Grand Canyon Backcountry Permits

Most overnight trips into the Grand Canyon National Park require campers to have a Backcountry Permit. The process of obtaining a Backcountry Permit can be lengthy and competitive. Therefore, if you are planning to take a guided backpacking tour through the Grand Canyon, it is crucial to book a trip with your selected outfitter a few months in advance. This is to ensure that your chosen outfitter has enough time to apply for the permit on your behalf and prep all details needed for your adventure.

view of the grand canyon

When working with a seasoned outfitter for your backpacking trip through Grand Canyon, you do not need to purchase the permit yourself. The outfitter company will take care of that for you. The following guidelines will explain why it is important to book a Grand Canyon backpacking trip several months in advance:


Why you need a Backcountry Permit


If you are going to camp anywhere in the park, other than in developed campgrounds on the North Rim or the South Rim, you must obtain a permit. This allows the park to track who is where, and when. It’s a matter of safety, as well helping to limit the number of people in the backcountry at any one time.


The Difficulty of Obtaining a Backcountry Permit


The difficulty of obtaining a Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit comes from the sheer demand for these permits. In order to get a permit, you must submit a request during the designated early consideration period. These early consideration periods take place 4 months in advance of your trip. You need to submit your permit request application by the first of the month, four months prior to the month you intend to hike. Slots fill up almost immediately, so if you submit your permit request after the early consideration period is over, you will likely not obtain a permit.


Equal, random consideration is given to all permit requests received within the designated early consideration timeframe. Due to the high volume of requests, particularly for the most popular trails, applicants are selected through a lottery system. This means that even if you submit your permit request on time, you are not guaranteed a permit. To be honest, who truly wants to deal with the hassle of competing for backcountry permits? This is why working with an Outfitter is so valuable.


Grand Canyon Backpacking Outfitter, Four Season Guides, has been creating and leading some of the best adventures in the Southwest since 1999. Four Season Guides is proud to offer an all-inclusive Grand Canyon Trip, providing gear, food, a professional, medically-trained guide, permits, lodging and more. For more information on Four Season Guides and visiting Grand Canyon for a backpacking trip, visit:

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