Backcountry Regulations

Hard-Sided Bear-Resistant Containers

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 IGBC-approved and hard-sided bear-resistant containers. View the news release announcing this change.

The following regulations appear on all backcountry permits issued by Canyonlands. Additional regulations apply for river trips and horse/pack trips.

General Regulations
  • Permits are required for all overnight trips in the backcountry. Permits are also required for four-wheel-drive day use in Lavender, Horse and Salt Creek Canyons in the Needles.
  • Permits are valid only for the dates, areas and number of people listed.
  • All vehicles, motorcycles and bikes must remain on designated roads. Roads may be deemed impassable and temporarily closed for multiple reasons. ATVs/OHVs are not allowed.
  • Wood campfires are not allowed. Cooking with a charcoal fire in a firepan is allowed at vehicle campsites. All charcoal residue must be packed out.
  • All garbage must be removed from the backcountry, including toilet paper.
  • Food must be stored securely to prevent animals from gaining access to it.
  • All camping activities must remain within campsite boundaries at designated sites. Camps in at-large zones must be one mile from a road and in low-impact areas like slickrock.
  • Camping within 300 feet of an archaeological site, historic site or water source is not allowed.
  • All natural objects and cultural artifacts are protected and must be left where they are found. Touching rock art and drawing graffiti is not allowed.
  • Pets, discharging firearms, hunting and feeding wildlife are prohibited.
  • Caching food, water or supplies is allowed with written notification of the district ranger. No damage to resources may occur and all items must be removed.
  • Swimming or bathing is only allowed in the Green and Colorado rivers.
Activity-Specific Regulations
  • A washable/reusable toilet system or human waste disposal bag is required when camping at the Maze District vehicle campsites; at the Chesler Park and Elephant Canyon backpacking campsites and the Peekaboo and New Bates Wilson vehicle campsites in the Needles District; and within ½ mile of the Green and Colorado rivers. More...
  • A high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle (low range) is required for the White Rim Road and all Needles and Maze district backcountry roads.
  • Campers at Salt Creek 1, 2, 3 and 4 campsites and the Salt/Horse Zone in the Needles must store all food, beverages, and associated containers, garbage, and all scented items in an IGBC-approved and hard-sided bear-resistant container at least 100 feet from camp. More...
  • Camping is not permitted in Horseshoe Canyon, on Pete's Mesa or within sight of the Maze Overlook.
  • Hiking in the Doll House is restricted to designated trails.
  • Trips using portable, inflatable boats (packrafts) to navigate short sections (two miles or less) of the Colorado and Green rivers above the confluence must carry a PFD or inflatable USCG-approved life vest for each person, and an approved toilet system or human waste disposal bag (e.g. PETT, Wag Bag, or Rest Stop II). (Packrafts merely crossing the rivers are exempt from these requirements.)
  • Trips traveling more than two miles or below the confluence must obtain a river permit and are subject to river regulations and required equipment.

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