How to Get a Backcountry Permit

To camp below the rim at Bright Angel, Indian Garden or Cottonwood Campgrounds, you will need to apply for and obtain a Backcountry Permit from the National Park Service. Click here for Backcountry info and required forms.

The Backcountry Office will issue your permit and reserve your campsite if available. Submit the permit request form in one of the following ways:

  • Bring your request to the Backcountry Information Center, located inside the park on both the South Rim and the North Rim
  • Fax your request anytime to the Backcountry Information Center, 928-638-2125
  • Mail request to Grand Canyon National Park, Permits Office, 1824 S. Thompson St., Suite 201, Flagstaff AZ, 86001
  • Permit requests are not accepted by telephone or by email.

    When to Apply

    The furthest in advance permit requests are accepted and considered by the Backcountry Information Center is the first of the month, four months prior to the proposed start month.

    To obtain a backcountry permit for the dates and use areas/campsites of your choice, ensure your request arrives at the Backcountry Information Center on the first day it will be accepted (but not before). Faxing is strongly recommended. Popular use areas/campsites fill up the first week of the first month they become available for permit requests.

    Only written requests are accepted during the fourth-month-out. Written requests may be submitted by fax, by letter, or by hand delivery. Regardless of how they are submitted, written requests will be considered based on the date on which they are received, and all of the requests received by 5:00 p.m. on the first day of the fourth-month-out will be placed in random order by computer and considered in that new order before the next day's requests receive consideration.

    Verbal in-person permit requests are only considered for start dates one to three months out.

    Replies will be sent via US Mail or email. Due to the volume of requests received, the park cannot confirm receipt of requests until they have been fully processed. Expect at least three weeks for processing.

    A backcountry permit is required for:
  • overnight camping outside of Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, and North Rim Campground
  • overnight camping at the Tuweep Campground group site (holds 7 to 11 people)
  • overnight camping anywhere on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park between Nov 1 - May 14 (includes ski-camping)
  • off-river camping by river trip participants
  • overnight camping with private stock outside of Mather Campground or outside of North Rim Campground (May 15 – Oct 31)
  • packrafting, other than that which occurs under a river permit
  • A backcountry permit is NOT required for:
  • day hikes (this includes nighttime "day" hikes)
  • day stock rides
  • overnight camping at Mather Campground and Desert View Campground (campground reservations for Mather Campground at www.recreation.gov)
  • overnight camping at North Rim Campground between May 15 – Oct 31 (campground reservations at www.recreation.gov)
  • overnight camping at Tuweep Campground for sites that hold 1 to 6 people
  • overnight camping with private stock at Mather Campground or (May 15 – Oct 31) North Rim Campground
  • overnight stays at the dormitories or cabins at Phantom Ranch (advanced reservations with Grand Canyon National Park Lodges required)
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