Chances of getting a permit...

Moderator: HAZ - Moderators

Linked Guides none
Linked Areas none
no avatar
Borknagar
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 33
Joined: Dec 05 2011 8:12 pm
City, State: Phoenix

Chances of getting a permit...

Post by Borknagar » Jan 23 2012 8:09 pm

So me and 1 or 2 friends are wanting to do a two or three day hike this summer. I have never hiked over night at the GC, so I have never applied for a permit.
Should I try and apply asap or do I have time?

Thanks

User avatar
chumley
budding artist
Posts: 6808
Joined: Sep 18 2002 8:59 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by chumley » Jan 23 2012 8:45 pm

If you're sure you want to go, why risk waiting? Apply as soon as allowed. The permits open four months ahead of time. So if you applied today, the latest date you could request is May 31st. On Feb 1st, the permits will open to June 30th, etc. If you're not absolutely sure you're going, or don't know the dates, and don't want to waste the permit fee, you can risk applying later or obtaining walk-up permits and hope there's something available. Call the Backcountry Office (928) 638-7875 to ask about last minute availability. Apparently the line is busy a lot but it may be easier getting through in the afternoon. Others here can probably shed more light on that.

The permit guidelines are posted here:
http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/b ... permit.htm
smoke it

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 23 2012 9:11 pm

It's crazy killer hot in GC in summer. Why not go in April or early May, when it's cooler?
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
autumnstars
Viva Vegapelli
Posts: 265
Joined: Jan 04 2011 11:27 pm
City, State: Las Vegas, NV

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by autumnstars » Jan 24 2012 8:11 am

Likely, even the most obscure routes are booked solid for all of May by this late in the application month. But, you can always wait and try your luck with walk-up permits. February and the very beginning of March are usually not full, just because not as many people are willing to brave the cold and somewhat unpredictable weather.

Your best bet is likely to call the back country office as chumley mentioned. They will know all the details on what is still available. You may be having trouble getting through in the morning because the back country office only answers the phone from 1-5pm. Wish I could get away with that! :)
"Let it ride / Let it roll / Let it go"

no avatar
Borknagar
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 33
Joined: Dec 05 2011 8:12 pm
City, State: Phoenix

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by Borknagar » Jan 27 2012 11:39 pm

Thanks everyone for the replies!
I would like to go earlier, but I heard after March 10th it is everything is booked until almost summer time.
So if I were to apply for a permit exactly 4 months in advanced (since that is the earliest you can request) I will be extremely likely to be granted my request?

Also for GC veterans, what South rim trails leading to the river would y'all suggest?

Thanks everyone!!

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 28 2012 4:17 am

I wouldn't suggest any of them after the middle of May--too hot. If you can deal with the heat, I like the Hermit Trail. There is a super swimming hole at the backpacker's campground at Hermit Creek.

However, it will be a lot safer for you to do South Kaibab-Bright Angel for your first trip, especially in summer, because there are Park rangers, and other folks. Do not do Tanner Trail in summer. Carry at least 6 or 8 liters of water, with electrolytes, and DRINK all the water, but also eat salty snacks. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, wear sunscreen all over yourself, cover your skin--wear light-colored clothing, consider wearing long sleeves, but at least wear a T-shirt, and don't try to get a tan. For this trip you'd camp at Bright Angel Campground and maybe also at Indian Garden.

People die from the heat every year in the summer in Grand Canyon. It can easily be 115 degrees F./46 Celcius, even 48 C. It's unforgiving for those not prepared for it. It can kill you real quick.

And don't swim in the Colorado River. Very dangerous. Swim in the creek.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
nonot
Bon Fire Kokopelli
Posts: 1890
Joined: Nov 18 2005 11:52 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by nonot » Jan 28 2012 5:10 pm

If you apply the first day of the month 4 months in advance you have a good chance of getting a permit. If you are in the high use zone it is not guaranteed as some areas get requested more than there are spots. Putting lots of options/different dates will help. I list at least 5 options on my applications. My last permit - I was granted the 10th option I had listed.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

User avatar
autumnstars
Viva Vegapelli
Posts: 265
Joined: Jan 04 2011 11:27 pm
City, State: Las Vegas, NV

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by autumnstars » Jan 30 2012 10:41 pm

In addition to listing several itineraries...
On the permit request, I always write "willing to consider any other dates available."
This small phase has meant I've gotten every permit I've ever applied for, maybe just not on my first choice of dates.
"Let it ride / Let it roll / Let it go"

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 31 2012 3:30 am

There are always tons of permits available every single day for people who know the Canyon, and hike off trail. Park service might not give you one of those, though, unless they think you know what you're doing.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
haggster
NativeHistoryKopelli
Posts: 32
Joined: Oct 18 2006 10:56 am
City, State: Farmington, UT

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by haggster » Feb 02 2012 2:45 pm

The Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit webpage publishes stats for the previous year which details permits issued based on use area and month. You can get a good idea of what use areas are being heavily used and when. I just submitted a permit the second week of January for May and was granted my first request.

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 03 2012 6:49 am

Chazz_Reinhold wrote:The Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit webpage publishes stats for the previous year which details permits issued based on use area and month. You can get a good idea of what use areas are being heavily used and when. I just submitted a permit the second week of January for May and was granted my first request.
So, what hike are you doing?
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
haggster
NativeHistoryKopelli
Posts: 32
Joined: Oct 18 2006 10:56 am
City, State: Farmington, UT

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by haggster » Feb 03 2012 9:01 am

azbackpackr wrote:So, what hike are you doing?
I am doing the Thunder River trail. I will be down there for 4 days. That should give me plenty of time to explore and fly fish Tapeats Creek. I am surprised I was granted my first request because it is a popular trail.

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 03 2012 6:36 pm

Yeah! I'd like to go back and do that one again, since it was my very first backpacking trip to GC, back in 1993, when there were still pterdactyls flying around. I'm not inclined to hike up to it from the river on a river trip, would rather do the Tapeats-Deer creek loop as a backpack. Glad to hear you lucked out on that one!
Last edited by azbackpackr on Feb 04 2012 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
Fireweed
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 02 2012 7:42 pm
City, State: Ashland, OR

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by Fireweed » Feb 04 2012 4:54 pm

I just was denied a permit for the beginning of May to stay in the Grand Canyon. You have to apply 4 months ahead of time. The letter said there are a small number of permits held for each day at the Backcountry Information Center on the South Rim, but sometimes you have to wait for several days to get one.

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 04 2012 5:36 pm

All I was trying to say is that off-trail permits are always available, and trails in primitive areas are often not too hard to get, also. But they will try to talk you out of doing off trail if you don't already have a lot of Canyon experience. Which they should indeed be doing.

Redundantly saying, if you want something very popular you have to put in on the first day of the month, four months in advance, and put a lot of date choices. Better yet, put a lot of hike AND date choices.

And while we're on the topic, it's annoying that the Park keeps changing the name of the backcountry office. It used to be the BRO--Backcountry Ranger office. Then, sort of recently, they changed it to the BCO--Backcountry Office. Now it has very recently (I guess since they finished the bldg.) been changed again to BIC--Backcountry Info Ctr.

I think I'll just be stubborn and continue to call it the BRO. Also, on topic, I think I'll put in for Powell Plateau for...June? Nah, that's fire season. Oh, well, I'll wait til I get back to the States.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
Al_HikesAZ
Ol' Kokopelli
Posts: 1348
Joined: May 16 2005 1:01 pm
City, State: Scottsdale, AZ
Contact:

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Feb 04 2012 10:22 pm

Chazz_Reinhold wrote:That should give me plenty of time to explore and fly fish Tapeats Creek.
The fishing is great as long as you are not planning on eating them . http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=41554 This was the average size. I can get you more details from Eric (Morel) about rod, line and flies if you want.
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

User avatar
base871
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 235
Joined: Apr 24 2008 8:37 pm
City, State: Tempe

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by base871 » Feb 04 2012 10:41 pm

I went down to phantom one summer. Insanely hot, and there is no escape. The creek is no help. the half of you in the water freezes and the half out cooks. I knew it would be hot so I left the tent and sleeping bag at home and just put the mat on a picnic table. Dont even need a blanket, as the tremendous amount of sweat you will produce will insulate and keep you nice and warm. :D
"The Edge. There really is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are those who have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson

User avatar
base871
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 235
Joined: Apr 24 2008 8:37 pm
City, State: Tempe

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by base871 » Feb 04 2012 10:48 pm

Oh, you would probably get a permit to camp at indian garden no problem. I never see people staying the night there. From there you could do day hikes to plateau point and phantom.

The last time I was there a friend got injured near phantom and could not make the trip up to the top in one day. Our permit had expired by a few days and when we got to IG the ranger said to take all the time we needed, nobody stays there in the summer. Got some free ice cream outta the deal too!
"The Edge. There really is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are those who have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson

User avatar
haggster
NativeHistoryKopelli
Posts: 32
Joined: Oct 18 2006 10:56 am
City, State: Farmington, UT

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by haggster » Feb 04 2012 11:09 pm

Al_HikesAZ wrote:I can get you more details from Eric (Morel) about rod, line and flies if you want.
Thanks, any info would be great. I was planning on bringing a 3 wt. rod that I normally use on smaller streams and creeks. I can't imagine those fish being picky eaters so I would guess normal attractor patterns would work fine. I might use some type of bead head dropper.

Do you know if it is possible to hang a hammock at Upper Tapeats or are there not enough trees? I really can't tell from many of the pictures.

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: Chances of getting a permit...

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 05 2012 8:35 am

I used to be pretty scared of the Canyon in summer, and have done most of my trips in late Sept, October, some in Nov, Dec, Jan., April and early May. But last summer I was on the river 16 days on a private rafting trip during July and August. I wore a long-sleeved shirt and kept it damp (not hard to do when there were lots of rapids! :) I didn't find the camps to be overwhelmingly hot at night in general, but sometimes I was a bit uncomfortable. Of course we would seek shade in late afternoon. We had big umbrellas, too. (This year's rafting trip starts in late Sept. so we should be a lot more comfortable in camp!) When you're on the river you just stay wet, wear a big hat and a long-sleeved shirt, keep a sarong over your legs and feet so they don't burn, use your big umbrella when the water is calm. For me, it was living the dream. I loved it!

We had a layover and passenger exchange at Hermit. I hiked up to the swimming hole at the backpacker campground. I just kept dipping myself in the creek on the way up there, and with that long-sleeved cotton shirt I was plenty cool. Of course I drank a ton of water and ate salty snacks, etc. It wasn't that bad at all, but the key was that I could dip in the creek whenever I wanted to.

All that being said, although I would do another river rafting trip in summer, in a heartbeat, I still would not do a backpacking trip in summer to the inner Canyon. It is just too hot, and it can sure be deadly dangerous. I plan to hike to the Powell Plateau next summer, which is not IN the Canyon, but is a heavily forested mesa on the North Rim, at over 8,000 feet, and nice and cool in summer.
Attachments
DSC00082.JPG
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

Post Reply

Return to “Permits & Transportation”


cron