How to have your own Grand Canyon Expedition: Grand Canyon 2013 Main Lottery is Open and Accepting Applications

As you read this tale do you wish you could have your own experience rafting the Grand Canyon?  It’s easier to get there than you might think.  Yes, you can take the easier, more expensive route of going on a professionally guided trip.  But doing your own private trip has an element of risk and excitement that you won’t feel if you have guides that have been down hundreds of times.  A private trip is truly an expedition.  Yes, there are significant logistics involved and you’ll need people experienced in whitewater to row the rafts.  (I had lots of whitewater experience before the trip, but almost no rowing experience, and I made it down the river fine.) But a private trip is really the best way to go.

If you have a love of the wilderness and adventure, a tolerance for camping for an extended period of time without all the luxuries of “civilization”, then you can get a trip of your own together.  Before you go, I strongly recommend experiencing at least one or two extended trips of 5 or more days before going to the Canyon, so you know what is involved.  Those trips don’t have to be river trips either.  Backpacking trips will provide a similar experience.  This helps you learn what gear and clothing works for you and what doesn’t.  You will also want some experience rafting so you know what the experience is like running rapids in a raft. You can learn more about it at their website:

So what are are you waiting for?  Step 1: Apply for the lottery and pay your $25.  Step 2: Win a launch date and begin planning.
The lottery just opened today and they will be accepting applications for the annual lottery from February 1 to February 22 for launch dates in 2013.  Here is the email they sent announcing it:

Date:    02/01/2012 07:19 AM
Subject:    2013 Main Lottery is Open and Accepting Applications

The 2013 Main Lottery is now accepting applications for 449 calendar year 2013 noncommercial river trips. Lottery applications will be accepted through noon MST on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, and the lottery drawing will take place by the end of that week. Applicants can log in after Friday, February 24, 2012 to find out if they won.

Lottery winners will have until noon MST on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 to pay their trip deposits ($400 for standard sized trips, $200 for small sized trips).

A list of the available launch dates can be found at

Additionally, the following 2012 launch dates were previously released in follow-up lotteries and were not claimed. They are currently available outside of the lottery system to the first live caller to 1-800-959-9164 (i.e. cannot be claimed by leaving a message).
Standard Sized Trips (1 – 16 people):
February 2012: 3
March 2012: 1, 3, 4

If you need any assistance, please ask. We are happy to help.

Steve Sullivan, Grand Canyon River Permits Office


The Grand Canyon River Permits Office sends out emails announcing the main lottery
and follow-up lotteries. You can choose to receive all,
none, or any combination of these emails. To set your email preferences,
login and then click on “Edit Personal Information”.

To be sure our emails get to you, add the following two email addresses
( and to your email contacts.
This should prevent River Permits Office emails from being blocked by a spam filter.

Grand Canyon River Permits Office Contact Information

Phone:  800-959-9164 (toll free)
928-638-7843 (optional non-toll-free number to same line)

Fax:   928-638-7844

Mail:  National Park Service
Grand Canyon River Permits
1824 S. Thompson St., Suite 201
Flagstaff, AZ 86001


Main River Permit Information:  – click on River
Available Launch Dates:
Noncommercial River Trip Regulations:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Statistics From Past Lotteries:
Lottery Website:
Password Reset:



Posted on February 1, 2012, in Grand Canyon 2011 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on How to have your own Grand Canyon Expedition: Grand Canyon 2013 Main Lottery is Open and Accepting Applications.

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