The National Park Service (NPS) has announced an increase in backcountry camping fees at Grand Canyon National Park beginning April 1, 2024.
The price hike aims to provide additional revenue to fund the park’s permit offices and Backcountry Information Centers.
Currently, backcountry camping fees at Grand Canyon are $10 per permit plus $12 per person per night for camping below the rim in designated backcountry areas.
The $10 permit fee will remain unchanged, but the per person nightly rate will increase to $15 per person or stock animal. Camping fees at Mather, Desert View, and North Rim campgrounds are not affected by the rate increase.
Why the Rate Hike?
According to the NPS, the adjustment is intended to eliminate a budget deficit and ensure full cost recovery for operating the park’s backcountry permitting program. All revenue from backcountry permits goes toward staffing and running Grand Canyon’s permit offices and Backcountry Information Centers.
The fee bump comes on the heels of another recent backcountry rate increase in 2022, when the park raised the per person fee from $8 to $12 per night. That price jump was also attributed to covering a budget shortfall.
Officials say upcoming construction related to the Transcanyon Pipeline project is expected to reduce backcountry visitation next year, exacerbating the existing budget gap.
The pipeline provides water from Roaring Springs on the North Rim to the South Rim, crossing the canyon near Ribbon Falls. Maintenance work will require temporary closures of some backcountry areas and trails during 2024.
In an effort to streamline the backcountry permitting process, Grand Canyon moved its permit reservation system to Recreation.gov over the summer.
The transition enables approximately 80% of backcountry permits to be directly reserved and paid for online. Park administrators hope this will improve customer service and reduce walk-in crowding at permit offices.
Backpackers and hikers looking to reserve an overnight backcountry permit at Grand Canyon next year should expect to budget a little more for the experience.
Where to Find the Latest Backcountry Info
For the latest information on permits, reservations, lottery applications and backcountry camping, the park recommends visiting the Grand Canyon National Park website or contacting the Backcountry Information Center at (928) 638-7875. Phone agents are available Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, excluding federal holidays.
With near-record visitation in recent years, Grand Canyon National Park continues to balance visitor access, resource protection and operational funding through programs like the backcountry permitting system. The upcoming fee increase aims to sustainably support overnight use of the park’s expansive and fragile backcountry for years to come.
Cover photo courtesy of: Michael Quinn, National Park Service