Private Trip Questions and Answers

The NPS non-commercial river trip regulations can be found here:

A lot of other non-commercial river trip information can be found here, from the NPS:

Can I change my passenger list or gear after sending you my trip application?

Participant names may be changed at Lees Ferry. Ensure that each participant will have picture ID and the total number of participants (including the permittee) does not exceed 16 at any one time. The trip leader must be present the entire trip.  You may change or add boats at Lees Ferry.  Just be sure to show up with the required gear associated with the additions.  Between 30 and 90 days before launch, the trip leader will be allowed to request that additional trip participants be added to the trip.  For these late additions there will be the normal $100 charge per added person plus an additional late fee of $100 per added person.  Trip participants may not be added within 30 days of launch.

Can I change, defer, or swap my launch date?

Launch dates awarded through the lottery may not be changed, deferred, or swapped.

Who can I pass my trip to if I can't make it?

Permits may be transferred to any of the Potential Alternate Trip Leaders (PATLs) listed on the original lottery application provided the PATL has not already participated on another trip that year.  You must contact the River Permits Office for assistance.

How early/soon may I arrive at Lees Ferry prior to my launch?

You may arrive up to one day prior to your launch and utilize the
noncommercial river campsite at Lees Ferry.  If you arrive earlier you
will have to use the Lees Ferry Campground located one mile from the launch ramp and you must pay the campground user fee.

How early/soon may I rig my boats and equipment on the launch ramp?

The day before your launch, you may unload your boats and equipment on the launch ramp after the private/noncommercial trips launching that day have moved off the launch ramp.  Trips have usually launched by 1:00PM each day, but it could be later if the trip is delayed.  You must check in with the Lees Ferry Ranger before unloading anything.  If you are unable to locate the Lees Ferry Ranger, look for instructions on the bulletin board located on the downstream side of the launch ramp.

How can I arrange time for a river trip orientation?

All river trip orientations are given at 8:00AM the morning of their launch and all trip members will complete a river checkout and an orientation program with the Lees Ferry Ranger.  You do not need to call ahead as all orientations are held at 8:00AM.

Who do I contact for more information?

The telephone system at the River Permits Office is automated and toll free.  Messages may be left at the mailboxes on options 2, 3 and 5.  All messages will be returned as soon as possible.  For cancellation inquiries, please use menu option 4.  The River Permits Office is staffed Monday through Friday, 7:00 am till 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm till 5:00 pm, except Holidays.  1-800-959-9164, (for outside the U.S. dial 928-638-7843).

River Permits Office, Grand Canyon National Park, PO Box 129, Grand
Canyon, AZ, 86023, Fax (928) 638-7844.  The River Permits Office does not have an email address for information.

What do I do if I do not have a picture id?

Participants without photo identification (i.e., driver's license, state issued identification, or passport) will not be allowed on the trip. Children under the age of 16 years may be exempt from the required ID.

When is a ground to air radio needed?

Ground to air radios are used by river runners in the event of a needed rescue, accident or medical emergency requiring evacuation. The main emergency frequency is 121.5MHz.  Signaling mirrors and 3' x 10' orange signal panels are required for all river trips, a ground to air radio is optional but recommended equipment.  More information is listed in both the Commercial Operating Requirement or in the Non Commercial Regulations.

Do you know what type of ground to air radio I should buy or rent for my trip?

VHF radio/ground to air.  Look in Regulations, Supplement E, for frequency numbers.  You can rent radios from Canyon REO (928)774-3377 or Professional River Outfitters (928) 779-1512.  Sporties Pilot Shop in Ohio sells communication and navigation transceivers that operate on frequencies 118.00 - 13.975.  Ask about Brand sport 1300 or Bendix King programmable KX99 models.  For information call customer service (513) 735-9000 or (800 )543-8633.

Do cell phones work at Lees Ferry and down river?

Cell phones generally work at Lees Ferry and for the first few miles on your river trip.  There is a pay phone at the Lees Ferry Launch Ramp, but it does not always work.  The next pay phones are five miles away in Marble Canyon.  Phantom Ranch has a pay phone you can use.

Who does our family contact if there is an emergency (severe illness or death) while we are on our river trip?

Your family should contact Grand Canyon National Park Dispatch at (928) 638-7805.

Is the Pearce Ferry take out area open?


Does my trip need a motor to get to South Cove?

The current presently ends in Iceberg Canyon about 5 miles from the South Cove take out.  The lake frequently has wind 5-15 miles per hour from the south.  This makes rowing a raft a bit more difficult since the direction of travel is to the south.  A motor definitely makes travel across the lake much faster. Most trips use a 10-20 hp motor.

Do outboard motors need to be a 4-stroke motor?

Yes, a 4-stroke motor is much cleaner than a 2-stroke motor, which uses a fuel/oil mixture.  A 4-stroke motor is required by park regulations.

Do rafts need navigation lights to travel at night?

A raft with a motor needs a red and green light displayed on the bow and a white 360-degree light from the stern (USCG).  A raft without a motor needs to have a flashlight or lantern ready for display to avert a collision with another boat (USCG).  All rafts traveling at night must have someone on watch to warn any oncoming boats to avoid a collision.

How far is it from Pearce Ferry to South Cove?

The distance is about 16 miles.

How big is the take out area at South Cove?

The raft take out area varies due to lake levels.  The take out area is
about 150 feet wide, and is in use by commercial and noncommercial trips on a daily basis during the summer.

What is the best time to take out?

Early in the morning is best.

Are there many camps in the Lower Granite Gorge?

There are about 10 camps in the gorge.  Most camps are between river mile 225 and 245, with one at 248, 253, 259 and 273.  The camps have heavy vegetation encroachment and beach erosion. During the summer finding a camp is much more difficult due to the number of trips.

Is there a lot of lake boat traffic?

The summer season is busy with multiple jet boat pick ups of commercial passengers, lake visitors with a variety of boats and Hualapai tour boats that operate between river miles 260 and 263.

Are the caves open for exploration?

All caves are closed to visitation.

Can we hike in Spencer Canyon?

The Hualapai Tribe has closed Spencer Canyon for hiking.

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