Located just east of Maswik Lodge, in the southern portion of the Village Historic District, the Backcountry Information Center is the go-to resource for those visitors to Grand Canyon National Park who wish to explore backcountry portions of the region. This important facility is staffed 8-hours a day, 7-days a week, by expert National Park Service Park Rangers. These highly trained officials are available to provide trail information and hiking advice, as well as to issue the necessary permits for those adventurous visitors who wish to camp and/or hike overnight off-the-beaten-path of the Grand Canyon area.
Backcountry Information Center History and Background
Housed in a historic building that once served as a railroad depot, the Backcountry Information Center functions today as the headquarters for the Grand Canyon Backcountry Office. The Grand Canyon Backcountry Office is the department of the National Park Service that is in charge of maintaining all trails, conducting all patrols, and operating any search and/or rescue missions in the region; Grand Canyon Backcountry Office is also responsible for running all portions of Grand Canyon National Park that remain undeveloped.
What’s at the Backcountry Information Center
Any visitors to Grand Canyon National Park who desire to hike and/or camp somewhere in the Park that is not an official, developed campground must apply for (and receive) a permit in order to do so; the Backcountry Information Center is where visitors may obtain such permits. You may apply for such permits up-to four months before your plans actually take place. The Grand Canyon Backcountry Office does charge fees for such permits; it is recommended that you contact the Backcountry Information Center in advance of your visit for more information on such costs.
You can also catch the “Hikers’ Express” shuttle bus from the Backcountry Information Center. This free shuttle service leaves Bright Angel Lodge once every morning on the hour (the specific departure time varies widely throughout the year), before stopping next at the Backcountry Information Center. It then ultimately continues to its final destination at the South Kaibab Trailhead.
The Backcountry Information Center’s location near Grand Canyon Village means that a wide variety of amenities and attractions are easily accessible. Nearby you will find an assortment of food and drink options, as well as an ATM and Wi-Fi services. Possible lodging accommodations here include Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar Hotel, and Kachina Lodge. Popular attractions available in Grand Canyon Village are the Grand Canyon Train Depot, Hopi House, and the historic Kolb Studio.
Tips for Visiting the Backcountry Information Center
- The Backcountry Information Center is open every day between the hours of 8:00am and 12:00pm, and then again from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.
- Parking Lot D can be found directly next to the Backcountry Information Center. While it is somewhat off the beaten path compared to other parking options, Lot D is designed to accommodate recreational vehicles—making it a great option for visitors traveling via RV.
The Backcountry Information Center is accessible via the Village Route (the “Blue Route”) shuttle-bus line. If parking fills up elsewhere, you can always park in Lot D and catch the shuttle from there—a