By Michael Lanza

First-time backpackers in the Grand Canyon quickly absorb two lessons about this one-of-a-kind place: Its infinite vistas and deceptive scale, the beauty of desert oases and wildflower blooms, the peacefulness and quietude of some of the best campsites you will ever enjoy—all of these qualities will hook you forever.

And you learn how difficult it can be to get a permit for backpacking there.

In fact, so many people apply for Grand Canyon backcountry permits that high percentages of them get denied every year—including up to 75 percent of applications for the three most popular trails, the Bright Angel and South and North Kaibab.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

A hiker on the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail.
” data-image-caption=”David Ports hiking the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail. Click photo for my e-guide “The Best First Backpacking Trip in the Grand Canyon.”
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gran7-155-David-Ports-hiking-the-North-Kaibab-Trail-Grand-Canyon.-2.jpg?fit=300%2C188&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gran7-155-David-Ports-hiking-the-North-Kaibab-Trail-Grand-Canyon.-2.jpg?fit=900%2C563&ssl=1″ width=”900″ height=”563″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gran7-155-David-Ports-hiking-the-North-Kaibab-Trail-Grand-Canyon.-2.jpg?resize=900%2C563&ssl=1″ alt=”A hiker on the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail.” class=”wp-image-43731″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gran7-155-David-Ports-hiking-the-North-Kaibab-Trail-Grand-Canyon.-2.jpg?resize=1024%2C641&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gran7-155-David-Ports-hiking-the-North-Kaibab-Trail-Grand-Canyon.-2.jpg?resize=300%2C188&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gran7-155-David-Ports-hiking-the-North-Kaibab-Trail-Grand-Canyon.-2.jpg?resize=768%2C481&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gran7-155-David-Ports-hiking-the-North-Kaibab-Trail-Grand-Canyon.-2.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />David Ports hiking the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail. Click photo for my e-guide “The Best First Backpacking Trip in the Grand Canyon.”

This story will explain how to obtain a Grand Canyon backpacking permit through reserving one in advance or getting a walk-in permit and share the specific strategies I have used to secure permits for several multi-day hikes in the Big Ditch—which I’ve revisited many times over more than three decades of backpacking, including the 10 years I spent as a field editor for Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog.

And if you want to reserve a permit in advance to backpack in the Grand Canyon you must submit an application by the first of the month four months in advance of the month you’d like to go in—for instance, by Dec. 1 for a trip anytime in April or June 1 for October.

Please share your questions or experiences about backpacking in the Grand Canyon in the comments section at the bottom of this story. I try to
Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/scotlands-endangered-coastal-adventures/

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