We’ve received a number of questions about the Grand Canyon lottery and have decided to make a post answering them as well as other common questions. In addition to this, the NPS has a lengthy FAQ PDF that is located here.
Have a question about the lottery that’s not answered here? Leave it in the comments and we’ll update this post.
If I have one point, can I increase my odds by being a PATL for a friend that has five points, and no intention of ever going down the Grand Canyon?
Answer: No. The lottery application will default to the lowest number of points between the applicant and the PATL
Can I go down the Grand Canyon once every 12 months or once per calendar year?
Answer: Once per calendar year. Specifically, one Grand Canyon launch per calendar year. Example: I launch a trip on December 15, 2022 and take out on January 1, 2023. Then I drive back to Lee’s Ferry (luck of the draw with permits) and launch again on January 2, 2023. The ranger doesn’t even look twice as it’s all above board as the launches are in different calendar years.
I just paid my lottery fees for the main drawing and shortly after a follow-up lottery email came through. When I went to apply it said I hadn’t paid my fees?
Answer: You haven’t paid your fees for that year’s lottery. Example: This is your first time applying for a Grand Canyon permit. It’s January 2022. You pay your lottery fees and apply for the main lottery, which is for trips launching in 2023. Later, you receive a follow-up lottery email for launches in September 2022. Because you never paid lottery fees for launches in that calendar year, you are unable to apply until paid.
How often are follow-up lotteries held?
Answer: There is no set number or set dates for follow-up lotteries. When they do occur though, they typically open on a Tuesday and close that following Thursday. Additionally, we have seen the NPS send out emails instructing to call in on a certain date and time, with the permits being awarded on a first come first served basis. We have also seen this done via email, instructing that the first person to respond to the email confirming they want an available launch will be awarded it.
My kids have never been down the Grand. Can I stack their applications to better our odds?
Answer: As long as they are 18 by the time the lottery is run, then this is fine. Example: You have three kids, ages 14, 16, and 18. To better your odds you can have your 18 year old kid create an account and enter the lottery. The other two are prohibited from applying.
I won a permit and can no longer make the trip. Can I transfer my permit to someone else?
Answer: Yes, you may transfer it to your PATL, which can only be assigned at the time of your lottery application. If no PATL was assigned, then the permit will be forfeited. If you have a PATL and they too, can not make the trip, then the permit will be forfeited.
The lottery allows me to select a number of date choices. Do my points get spread out amongst the different choices?
Answer: No. How the lottery works is your points are first entered into the pool. If your application wins, the computer then checks your date choices against availability. If your first date choice is already taken by another permit holder, it then tries your second date choice. If that is taken by another permit holder, then it tries your third date choice, etc until one is found that fits. If none are found, then your application gets rejected and a new winner is chosen.