Lottery Guide

Grand Canyon Lottery

As part of the 2006 Colorado River Management Plan, Grand Canyon National Park started a lottery to award do-it-yourself river running permits to float through Grand Canyon National Park. New additions to the "Waiting List", a first come first serve list of trip hopefulls started in 1979, was stopped. In 2006, the Waiting List had a backlog of over thirty years worth of pending Do-It-Yourself river trips. 

Since 2006, a main Lottery is held every February. The lottery application requires many steps. First you must set up a User Profile to be eligible to register for the lottery. That part is free. Then, many steps need to be taken when the NPS is actually conducting the Main or follow-up On-Line Lotteries. Only at that time can you then submit your application along with a $25 fee.

Up to five dates may be specified in the Main Lottery and you will need to have decided ahead of time on the size of your group (Standard of 16 People or Small of 8 people).

Lottery Primer (Detailed information with copies of actual NPS web pages about the 2014 lottery application process (3.6MB PDF)).

The NPS has released some selected data for the lottery operations.

For the 2006-2010 NPS Five Year Lottery Review, click here.

For the 2006-2013 NPS Eight Year Lottery Review, click here.

For RRFW's Response to the NPS Eight Year Proposed Changes, click here.

For the 2014 NPS Lottery Review, click here (lottery stats) and here (overall river use info)

For the 2015 NPS Lottery Review, click here (lottery stats) and here (overall river use info)

For the 2016 NPS Lottery Review, click here (lottery stats) and here (overall river use info)

For the 2017 NPS Lottery Review, click here (lottery stats) and here (overall river use info)


Want to visit your Congresssional representative for permit assitance? If so, click here.

Lottery Timeline




February 1, 2018

Lottery applications start for the calendar year 2019

February 22, 2018

Lottery applications close

What Happened?

In the 2018 main lottery for 2019 permits, 6,725 applications competed for 468 launch oppertunities.

In the 2017 main lottery for 2018 permits, 6,650 applications competed for 463 launch oppertunities.

In the 2016 main lottery for 2017 permits, 5,550 applications competed for 472 launch oppertunities.

In the 2015 main lottery for 2016 permits, 4,911 applications competed for 472 launch opportunities.

In the 2014 main lottery for 2015 permits, 4,212 applications competed for 460 launch oppertunities.

The most popular dates are still just after the end of motor season on September 15. Chances to win that coveted September 18, 2019, date were 459 to 1.  

Follow-up Cancellation Lotteries

Grand Canyon National Park will run multiple follow-up lotteries throughout the year. In order to participate in these lotteries, you will need to have set up a profile, and click the box to be notified about these cancellation lotteries. See the Lottery Primer for details on how to do this.

RRFW Riverwires on the lottery