• Spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone in Chesler Park (Needles District)


    National Park Utah

Backcountry Permits

2015 Reservations

  • Reservations can be made online at canypermits.nps.gov up to four months in advance and two days prior to the trip start date.
  • Reservations cancelled prior to two days before the trip start date will receive a credit for a future reservation starting within one year. Please call the Reservation Office at (435) 259-4351.
  • Canyonlands National Park reserves the right to deny or cancel backcountry reservations if the following are deemed to be adversely impacted: visitor use activities (ie. campsites are reserved with no intention of use), Federal regulations or administrative policies, public health or safety, environmental or scenic values, natural or cultural resources.

Needles District Winter Backcountry Permits

Effective November 30, 2014 the visitor center will be closed for the winter. All overnight backcountry use requires a permit. Backcountry permits for the Needles District must be obtained from a self issue station outside the Visitor Center. There are no fee for these permits. All park rules and regulations remain in effect.

Island in the Sky District Winter Backcountry Permits

Effective December 31, 2014 the visitor center will be closed for the winter. All overnight backcountry use, including the White Rim Road requires a permit. It is strongly recommended that winter backcountry permits be obtained online by advance reservations at least two days prior. However, permits may be obtained by calling the Reservation Office (435-259-4351) or in person at the NPS Park Headquarters in Moab. All park rules and regulations remain in effect.


All overnight trips in the backcountry require a permit. In addition, permits are required for horseback riding and four-wheel-drive day use in Horse and Lavender canyons in the Needles District. The Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area shares Canyonlands' western boundary and is administered under the same backcountry management plan and permit/reservation system.

If you're planning a river trip, please visit the river permits page.


Backcountry permits are issued seven days a week at district visitor centers and the Hans Flat Ranger Station. Permits can be reserved in advance (see below). Walk-in permits are only available the day before or the day of a trip. Permits are issued up to one hour before the close of business each day. Please review the backcountry regulations before obtaining a permit.


Are reservations necessary?

Reservations are recommended, but not required. Currently, competition is greatest for White Rim trips during the spring and fall and Needles backpacking trips during spring. For these activities, visitors should apply as early as possible. Campsites and permits not reserved in advance are available on a first-come, first-served basis at district visitor centers.

How to Apply

To check availability or apply for a backcountry permit, visit our online reservation system at canypermits.nps.gov. Once your reservation is processed, you will receive an email with instructions for making a payment at www.pay.gov. Once your payment is received, your permit will be sent by email.

You may also print and complete a reservation form and submit it by email, mail or fax. These reservations will be processed when received. Requested sites may not be available if reserved online prior to processing.

When to Apply

Reservations can be made no more than four months, and no less than two days, prior to the permit start date.


Canyonlands charges a nonrefundable reservation fee for each permit. These fees are paid by both walk-ins and visitors making advance reservations.

Activity Fee Group Size Limit
Per Permit

Island Needles Maze
Backpacking $30 7p 7p 5p
4WD/Mtn. Bike $30 15p/3v 10p/3v 9p/3v
4WD Day Use (Needles) $10 1 vehicle per permit
(p=people, v=vehicles)

Length of Stay

Permits (except day use) can be issued for up to fourteen consecutive nights. Backpackers may stay up to seven consecutive nights in any one site or zone. Visitors using the designated vehicle camps may stay a maximum of three consecutive nights at a camping area before having to relocate.


Reservation Office staff are available by phone to answer questions and assist with trip planning Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon (Mountain Time), at (435) 259-4351. When workload permits, phones may be answered until 4:00 p.m. You may also email questions.

Did You Know?