Grand Canyon Backpacking Permits

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Grand Canyon Backcountry Permits

Learn about what it takes to secure the permits for a backpacking trip in Grand Canyon National Park.

Backpacking in the Grand Canyon is an extremely popular and sought-after activity, in fact so much so that thousands of people apply every month to do a trip, and many of them are not successful. You must have a permit to camp overnight inside the Canyon and even at many places on the rims. If you’re not in an official, designated campground and want to camp, you must have a permit for the exact area you’re in and days/nights you’d like to camp. In many areas camping is prohibited completely.

The permit system is based on first come-first serve time slots which are awarded through a random lottery. You can only submit one lottery entry per month, and per group, and the entries are processed through

To be successful with securing a permit for your backpacking trip, you’ll want to:

  1. Have a clear idea which itinerary you’d like to apply for
  2. Know exactly what your available dates are
  3. Submit a lottery entry for a time slot through
  4. If you’re awarded a time slot, secure your permit at that time through
  5. If at first you don’t succeed, try again
  6. Consider joining a guided Grand Canyon backpacking trip

All Inclusive Grand Canyon Backpacking Trips

When to Apply

Time slots for Grand Canyon backpacking permits become available on the 16th of the month 5 months in advance. Time slots are awarded by a random lottery system.

You can apply any time between the 16th of the month prior and the 1st of the month that they become available. That probably sounds very confusing! Don’t worry, we’ve included a table below to help clarify the dates and when to apply based on when you’d like to do your trip.

Use the following table to determine when to submit your lottery entries:

Desired Month Enter Lottery Awarded Time Slots
January Aug 16 – Sept 1 Sept 2
February Sept 16 – Oct 1 Oct 2
March Oct 16 – Nov 1 Nov 2
April Nov 16 – Dec 1 Dec 2
May Dec 16 – Jan 1 Jan 2
June Jan 16 – Feb 1 Feb 2
July Feb 16 – Mar 1 Mar 2
August Mar 16 – Apr 1 Apr 2
September Apr 16 – May 1 May 2
October May 16 – June 1 June 2
November June 16 – July 1 July 2
December July 16 – Aug 1 Aug 2


How to Apply

Go to and enter the lottery for a time slot. If you’re awarded a time slot, log back into during your designated time, and reserve your backcountry permit.

You can find a detailed list of camping areas and codes below.

Area Name Code Camping Type
Boucher BN9 At Large Camping
Bright Angel CBG Campground
Cedar Spring BL6 Designated Sites
Cheyava AJ9 At Large Camping
Clear Creek AK9 At Large Camping
Cottonwood CCG Campground
Cottonwood Creek BG9 At Large Camping
Cremation BJ9 At Large Camping
Eremita Mesa SC9 At Large Camping
Granite Rapids BL8 Designated Sites
Grapevine BH9 At Large Camping
Greenland Springs AL9 At Large Camping
Hance Creek BE9 At Large Camping
Hermit Creek BM7 Designated Sites
Hermit Rapids BM8 Designated Sites
Horn Creek BL4 Designated Sites
Horseshoe Mesa BF5 Designated Sites
Havasupai Garden CIG Campground
Ken Patrick NC9 At Large Camping
Monument Creek BL7 Designated Sites
Outlet NG9 At Large Camping
Phantom Creek AP9 At Large Camping
Point Sublime NH1 Designated Sites
Robbers Roost ND9 At Large Camping
Salt Creek BL5 Designated Sites
Scorpion Ridge AR9 At Large Camping
Swamp Ridge NJ0 At Large Camping
Thompson Canyon NB9 At Large Camping
Trinity Creek AQ9 At Large Camping
Vishnu AH9 At Large Camping
Walhalla Plateau NA0 At Large Camping
Widforss NF9 At Large Camping


Group Sizes

There are two group sizes for permits in Grand Canyon – small group and large group. Small Groups are 1-6 people; large groups are 7-11 people. Large group sites are much more competitive than the small group sites. We strongly recommend sticking with small group sites if possible to increase your odds of getting a permit.

Walk Up Permits

If you’re unsuccessful with the lottery system, a last-minute option is to try to get a walk-up permit. Grand Canyon reserves a small number of permits for Corridor campgrounds (camping outside the corridor is not reserved.) (Reminder that the Corridor includes Bright Angel Campground, Cottonwood Campground, and Havasupai Garden Campground.) You have to be at the Backcountry Information Center in person to attempt to secure these permits (they open at 8:00 AM). They are 1-2 nights and become available the day before the trip begins.

The final element with walk-up permits is their waitlist system. It’s very complicated, but suffice to say you can show up a couple days early, ask for a “number”, and you will be prioritized to maintain that spot in line each day afterward until the day before your desired trip begins. This is a time-consuming method that will not work for many people, but if you’re committed enough, it might just be worth trying.

Join a Guided Hiking Adventure

Grand Canyon National Park is home to some of the most unique and spectacular hiking vacations in the world. Wildland Trekking offers trips with stunning views, geologic history, and incredible hiking and backpacking for visitors who want to have an active, adventurous experience.

Guided Grand Canyon treks include permits, local transportation (excluded on certain tours), meals, gear, risk management systems and professional guides, allowing guests to make the most of their visit to the Canyon, focus 100% on enjoying their experience, and do it all with an increased level of safety and comfort.



  • GUIDED BACKPACKING ADVENTURES: these are for people interested in an authentic adventure deep in the Canyon’s wilderness.
  • HORSE-ASSISTED TRIP: on this trip to the bottom of the Canyon, guests hike with light day packs and camp near the Colorado River.
  • PHANTOM RANCH TOURS: this tour (limited dates) goes to the bottom of the Canyon where we sleep 1 or 2 nights in the Phantom Ranch Lodge 5 minutes from the Colorado River. Showers, A/C, heat…etc.
  • ALL-INCLUSIVE HIKING PACKAGES: inn-based and camping-based hiking packages provide all-around hiking experiences of the Grand Canyon.
  • DAY HIKE TOURS: maximize your day at Grand Canyon on a fully guided, award-winning hiking tour on one of the Park’s best trails.