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The new system will provide applicants with greater control of their itinerary and campsite options. Applicants will no longer need to submit applications by fax and wait up to a month for the thousands of requests to be considered manually by park staff.
“Moving our backcountry permits to Recreation.gov has many important advantages for the public and our staff. We are pleased to be able to offer this improved system that will allow for improved visitor planning and experience.” said Park Superintendent Ed Keable.
Backcountry use areas available online will include above rim areas, popular campgrounds along the main inner canyon trails of the Bright Angel and North Kaibab, and for the fall, winter and spring months, all areas between the Hermit Trail and the Grandview Trail off the South Rim, and the Clear Creek trail accessed from the North Kaibab trail. Remaining use areas and dates will be requested by working directly with staff at the Backcountry Information Center.
Backcountry reservations will initially be offered via an early access lottery on Recreation.gov. Application timeframes will remain unchanged, and reservations may be requested up to four months in advance. For example, lottery applications for January 2024 will be accepted from August 16 through September 1, 2023, and lottery applicants will have the month of September to make their reservations. On October 1, the rest of the public will be able to review and make reservations for any remaining campsites.
Through each lottery, up to 750 applicants will be awarded a date and time when they will be eligible to log in to their Recreation.gov account, check availability, and have an opportunity to reserve an itinerary and pay for their reservation.
Grand Canyon's Backcountry Permit Charge in the Recreation.gov system will be: $10 per permit or lottery application plus a nightly charge of $12 per person for all below rim areas and $4 per person for all above rim areas.
Refunds of nightly charges will replace Grand Canyon’s Hiker Credit system. To be eligible for a refund, partial or full cancellations will need to be made via Recreation.gov before the backcountry permit is printed and at least 30 days before the permit start date. This 30-day deadline is intended to encourage cancellations to occur in time for others to claim and make use of the cancelled space.
Please visit the Backcountry Permit webpage at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.htm for further information on backcountry permits and the transition to Recreation.gov.
Last updated: July 14, 2023