Backcountry and river day use permits may be obtained online. Overnight permits must be requested online at least two days before start of trip.
Learn and Explore
Who needs a permit?
You must have a day-use permit for all vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles on:
You do NOT need a day-use permit on Potash Road or Shafer Trail.
Each individual vehicle, motorcycle, and bicycle needs a separate permit. If your group includes both bicycles and vehicles, each bicycle and vehicle needs a permit, even if the bike enters the park on a vehicle.
How do I apply for a permit?
Please review the backcountry regulations before getting a permit.
You can get a day-use permit online up to 24 hours before your trip.
NOTE: Only walk-in day-use permits will be available for the White Rim Road during flood season. No permits will be available online. You can get permits at Island in the Sky Visitor Center or the park administrative office in Moab during the flood season.
To apply for a day-use permit online, visit our online reservation system.
Once your request is received, your permit will be sent by email. Please print your permit and have it with you during your trip. If you are not able to print your permit, you must have either a digital copy or your permit number available.
We also issue any remaining permits at visitor centers the day of the trip. We issue permits up to one hour before the close of business each day.
What are group size limits?
White Rim Road
For the White Rim Road, we issue a total of 50 day-use vehicle permits (including motorcycles) and 50 day-use bicycle permits each day. Group size is limited to three vehicles and 15 bicycles. Groups must be separated by 30 minutes of travel time. You do not need a permit if you plan to drive only on the Shafer Trail and Potash Road.
Elephant Hill Road
We issue a total of 24 day-use vehicle permits (including motorcycles) and 12 day-use bicycle permits each day for Elephant Hill Road. Group size is limited to three vehicles and 12 bicycles. Groups must be separated by 30 minutes of travel time.
How much does a permit cost?
There is no fee for day-use permits. You must pay a park entrance fee at a park entrance station, visitor center, or via pay.gov. Each vehicle, motorcycle, and individual entering by foot or bicycle must pay an entrance fee.
Can I cache supplies in the backcountry?
Adding food, water, or supplies is only allowed with written notification of the district ranger. You may not damage resources, and you must remove all items. Email us for a cache request form.
We answer questions and assist with trip planning Monday through Friday, 8 am to noon (mountain time), at (435) 259-4351. When workload permits, we may be able to answer phones until 4 pm. You can also email questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions were written during the day-use permit planning process.
Why is the NPS creating another level of management for an area that does not have a problem?
Will overnight campers need to get a day-use permit?
How will day-use permits affect how the road is maintained?
How will permits be made available?
What is the justification for group size limits?
These limits address several issues:
Will commercial guides be allocated permits to ensure there are enough for private users?Currently companies with concession permits may offer commercial vehicle and bicycle services. The number of trips they may offer on any given day is regulated through their concession permits. These trips are not deducted from the day-use permits allotted for the public.
Were other alternatives considered in addition to the day-use permit and associated limits?
What are the fees associated with the day-use permit?
I already pay an entrance fee; do I have to get a day-use permit too?
If I travel through Beef Basin to go to Canyonlands, do I need to get a day-use permit?
I am a self-sustained bicyclist and intend to complete the White Rim in one day; do I need to get a day-use permit?
If I am traveling to Taylor Canyon via the White Rim Road, do I need to get a day-use permit?
What is the current visitation to the White Rim Road and Elephant Hill Road?
Data collected from traffic counters on the west and east sides of the White Rim Road demonstrate that the peak months of use are March, April, May, September, and October. Over the last ten years (2004-2014) on the east side of the White Rim an average of 40 vehicles per day passed a traffic counter. (Two-way travel and overnight vehicles are included in this number.) In 2014, during these months, there was a maximum of 58 vehicle counts on a single day (two-way travel and overnight vehicles are included in this number). On the west side an average of 26 vehicles per day passed a traffic counter. (Two-way travel and overnight vehicles are included in this number.) In 2011 a trial period of day-use permits on the White Rim Road between March and May had a maximum number of permits issued on one day of 30 (May 29, 2011). Each permit included up to three vehicles and 15 bicycles. There was an average of 3.2 bicycles and 1.4 vehicles per permit. Taking into consideration two-way travel and overnight vehicle counts, it is anticipated that a limit of 50 day-use vehicles allowed per day would maintain the current levels with a low potential of reaching the limit on busier days of the year. This limit does not include vehicles with overnight permits.
Traffic counter data on Elephant Hill demonstrates that the peak months of use are March, April, May, September, and October. Over four years (2010-2013) an average of 12 vehicles per day accessed the road during these months. During these months in 2013, there was a high of 44 vehicles on one day (May) and the median number of vehicles per day was 19. This includes both overnight and day use. A limit of 24 day-use vehicles per day would maintain the current levels with a low potential of reaching the limit on busier days of the year. This limit does not include vehicles with overnight permits.
Last updated: September 5, 2020