It's always fun to go on remote, multi-day river trips throughout the year. However, some sections of rivers were so heavily populated with boaters, that permit systems have been put in place in order to protect it from excessive human impact.
Here is a list of trips requiring permits that we love... and encourage you to apply for a permit so you can experience these pristine, beautiful sections of river.
Dinosaur National Park - Green River (Gates of Lodore) & Yampa River
Online application. One permit for both rivers, ability to choose four river/date combinations. High-use lottery applications accepted Dec. 1 to Jan. 31. Low use, low water, one-day trips are available for reservations beginning March 1. Application cost is $15.
NPS Website: http://www.nps.gov/dino/planyourvisit/boating-and-rafting.htm
Apply here: https://www.recreation.gov/permits/250014
Green River in Utah - Desolation/Gray Canyons
Online application. High-use lottery applications accepted Dec. 1 to Jan. 31. Application cost is $6*. Pre-Season and Post-Season reservations can be made anytime.
BLM Website: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/passes-and-permits/lotteries/utah/desolationgray
Apply here: https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233393
Colorado River - Grand Canyon
Online application. Weighted lottery is held once a year in February to assign launch dates for river trips occurring the following year. Lottery application cost is $25*. Once you have applied for a particular year, you are allowed in the follow-up lotteries for that year at no additional cost. NPS Website: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/weightedlottery.htm Apply here: https://grcariverpermits.nps.gov/login.cfm
Colorado River - Cataract Canyon
NO LOTTERY. Fill out application for 'reservation’ and fax or mail. Applications accepted no more than four months and no les than two days prior. There are no daily launch limits in Canyonlands.
NPS Website: https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/riverpermits.htm
River Description: http://americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1842/
Colorado River - Ruby/Horsethief Canyons
NO LOTTERY. Permits are required and are available 60 days prior to desired camp date. General information is available at (970) 244-3000, but permits are now required through the website. April through October there is a camping fee. This is waived November through March and only a reservation fee is charged. No application fee*. Some boaters extend their trip by coordinating a Westwater permit.
Permit reservations: https://www.recreation.gov/permits/74466
Colorado River - Westwater Canyon
NO LOTTERY. Total number of private users is limited per day. Call (435) 259-7012 M-F 8AM -Noon up to 2 months prior to desired launch date. Launches are issued on a first-come, first-served basis over the phone. No application fee*. Permit fees are $10 per person and non-refundable. Some boaters extend their trip by coordinating a Ruby/Horsethief permit.
BLM Website: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/passes-and-permits/lotteries/utah/westwatercanyon
River Description: http://americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1840/
Dolores River in Utah
Permits are not required for the river in the state of Colorado, but you are required to register your trip at access points. Within Utah, Gateway to Dewey section, permits are required. Call (435) 259-7012 for the permit. Very limited season.
BLM Website: https://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ufo/recreation/dolores_river_information.html
Four Rivers in Idaho - Selway/Hells Canyon-Snake/Wild Main Salmon/Middle Fork of the Salmon
Online applications. Lottery applications accepted Dec. 1 to Jan. 31. Each river has a separate lottery application and drawing. Application cost is $6*. four rivers (Selway, Middle Fork Salmon, Main Salmon, Hells Canyon).
Forest Service Website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/scnf/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=FSBDEV3_029568
Lottery Website: www.recreation.gov (must create profile)
Middle Fork - Salmon: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/618/
Main - Salmon: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/612/
Hells Canyon - Snake: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/633/
Rio Chama in New Mexico
Pre-printed postcard application. Call (575) 758-8851 to request a postcard. It will be mailed to you. Lottery for Friday and Saturday launches after May 1st. Call in for other days of the week. Due January 31. Application cost is $6*.
BLM Website: http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/taos/rio_chama_wsr.html
Rouge River in Oregon
Online applications. Lottery applications accepted Dec. 1 to Feb. 1. Application fee is $6*.
BLM Website: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/permits-and-passes/lotteries-and-permit-systems/oregon-washington/rogue-river
Permit Information: https://www.recreation.gov/unifSearchInterface.do?interface=applypermit&contractCode=NRSO&parkId=144046
River Description: http://americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1541/
Salt River in Arizona - Upper Salt
Online application. Lottery applications accepted Dec. 1 to February 1. Application cost is $16*.
Forest Service Website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tonto/passes-permits/other/?cid=fsbdev3_018757
Permit Information: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/633/
San Juan River in Utah
Online application. Lottery applications accepted Dec. 1 to Jan. 31. Application cost is $6*.
BLM Website: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/passes-and-permits/lotteries/utah/sanjuanriver
Permit information: https://www.recreation.gov/permits/San_Juan_River_Permit_Lottery_And_Reservations/r/wildernessAreaDetails.do?page=detail&contractCode=NRSO&parkId=75510
Smith River in Montana
Online or paper application accepted early Jan to mid Feb. For 2017, they must be submitted or postmarked by Feb. 16. Application fee is $10*.
State Park Website: http://stateparks.mt.gov/smith-river/default.html
*River use fees are in addition to the lottery application fee.
Good links for all rivers: