, you login and click on "Create Lottery Application" (this button is only visible when a lottery is accepting applications).
More information about applying and about other river and lottery related questions can be found at the River and Weighted Lottery FAQ page.