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What If You Didn’t Get a Permit To Havasupai? Everything You Need to Know About the Transfer Page

Updated: Feb 1, 2020

Weren't able to snag your Havasupai permit on February 1st? No biggie, what once meant you were sore outta luck now just means that you'll have to be a little more patient and vigilant in your quest for those elusive permits. What am I talking about? Only the greatest thing to happen to humankind since the invention of the wheel; permits are now transferable!

Yes. You read that correctly, as of the 2019 season you can now transfer your permits! This. is. huge. Gone are the days of having to eat the cost of permits because of flaky friends or unexpected life issues. Just release them into the Havasupai winds, and someone will likely buy them right up. And what does this mean for the permit-less? Multiple chances daily to purchase permits. I have been stalking the transfer page pretty religiously the past few weeks, and I can tell you that baby is active!

How To Release a Permit

My emailed confirmation from the tribe still says tickets are non-transferable, they should really work on updating that. Fortunately, I know the truth. I personally haven't had to release a permit, so I don't know the exact process of doing it, but I can't imagine it is too difficult. After playing around on their reservation site, I feel like I have a good handle on how it's done:

  1. Login onto your account

  2. Click on "Your Havasupai Campground Reservation"

  3. It will show you your reservation, click on the blue "View" button

  4. The next page will have all the permit details, below there will be 3 buttons, the far right one will say "Transfer Reservation"

And that is as far as I have gotten, I don't dare risk clicking on that thing! I trust you can handle the process from that point on though. Once your permit has been released I assume you will be notified once it has been bought.

You can release however many of your spots you need to, whether it be just one or two permits, or all of your permits. Obviously, the further out you release a permit the higher your odds are of finding a buyer, but I've seen even last minute permits, ones with only a couple days advance warning, get bought up. If you have a big group of permits to release {say 12}, I think you would be better off doing it in smaller increments of like 4, but I honestly don't even know if that is an option. I've seen 12 permits be released on here a couple of times, it's crazy. Took several days for one to be sold, the other was gone in a flash.

If no one purchases the permit you are still on the hook for the cost, but the overwhelming majority of permits do get resold, so the odds are very much in your favor. Just remember the further out you release them, the more likely they are to sell. The one tiny caveat: there is a charge for this service. 10% of the permit cost. I'd take that over full price though, wouldn't you?

Can You Transfer Your Permit to a Specific Person?

Meaning, can you transfer your reservation directly to your pal Steve? Yes! Well, kinda. Steve would have to have been listed as an alternate group leader BEFORE you purchased permits. So when you are registering and it asks you who you want to name as alternate group leaders, I would list everyone in your group. I've not done this, so I don't know exactly how it works. I'm not sure if you would still be charged a transfer fee.

Now what if you want to transfer it to a friend who wasn't listed as an alternate lead? Well, in that case, good luck. You would need to say a little prayer and coordinate with this buddy so that you releasing the permits coincides with them being on the transfer page.

How Do You Buy Permits From the Transfer Page?

It's so easy! This I have done.

  1. Go to the Havasupai Reservation page

  2. Login, or create an account

  3. Click on the blue button that says "Cancellation/Transfer List"

  4. Feast your eyes on the plethora of available permits

  5. When you click on a permit, you will have 2 minutes to complete your purchase, so be ready to go, especially if you don't have your card saved

Trust me when I say this page fluctuates by the minute. Okay, maybe not minute, but some days it feels like it! Some days are slow, some days several will show up. You never know, so it is best to check this page frequently, several times a day. And permits go fast on here, even for dates that aren't ideal. Don't freak if it says "There are currently no available permits." That won't last long. So check, check, and check back some more.

Most permits released are only for one person, but I've seen all sorts of numbers, like I said earlier, even up to 12! So check this page religiously, I promise you you will eventually find your ideal permit. Just have patience and as always, be flexible with your schedule.

I checked this site a few times back in February when it first launched, even through March. It wasn't being heavily utilized, so I eventually stopped checking. That is not the case today. I think you will see this pattern next year as well. As the season progresses and things come up, you will see people making changes to their reservations. So if you login in February and feel like I've been lying to you, have patience. Things will change.

Permits MUST Be Transferred Though the Tribe

Plain and simple. Don't try to buy tickets from some sketch craigslist add. In that same thread of thought, "Public posting of offers for available spots (as well as responding to public postings of requests for available spots) is prohibited", per an announcement made by the tribe on 1.28.19. I do believe that you are allowed to publicly share your transfer link though, since you are going about it in the correct manner. And don't even try to call the office and add to your reservation. In the past you could do this, but not anymore. It'll take you 10 years to get through, and they will just tell you to check the transfer page and hang up on you.

So many changes are happening this season, and all for the better! This transfer page is the bomb diggity. I probably won't even try to buy a permit on February 1st next year, let the rest of you stress it out.

{managed to score permits and don't know what to do next? check out my series: a first timer's guide to havasupai; any and all of your questions will be answered!}

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