Permits are not required for a long-distance hike or ride along the Arizona Trail; however, permits are required for overnight camping and entrance within some Parks. These permits are not managed by the ATA; you will need to contact each agency directly. Here are the permits you may need:
Colossal Cave Mountain Park (Passage 8)
Has a camping fee and you must stay in the designated campgrounds of La Selvilla or El Bosquecito. Colossal Cave website.
Saguaro National Park (Passage 9)
Requires park entrance and camping permits for all hikers. Camping is only allowed in developed campgrounds (Grass Shack and Manning Camp). To learn more about backcountry camping at Saguaro visit their park website. Permits can be obtained through Recreation.gov. During peak thru-hiking seasons (January 15 – April 30 and Sept 15-Nov 30), the AZT Thru Hiker permit is available. This permit can be obtained up to the day you plan to sleep in the park and is valid for up to 14 days. It covers camping at specially designated shared sites at either Grass Shack or Manning Camp.
During the rest of the year, Wilderness Permits are required and are linked to individual campsites at either campground.
Compliance is strictly enforced and at large camping is not permitted.
Grand Canyon National Park (Passage 38)
Requires a camping permit and camping is only allowed in developed campgrounds (Bright Angel and Cottonwood). Although Grand Canyon backcountry permits can be very challenging to obtain, the Park’s Backcountry Information Center is authorized to make a special accommodation for AZT thru-hikers by issuing up to one permit per night for an AZT group to camp at Bright Angel Campground and at Cottonwood Campground. Due to a huge increase in AZT hikers, you may still have to wait a day or two to get through. Attempting to camp in Grand Canyon without a permit is not recommended and will guarantee you a big ticket . . . this is, after all, one of the most heavily patrolled parks in the National Park system.
Arizona State Trust Lands
A 15-foot wide right of way for the Arizona Trail has been obtained so you can cross approximately 91 miles of State Trust Land without a permit (mostly on passages 6, 7, 14 and 15). If you plan on traveling outside the 15-foot corridor to camp, explore, etc. then it is recommended that you obtain a State Land Recreation Permit. They are only $15 and allow recreational access to almost 9 million acres throughout Arizona. Permits can be obtained through the Arizona State Land Department website.