Ultimate Guide to Obtaining a Grand Canyon Hiking Permit (2024 Update)

Embarking on a hiking adventure in the Grand Canyon is a dream for many outdoor enthusiasts. However, navigating the permit process can be a daunting task. This guide simplifies the process, ensuring your focus remains on the excitement of the hike, not the hassle of obtaining a permit.

Permit Cost$10 per permit, additional per person/night fees
Application ProcessChoose trail and dates, fill out and submit the application
Best Time to ApplyFour months in advance
Trail OptionsCorridor, Threshold, Primitive
Group SizeLimited based on trail type

Understanding the Grand Canyon Hiking Permit

Why You Need a Permit:
To preserve the natural beauty and ensure the safety of its visitors, the Grand Canyon National Park requires a backcountry permit for overnight hiking and camping below the rim. This permit is your ticket to exploring the vast wilderness and experiencing the canyon’s breathtaking beauty.

Types of Trails and Permit Requirements

Exploring Trail Options:
The Grand Canyon offers a variety of trails, each with unique characteristics:

  • Corridor Trails: These include popular paths like the Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail. They are well-maintained and perfect for beginners.
  • Threshold Trails: Trails like the Clear Creek Trail offer a more rugged experience. They are less maintained and receive moderate traffic.
  • Primitive Trails: For the experienced hiker, these trails, such as the Nankoweap Trail, provide a challenging and remote experience.

The Permit Application Process

How to Apply:
Securing a permit involves a few key steps:

  1. Choose Your Trail and Dates: Decide on your preferred trail and camping dates.
  2. Fill Out the Application: Complete the permit application form with your trip details.
  3. Submit Your Application: Send your application to the Backcountry Information Center via mail, fax, or in person.

Costs and Group Size Limitations

Budgeting for Your Trip:
A standard permit costs $10, plus additional fees per person per night. Remember, group sizes are limited to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all hikers.

Lottery System and Waitlist Procedure

Navigating the Lottery:
Due to high demand, permits for popular trails are often allocated through a lottery system. If you’re not selected, don’t lose hope! You can join a waitlist for last-minute openings.

Planning Your Hike: Tips and Considerations

Preparing for the Journey:

  • Timing is Key: The best times to hike vary depending on the trail and weather conditions.
  • Safety First: Always prepare for changing weather and carry sufficient water and supplies.

Leave No Trace Principles

Respecting the Canyon:
Adhering to Leave No Trace principles is crucial. This means packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, and minimizing your impact on the environment.


Securing a Grand Canyon hiking permit might seem complex, but with the right information and preparation, it’s a manageable part of your adventure planning. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Happy hiking!

People Also Ask

When is the best time to apply for a permit?

Apply four months in advance of your planned start date for the best chance of securing a permit.

Can I change my itinerary after receiving a permit?

Changes are subject to availability and must be approved by the Backcountry Information Center.

What if I don’t get a permit?

Consider day hikes or apply for a walk-up permit at the Backcountry Information Center.

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