Road Conditions

Contact district visitor centers for current conditions before beginning any backcountry trip.

You may need a permit to drive on some park roads.

Rain and snow can quickly change unpaved roads to four-wheel-drive condition or make them impassable. Weather

 

Backcountry Travel Advisory

Backcountry driving conditions can change rapidly after rain or snow. Most backcountry roads in Canyonlands require high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles with a low range gear (4LO).

All drivers should carry the following items:

• At least one full-size spare tire
• Extra gas
• Extra water
• Shovel
• High-lift jack
• Chains for all four tires (especially from October through April)

Drive Carefully!

Visitors caught in the backcountry with disabled vehicles can expect commercial towing fees in excess of $1,000.

 

Choose a District Navigation

 

Island in the Sky

Updated September 23, 2022

  • Scenic Drive: open
  • Shafer Trail: open. Some sections rough and heavily eroded. AWD/4WD recommended.

Shafer Trail Road will close for routine maintenance weekdays (M-F), October 24 through Nov 10, 2022. The road may reopen for weekend use Oct 29-30 and Nov 5-6. This project will repair tread surfaces and shoulders damaged by recent rains. Visitors may access the White Rim Road via Potash Road outside of Moab. See map for details.

  • Potash Road: open. Some sections rough and heavily eroded. High-clearance 4WD recommended.

  • Mineral Bottom: open. Expect washboarding conditions. AWD/4WD recommended.
  • White Rim Road 4WD: open. Exercise caution and expect more difficult than normal driving conditions due to mud and washouts. Hardscrabble Hill is passable to modified 4WD vehicles with experienced drivers and spotters. Upheaval Wash is muddy after recent rains. Advanced recovery techniques and skills likely required such as recovery boards, winching, rock stacking, etc. Be prepared to self-rescue, turn around, or drive out-and-back to reach your campsite. Driving after dark is dangerous so give yourself ample time to negotiate this difficult terrain.
  • Taylor Canyon 4WD Road: open, passable with rough sections. Expect deep ruts after heavy rain.
  • Lathrop 4WD Road: open, passable.

Even when rated as "passable," four-wheel-drive roads are challenging. High-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles with a low range gear (4LO) are required on the White Rim Road. Other vehicles (e.g., all-wheel-drive vehicles, and low-clearance or high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicles) have difficulty negotiating the rough slickrock, loose rocks, deep sand, and steep switchbacks and are not permitted upon the White Rim Road. Permits are required on the White Rim Road.

Carry extra fuel and be prepared to self-rescue. During winter, all vehicles should carry chains.

 

The Needles

Updated September 27, 2022

  • The approach to The Needles on UT 211 has reopened to traffic in both directions.
  • Scenic Drive: open.
  • Elephant Hill Access Road: open. Expect washed out sections after heavy rain.
  • Elephant Hill 4WD Road: open. Standard 4WD driving conditions. Expect additional obstacles and drops greater than 8 inches.
  • Colorado River Overlook 4WD Road: open. Standard 4WD driving conditions. Expect some deep ruts.
  • Lavender Canyon 4WD Road: open. BLM Access Road to the NPS boundary on both the Lavender and Davis sides are passable. Lavender Canyon Road within the park has many large boulders/rocks exposed from flooding and may be impassable to some vehicles.
  • Horse Canyon 4WD Road: open. Expect sandy sections.
  • Peekaboo 4WD Road: open, areas of mud still present.
  • Beef Basin Road to Cathedral Butte: open, expect some rough sections and deep ruts; 4WD/AWD recommended with moderate clearance.

Even when rated as "passable," four-wheel-drive roads in The Needles are challenging. High-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles with a low range gear (4LO) are required on these roads. Other vehicles (e.g., all-wheel-drive vehicles, and low-clearance or high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicles) cannot navigate the rough slickrock, loose rocks, steep ledges, deep sand, and steep switchbacks. Depending on the season, you can expect ice, up to two feet of water, quicksand, vegetation or rock outcrops that could scratch a vehicle, or debris that you must negotiate while staying within the boundary of the road. We recommend traveling in groups of two or more vehicles—both with winches—in order to facilitate self-rescue. Park rangers do not winch vehicles out. Do not attempt any roads if there is a forecast for heavy rains, which lead to flash flooding. Never cross flooded roads.

You must have a permit on some Needles roads.

 

The Maze

Updated September 23, 2022

  • Highway 24 to Hans Flat: open, passable to high-clearance 2WD vehicles. Sand dunes possible after high wind events. High-clearance 4WD needed to reach Hans Flat after recent heavy rain.
  • Highway 24 to Horseshoe Canyon: open, expect mud after heavy rain, as well as sand. High-clearance AWD/4WD highly recommended.
  • Green River to Hans Flat or Horseshoe Canyon: open, passable to 2WD vehicles but is heavily washboarded and requires high-clearance. Sand dunes possible after high wind events. High-clearance AWD/4WD advised.
  • Hans Flat to top of Flint Trail 4WD Road: open, expect some rough sections; 4WD/AWD recommended
  • Flint Trail 4WD Road: open, rough with some muddy/slick spots after rain. Accessible by most stock 4WD vehicles.
  • Poison Spring 4WD Road: currently impassable between the Dirty Devil River and Sunset pass (Hatch Canyon Road)

Maze roads are challenging and visitors must be prepared with the proper equipment to facilitate self-rescue. Visitors should carry extra supplies in case it takes a day or two for the road to dry out. Cell phone communication is not reliable. Park rangers do not winch vehicles out. Commercial towing fees below the Flint Trail start at over $2,000. Roads rated 4WD must have 4WD with a low range gear (4LO) and high clearance. Other vehicles (e.g., all-wheel-drive vehicles, and low-clearance or high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicles) cannot navigate the rough slickrock, steep ledges, loose rocks, deep sand, and steep switchbacks.

 

Closure and Detour Maps

Below you'll find maps of detours associated with current road closures. See above for details on specific closures and road conditions.

 
Map displays the shafer trail road as temporarily closed.

Shafer Trail Road Closure Detour

Detour to White Rim Road, Canyonlands:

  • Turn onto Potash Road outside of Moab.
  • Proceed 29 miles along this paved and unpaved road. 4WD High Clearance highly recommended.

Last updated: September 28, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

2282 Resource Blvd.
Moab , UT 84532

Phone:

435-719-2313

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