Overnight Backcountry Permits


The Basics

If you're planning an overnight trip (via 4WD vehicle, bicycle, or on foot) into the backcountry of Canyonlands National Park or the Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, you must have a permit.

Mountain bikers and four-wheel drivers must stay on designated roads and camp in designated sites. Backpackers can stay in either designated campsites or at-large zones.

Each district of the park has its own map of roads and trails which shows campsites and zones.

Stay Lengths

You may have an overnight permit for up to 14 consecutive nights. If you are backpacking, you may stay up to seven consecutive nights in any one site or zone. If you are using the designated vehicle camps, you may stay a maximum of three consecutive nights at a camping area before having to relocate.

Advanced Permit Reservations



Advance reservations are not required but we strongly recommend it. Overnight permits are very competitive for White Rim trips in spring and fall and Needles backpacking trips in spring. For these activities, we recommend you apply as early as possible. Any campsites not reserved in advance may be made available first-come, first-served at visitor centers.

All backcountry overnight permits become available on a seasonal basis, four months before the start of the season on Recreation.gov.

  • Spring permits (March 10 – June 9) open November 10.
  • Summer permits (June 10 – September 9) open February 10.
  • Fall permits (September 10 – December 9) open May 10.
  • Winter permits (December 10 – March 9) open August 10.

Permits will open at 8 am MT.

Please review the backcountry regulations before applying for a permit.

Navigating Recreation.gov

Reservations are available through Recreation.gov. Need help making a reservation? Check out our step by step guide for making your Backcountry Overnight Permit Reservation on Recreation.gov.

If needed, you may also request a reservation by email or phone. Please contact the Backcountry Permit Office at canyres@nps.gov or call 435-259-4351.

Permit Costs

There is a non-refundable $36 reservation fee for each permit for advanced reservations.



Group Size Limit (Per Permit)

Island in the Sky

The Needles

The Maze


$36 Permit Reservation fee
(includes $6 Recreation.gov fee)
+ $5 per person, per night

7 people

7 people

5 people

Four-Wheel Drive/
Mtn. Bike

$36 Permit Reservation fee
(includes $6 Recreation.gov fee)
+ $5 per person, per night

15 people /
3 vehicles

10 people/
3 vehicles

9 people /
3 vehicles

Vehicle limits include motorcycles and trailers.

Backcountry permit fees do not cover fees for entering the park. You must pay a park entrance fee for Island in the Sky and The Needles at a park entrance station, visitor center, or online via pay.gov. Each vehicle, motorcycle, and individual entering the park by foot or bicycle must pay an entrance fee or show an America the Beautiful pass (i.e. annual, senior, access, military).


Walk-up Permits

Advanced reservations close 2 days prior to a trip start date. If a campsite remains unreserved, it becomes available for walk-up and shown as 'W' on Recreation.gov. Walk-up permits are issued in person seven days a week at visitor centers until 2:30 pm mountain time each day.

Cancellation Policy

If you are not using a reservation, please cancel it as soon as possible. This allows other visitors to enjoy the park. Permit reservations can be canceled on Recreation.gov under your account or by email to canyres@nps.gov. The $5 per person, per night fee is refunded for trips canceled or modified at least 3 days before trip start date. The $36 reservation fee is non-refundable.


Last updated: February 29, 2024

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Moab, UT 84532



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