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


    National Park Utah

Backcountry Permits

2014 Reservations

  • Reservations can be made online at canypermits.nps.gov.
  • Reservations must be made no more than four months, and no fewer than two days, prior to the permit start date.
  • * Canyonlands National Park reserves the right to deny or cancel backcountry reservations if deemed: to hinder maximum public access (ie. campsites are reserved with no intention of use), a threat to visitor safety, a threat to park resources, in violation of park rules and regulations.

New Bear Resistant Container Policy

Effective May 1, 2014, all backcountry permit holders for the Upper Salt Creek and Salt/Horse Zones in the Needles District are required to store food and beverages, scented items, and garbage in approved, hard sided, bear resistant containers. View the news release announcing this change.

New Human Waste Disposal Policy

Effective September 22, 2013, people camping at sites in Chesler Park, Elephant Canyon and at Peekaboo will be required to pack out their human waste. View the news release announcing this change.


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.

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?

Common Raven

The common raven displays abilities to play and problem-solve rare among animals. This member of the crow family is also very vocal, using a variety of sounds for communication. Perhaps because of these qualities, ravens have achieved a certain stature in both European and Native American folklore. More...