Available Noncommercial River Launch Dates

Commercial River Trips are professionally guided river trips, available to the public, and often reserved a year or two in advance (more info).

The information on this page is for Noncommercial River Trips (self-guided river trips for individuals who have previously acquired the river skills to coordinate and safely lead their own trips through technical, world-class rapids; more info).


Main Lottery

The Main Lottery is held only once a year, in February, to assign launch dates for river trips occurring the following year.


Follow-up Lotteries

Follow-up lotteries are held as needed throughout the year to reassign cancelled and/or left-over river launch dates. Lottery statistics are posted at https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/noncommercial-riv-docs.htm

There are three ways to know a lottery has opened.



Are my chances at risk? If you are NOT committed to accepting one of these launches, PLEASE DO NOT APPLY. Applicants and Potential Alternate Trip Leaders (PATLs) listed on winning lottery applications lose all their chances whether or not they end up going on the trip. Your chances are not affected if you do not apply or if you apply and do not win.

Why should I list Potential Alternate Trip Leaders (PATLs)? This is important because PATLs cannot be listed later, even if you win. Having at least one confirmed PATL on your application is the only way you can protect your trip and your participants against the chance that something might come up in your life that ends up preventing you from going on your trip. If you do not list a PATL on your lottery application, win a trip but then can't go, your trip will have to be cancelled and all fees will be forfeited. We strongly encourage all who choose to apply to list at least one PATL on their lottery application.

Who Is eligible to apply? Individuals are eligible to apply in a noncommercial river lottery as long as they are at least 18 years old by the launch date and not already members of other noncommercial or commercial trips launching in the same calendar year as the desired launch date. No person may be listed on more than one application within any individual lottery. In the lottery system, only one noncommercial river account per person is allowed. A LOTTERY WINNER HAVING MORE THAN ONE ACCOUNT MAY HAVE THEIR WINNING TRIP REVOKED. If you have two profiles (accounts) in the system this issue must be resolved prior to a lottery. Please contact the River Permits Office, include the legal name and email of the profile you want deleted, and ask us to delete the account. Lottery applications are accepted through the noncommercial river permit website only when lotteries are open.

When will the lottery drawings occur? The lottery drawings will take place soon after the lottery closes, and email notifications will be sent once the lottery has been run. Applicants who do not receive an email notification should log back in and view the status of their request. Statistics are usually posted by the end of the following day.

How do I access the noncommercial river permit website? The website is located at https://grcariverpermits.nps.gov and can be accessed for free year-round to create or modify an account and to sign-up to receive email notifications.

Useful Links:

Need more help? If you need help submitting an application online or navigating the website, contact the River Permits Office. We are happy to help. The River Permits Office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

River Permits Office Contact Information:
Phone: 928-638-7843 or 800-959-9164 (Mon-Fri)
Fax: 928-638-7844
Email the River Permits Office

Mailing Address:
National Park Service
Grand Canyon River Permits Office
1824 S Thompson St, Suite 201
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Notifications about Lotteries: Each February a main lottery is held to assign launch dates for noncommercial river trips occurring the next year. Public notifications regarding main lotteries are made both by email and by press release. In addition to the annual main lottery, follow-up lotteries are held as needed throughout the remainder of the year to reassign cancelled and/or left-over river trips. Public notifications for these follow-up lotteries are made through email, via an RSS feed, and on the noncommercial river permit website homepage.


Additional river info can be found at the following webpages.

Last updated: November 28, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023



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