Overnight Backcountry Permits

2015-2016 Winter Backcountry Permits

Needles: The Needles Visitor Center will be closed November 29, 2015 – March 4, 2016. A backcountry permit for all overnight use and for day use on Elephant Hill Road is required. Permits are available self issue outside the Needles Visitor Center main entrance or at the NPS headquarters in Moab during normal business hours. There is no fee for these permits.

Island in the Sky: The Island in the Sky Visitor Center will be closed December 30, 2015 – March 4, 2016. A backcountry permit for all overnight use and for day use on the White Rim Road is required. Permits are only available online (canypermits.nps.gov) up to two days prior to a trip start and at the NPS headquarters in Moab during normal business hours. There is no fee for these permits.

All overnight trips in the backcountry require a permit. 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.

Permits are also required for:

You must have a printed and signed permit in your possession during your entire trip. A permit is not valid from any mobile device.

  • Canyonlands National Park reserves the right to deny or cancel backcountry reservations if the following are deemed to be adversely impacted: visitor use activities (e.g., 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.

When to Apply

Backcountry permits are issued seven days a week at district visitor centers and the Hans Flat Ranger Station (hours vary). You can reserve permits in advance (see below). Walk-in permits are available no more than 24 hours before the trip. Permits are issued up to one hour before the close of business each day. Please review the backcountry regulations before obtaining a permit.

How to Apply

Do I Need a Reservation?

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 first-come, first-served basis at district visitor centers.

Making a Reservation

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 online. 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 someone reserved the same site online before your printed reservation is processing.

When to Reserve

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


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

Activity Fee
Group Size Limit
Per Permit

Island in the Sky The Needles The Maze
Backpacking $30 7 people 7 people 5 people
Four-Wheel-Drive / Mtn. Bike $30 15 people /
3 vehicles
10 people /
3 vehicles
9 people /
3 vehicles

Length of Stay

Overnight permits can be issued for up to 14 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.

Road Conditions

For up-to-date road conditions, contact the district visitor centers, road conditions web page, or Reservation Office at (435) 259-4351. Salt Creek and Horse Canyon are often impassable with flash flooding. Peekaboo campsite reservation holders and day-use permit holders must contact the Needles District Visitor Center, (435) 259- 4711 the day of or day prior to 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.


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

Did You Know?