Backcountry Regulations

The following regulations appear on all backcountry permits issued by Canyonlands. Additional regulations apply for river trips and horse/pack trips

General Regulations

  • You must have a permit for all overnight trips in the backcountry.
  • You must have a permit for all bicycle, motorcycle, and four-wheel-drive day-use trips on White Rim, Elephant Hill, Lavender Canyon, and Peekaboo / Horse Canyon roads.
  • Permits are valid only for the dates, areas and number of people listed.
  • All vehicles, motorcycles and bikes must remain on designated roads. Roads may be deemed impassable and temporarily closed for multiple reasons. Check road conditions.
  • ATVs/OHVs are not allowed.
  • The use of unmanned aircrafts is prohibited.
  • Wood campfires are not allowed. You may cook with a charcoal fire in a firepan at vehicle campsites; you must pack out all charcoal residue.
  • You must remove all garbage, including toilet paper, from the backcountry.
  • Store all your food securely to prevent animals from gaining access to it.
  • Keep all camping activities within campsite boundaries at designated sites. Camps in at-large zones must be one mile from a road and in low-impact areas like slickrock.
  • Camp activities may not be heard outside of the campsite. At no time should audio devices be audible outside of a vehicle or campsite. Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am.
  • Operation of generators in the backcountry is not permitted. An exception may be made for generators needed for medical purposes if prior approval of the district ranger is obtained.
  • Camping within 300 feet of an archeological site, historic site, or water source is not allowed.
  • All natural objects and cultural artifacts are protected and must be left where they are found. Touching rock art and drawing graffiti is not allowed.
  • Pets, discharging firearms, hunting, and feeding wildlife are prohibited.
  • Caching food, water, or supplies is allowed with written notification of the district ranger. No damage to resources may occur and all items must be removed.
  • Swimming or bathing is only allowed in the Green and Colorado rivers.

Limits and Closures

  • Hiking in the Doll House area is limited to designated trails.
  • The mouths and lower portions of Salt Creek and Big Spring, Little Spring, and Elephant canyons are closed to entry from March 15 through September 1 during bighorn sheep lambing season.
  • From the mouth of lower Red Lake Canyon to the mouth of Cross and Y canyons is restricted to day use only from December 1 through February 28 for the protection of bald eagles.
  • Jasper Canyon (The Maze) is closed to entry upstream of the first jump visible from the Green River.
  • Some climbing routes are closed for wildlife protection:
    • March 1-August 31: Century Crack, Witness the Wilderness, Necronomicon (Book of the Dead), Army of Darkness, Chip and Dale Towers, Candlestick Tower
    • March 15-August 31: Zeus and Moses, Airport Tower, Washer Woman, Monster Tower
    • March 15-August 15: Charlie Horse Needle

Activity-Specific Regulations

  • You must have a washable/reusable toilet system or human waste disposal bag when camping at:
    • all vehicle campsites at The Maze,
    • all designated backpacking campsites,
    • Peekaboo and New Bates Wilson vehicle campsites at The Needles, and
    • within ½ mile of the Green and Colorado rivers.
  • You must have a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle (low range) for the White Rim Road and all Needles and Maze backcountry roads.
  • Vehicles (or a combination of vehicles and trailers) that exceed 21 feet in overall length are prohibited from traveling on Elephant Hill Access Road and the Elephant Hill road system in The Needles district and Teapot Rock four-wheel-drive road north of Teapot Rock campsite in The Maze district.
  • Campers at Salt Creek 1, 2, 3, and 4 campsites and the Salt/Horse Zone in The Needles must store all food, beverages, and associated containers, garbage, and all scented items in a hard-sided, park-approved animal-resistant food container, capable of preventing access by wildlife, at least 100 feet from camp.
  • Camping is not permitted in Horseshoe Canyon, on Pete's Mesa, or within sight of the Maze Overlook.
  • Hiking in The Doll House is restricted to designated trails.
  • Packrafts: You must have an overnight backcountry permit or a day-use river permit if you are traveling upstream or downstream on the rivers within the park. You must also abide by all river rules, regulations, and required equipment with the exception of carrying a spare paddle and spare PFD. Nights spent outside of the river corridor (1⁄2 mile or 1,000 vertical feet from the river) must be in designated campsites or zones indicated on the permit. Read more about packrafting.
  • Caching 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. No individual, company, or other entity may be paid or otherwise compensated to place caches for someone. Email us for a cache request form.

Last updated: April 12, 2022

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