Campfires are allowed in NPS-provided receptacles (fire rings and grills) and along Lake Powell's shoreline below high-water level (3,700 feet), except within developed areas. Do not leave trash in fire rings. Fireworks are illegal. Check the Superintendent's Compendium for specifics.
Check for fire restrictions in effect due to high fire danger conditions. Such restrictions are a regular part of hot, dry summer months, but can occur any time of year.
Campgrounds Operated by National Park Service
Campgrounds Operated by Park Concessioners
Lake Powell Shoreline Primitive Camping
There is no camping fee or permit required to camp on the lake in undeveloped areas. However, entrance fees and vessel use fees apply. You can camp anywhere on the shorelines of Lake Powell except in developed marinas.
When planning a camping trip by boat or 4-wheel-drive road in Glen Canyon, it is best to buy a map beforehand. These show the side canyons, good hiking spots, points of interest and marinas, explain the navigation system, and may provide fishing information. In an emergency you will need to report your location on Marine Band 16 or call 911.
The main channel varies in depth from 100 to 600 feet. It is recommended that you anchor on a beach for the night, as high winds can move boats into rocks and cause damage. There are no motor vehicles, off-road vehicles or bicycles allowed in Glen Canyon's roadless areas.
All campsites are required to have a portable toilet unless toilets are available on the vessel or within 200 yards of the campsite. Regular water-quality checks are conducted to ensure compliance with sanitation laws. Pets are allowed on beaches as long as waste is cleaned up. Dispose of waste properly. Burying waste of any kind on the beach is prohibited. Waste may not be contained in a plastic bag unless it is an NPS-approved Waste Bag Containment System, which must be deposited in the trash.
When anchoring multiple houseboats on the same beach, park at least 100 feet apart to help reduce carbon monoxide buildup. It is not a good idea to tie powerboat or personal-watercraft lines to houseboat-anchor lines, as they can cause the anchor lines to come loose. Do not camp under overhanging rocks, as downpouring rain can sink a vessel. Ground fires of wood only are allowed below the high water line. Fires must be no more than 4 feet wide and 4 feet high. Fireworks are illegal.
Colorado River Primitive Camping, Between Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry
Do not boat below the cable downstream from the Lees Ferry launch ramp. There are dangerous rapids below the cable. Downstream waters are restricted. A permit is required from Grand Canyon National Park to float this section of the river.
Camping is limited to 14 days. Camping is permitted in designated areas only. There are five designated areas, marked with signs, on a first-come, first-served basis. Upriver campsites are provided with toilets and fire pits. All campsites are located well above the river and require a short walk from your boat. This is to prevent camps from being damaged by high water releases.
Fires are permitted only in the fireplaces provided or in portable fire pans. No ground fires are allowed. If portable fire pans are used, all burned charcoal must be carried out. Collection of wood is prohibited.
Carry out all litter and garbage. There is no regular garbage collection upriver. Plastic litter bags are available free of charge at the ranger station. Dumpsters are available at the launch ramps for garbage disposal.
Federal law prohibits the disturbance, defacement, or removal of historic or archeological sites. Do not deface rocks and cliffs. Do not disturb plants or animals, and do not feed wildlife.
There are no fees or permits required to camp upriver. Entrance fees and vessel use fees apply.
Land-based Backcountry Camping
Dispersed camping is allowed throughout Glen Canyon's backcountry, with some restrictions. Dispersed camping is NOT allowed in the vicinity of developed recreation areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas, or trailheads. There are extra responsibilities and skills that are necessary for dispersed camping. Visit the Hiking page for more details on backcountry trip planning.
Leave No Trace
Make every attempt to leave the backcountry nicer than you found it. “Take only pictures and leave only footprints” is a good reminder. Do not remove anything from the canyon. Leave the flowers, rocks and everything else for others to enjoy.
If you are going to an area where others have camped before, pick a site that has been used before. The best sites are found, not made. Camp on bare soil if possible, to avoid damage or killing plants and grass.
Dispersed camping means no services (such as trash removal) and little or no facilities (such as tables and fire pits) are provided. You must be self-contained and self-sufficient. Carry out all litter and garbage, including soild pet waste.
Follow the principles of Leave No Trace.
Human Waste Disposal
All human body waste solids shall be contained and carried out using a portable toilet or a specifically engineered bag waste containment system. Use of a plastic or paper bag as a receptacle for solid human waste and/or for disposal of solid human waste is prohibited unless part of a specifically engineered bag waste containment system containing enzymes and polymers to treat human solid waste, capable of being sealed securely and state approved for disposal in ordinary trash receptacles. Visitors are responsible for providing their own removal system that is adequate for the size of their group and length of stay. Packing out human waste is required in Coyote Gulch, within 1/4 mile of the shore of Lake Powell, the San Juan River, Escalante River, Dirty Devil River or the Colorado River, and anywhere else the minimum 300 feet from a water source cannot be attained.
Read more details about proper waste disposal in the Superintendent's Compendium.
Group Size Limits
When camping 100 feet or more from Lake Powell's shoreline, and outside designated campgrounds, group size for hiking and/or camping should not exceed 12 people and 3 vehicles. Groups greater than 12 people shall split into groups of 12 or fewer, and camp at least 1/2 mile apart.
Backcountry permits are required for all overnight stays in the Escalante District of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Obtain permits at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center in the town of Escalante or at one of the entry trailheads. Day use does not require a backcountry permit, but please sign the trail register.
Backcountry camping in the Orange Cliffs area of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area requires a permit from Canyonlands National Park.
Last updated: February 16, 2021