Experienced rafters aged 18 or older have until February 24 to participate in the extremely competitive lottery for self-guided rafting trips on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon during 2017. This annual lottery always gets thousands of applicants for a limited number of permits. For 2017, 472 permits will be available for trips with specific launch dates lasting 12 to 25 days. Additional draws will be held for any trips that are cancelled or left over after the application deadline.
Applicants are required to have technical whitewater experience. Anyone whose name is drawn can participate in only one commercial or private rafting trip per year.
The National Park Service began using the lottery system for rafting trips in 2006, replacing the waiting list that had previously been used. Approximately 5,000 applicants participated in the main lottery last year. An additional 2,000 applications were included in follow-up lotteries.