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Grand Canyon Noncommercial River Permits - Permit Process

General Requirements

  • The Colorado River through Grand Canyon is a highly technical river, not something for the inexperienced to try. At least one member of each trip must have the experience and skills required by the National Park Service.
  • Noncommercial trips must be self-guided and may not hire guides.
  • All noncommercial trip expenses must be shared among all participants on a full cost sharing basis.
  • Once awarded through the weighted lottery, noncommercial trip launch dates may not be changed, deferred, or traded.
  • Trips may be passed to qualified Potential Alternate Trip Leaders (PATLs) who: were listed on the original lottery application, confirmed their co-applicant status online before the lottery drawing, and met all other NPS requirements.
  • The main applicant must be at least 18 years old. PATLs must be at least 18 years old by the launch date.
  • Applicable lottery and river permits costs must be paid. There is a launch year lottery application cost to apply in a weighted lottery, paid once per launch year. Successful applicants, those who win a launch date, then immediately pay a river trip deposit. This deposit is applied towards river permit costs. Final river permit costs are due 90 days before launch. Lottery and river permit payments are nonrefundable. (detailed cost information can be found on the FAQ page at How much are permit costs?)
  • All individuals are prohibited from participating on more than one (1) recreational river trip (commercial or non-commercial) per year through any part of the Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek section of the Colorado River.

Detailed steps of the noncommercial river trip permitting process

Colorado River rafting permits are distributed via a weighted lottery. The 2006 Colorado River Management Plan can be found at Below is an overview of the noncommercial river permitting process.

Step 1: Create a profile. Each person listed on a lottery application (the trip leader and all Potential Alternate Trip Leaders (PATLs)) must have a user account (profile) in this system. Creating an account takes just a few minutes and is free: select the "Create New User Profile" button on the login page and follow the instructions. Once you have a profile, you can login at any time and visit your personal profile page. This page shows your contact information and all past and present lottery applications. (New user profiles cannot be created when the river permit system is closed for maintenance.)

Step 2: Login and create your lottery application. When a lottery is open and accepting applications, a "Create Lottery Application" button will appear on your profile page. To create an application, select this button and follow the instructions. Important, in order to list a PATL on your lottery application, the PATL must have an existing profile in this system before you list them on your lottery application. As you add PATLs to your application, you will see a running total of the points that your application will have based on the persons listed as trip leader or PATLs. (See also "Tell me more about how points work".) You can be listed on only one lottery application within a lottery. You can be either a trip leader or a Potential Alternate Trip Leader (PATL). Once you have been listed on one lottery application, you cannot be on any other application within that same lottery.

Step 3: Submit your completed application. You will be able to monitor your application status and verify that it is complete through this website. You may login and make changes to your application (e.g., changing your preferred trip dates, adding/deleting PATls, canceling your application) at any time prior to the designated lottery close date and time. All PATLs listed on your application must login to this system and accept their PATL status before the lottery drawing date; PATLs failing to do so will not be included in your lottery application.

Step 4: Pay the launch year lottery application cost. There is a launch year lottery application cost to apply in a lottery, paid once per launch year. Once submitted, your completed application will appear as "pending" on your profile page. The application status will not become "active, awaiting lottery" until your lottery application payment has been received. Pending applications are not included in a lottery, so be sure you have completed all the steps to activate your application! Once an application cost has been paid for a launch year, you can apply in all later lotteries for that launch year for no additional fee. IMPORTANT: Lottery and river permit payments are nonrefundable.

Step 5: Lottery occurs. If you win a launch date, pay the trip deposit. After the lottery, you will be notified of the success/failure of your lottery application by email. You may also log onto this site and check your application status. If you win a launch date, you must pay a trip deposit. Trip deposits are usually due the day after a lottery closes. This deposit is applied towards final river permit costs. (detailed cost information can be found on the FAQ page at How much are permit costs?)

Step 6: Complete a noncommercial river trip permit application and draft trip participant list and pay final permit costs. All of these are done online through this website. If you have won a launch date, and after you have paid the trip deposit, a "River Permit Application" button will display on your profile page. You will need to complete a noncommercial river permit application and provide your trip details. You will also need to complete a draft river trip participant list. Lastly, you will pay final river permit costs. The actual amount due is calculated after you fill out the river trip application and is dependent on how many participants are on your trip. (detailed cost information can be found on the FAQ page at How much are permit costs?)

NOTE: THERE MUST BE AT LEAST ONE QUALIFIED BOAT-OPERATOR PRESENT ON THE ENTIRE RIVER TRIP. That person must have participated in a previous Grand Canyon river trip as a boat-operator in command of a boat or participated as a boat-operator in command of a boat on a river of similar difficulty to the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Your boat-operator must be guided by a thorough understanding of the technical skill required to navigate the major rapids found in Grand Canyon National Park. The selection of boat-operators is the responsibility of the trip leader. Rivers of similar difficulty to the Colorado River through Grand Canyon (this list is not all-inclusive): Cataract Canyon, Utah; Lodore Canyon, Colorado; West Water Canyon, Utah; Middle Fork Salmon, Idaho; Rogue River, Oregon; Green River, Utah; Selway River, Idaho; Yampa River, Colorado; Tuolumne River, California; Main Salmon, Idaho.

Step 7: River permit is issued. After you have submitted a valid noncommercial river permit application, a draft trip participant list, and paid all costs, your river permit will be issued. After your permit is issued you may add participants to your trip up to 14 days before launch by contacting the River Permits Office. Participants added after a permit has been issued will incur an late charge per participant in addition to the participant permit cost. Only the River Permits Office can make changes to an issued permit.

Step 8: Go rafting! Have a safe and pleasant trip down the magnificent Colorado River. Remember to bring a copy of your final trip participant list with you to Lees Ferry.

For more information about the weighted lottery visit (opens in new window).

Noncommercial River Documents

River campsite list, and lottery statistics are available at (opens in new window).

By creating a river profile, entering a noncommercial river lottery, or submitting a noncommercial river permit application, you are consenting to the use of your information as described in the Purpose and Uses section of the Privacy Act Statement, NPS Form 10-404, OMB Control No. 1024-0022, Backcountry/Wilderness Use Permit Application.

NPS Form 10-404, OMB Control No. 1024-0022, Backcountry/Wilderness Use Permit Application

NPS Form 10-404 (Rev. 04/2021)
OMB Control No. 1024-0022

National Park Service
Expiration Date 01/31/2024



Privacy Act Statement

General:This information is provided pursuant to Public Law 93-579 (Privacy Act of 1974), December 21, 1984, for individuals completing this form.

Authority: 54 U.S.C. §100101, NPS Organic Act; 16 U.S.C. 1131-1136, Wilderness Act; 43 U.S.C. §1701 et seq.,16 U.S.C. §6801-6814, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act; 36 CFR Part 71, Recreation Fees; 36 CFR 1.6, Permits; and 36 CFR 2.23 Recreation Fees.

Purpose and Uses: To establish and verify an applicant's eligibility for a permit to conduct certain activities within the National Park System and to process permits for individual members of the public and organizations interested in obtaining a permit authorizing an activity. Information collected will be used to provide the public and permittees with permit-related information, to monitor activities conducted under a permit, to analyze data and produce reports to monitor the use park resources, to assess the impact of permitted activities on the conservation and management of protected species and their habitats, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the permit programs. The DOI and NPS may use the information to meet reporting requirements, to generate budget estimates and track performance, and to assist park staff with visitor education, fee collection, resource management and protection, recreational use planning, law enforcement and public safety personnel for such purposes as emergency contact and search and rescue efforts; to provide permit holders and participants with information about parks and their partners; and to provide reports of activities conducted under an issued permit.

Based on the disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act, the National Park Service may share information with first responders and Federal, state, and local governments to provide information needed to locate an individual or render aid in an emergency; to recover debts owed to the United States; to respond to a violation or potential violation of the law; in response to a court order and/or discovery purposes related to litigation; or other authorized routine use when the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were compiled.

Effects of Nondisclosure: It is in your best interest to answer all of the questions. The U.S. Criminal Code, Title 18 U.S.C. 1001, provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony that may result in fines of up to $10,000 or 5 years in prison, or both. Deliberately and materially making false or fraudulent statements on this form will be grounds for not granting you a Backcountry/Wilderness Use Permit.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

We are collecting this information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501) and 36 CFR 1-7, 12 and 13 which authorize the National Park Service to require applicants to fill out this form to monitor resources and to protect visitors. This information is being collected to allow the park management to make value judgements necessary to enhance the safety and enjoyment of both the visitors and wildlife. All applicable parts of the form must be completed in order for your request to be considered. You are not required to respond to this or any other Federal agency-sponsored information collection unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Estimated Burden Statement

Public Reporting burden for this form is estimated to average 8 minutes per response, including the time it takes for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining data, and completing and reviewing the form. Comments regarding this burden estimate or any aspect of this form should be sent to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, National Park Service, 1201 Oakridge Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80525. Do not send this application to this address but rather to the park address.

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