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

    Canyonlands

    National Park Utah

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Some unpaved roads are closed

    Recent rains have caused extensive damage to some roads in the Needles District and some of the roads into the Maze District. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

    Hard-sided bear containers are required for backpackers in parts of the Needles District. More »

High Water FAQs

River Information

When is high water?

High water typically lasts from mid-May through mid-June, but forecasts now predict cool temperatures may prolong high water season into July.

Where can I find current river flow data?

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ut/nwis/rt
http://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/

White Rim Trips

How does high water affect White Rim Trips?

Once the Green River exceeds 20,000 cfs, the west side of the White Rim Road will likely flood in several places between the Hardscrabble Campsites and the western park boundary. If this occurs, the road will be closed from the southern base of Hardscrabble Hill to the park boundary, making a complete White Rim loop impossible. The Hardscrabble, Labyrinth and Taylor campsites will not be accessible. During the high water period, all groups should carry extra food, fuel and water in case they are forced to exit the park via the Shafer Trail or Potash Road. This may add up to 80 miles to a trip.

River Trips

How does high water affect river trips?

  • Boaters will experience swift, unpredictable currents and cold water (40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). This elevates both the risk of capsized/flipped boats as well as hypothermia for anyone caught in the water. Top-heavy canoes are especially vulnerable to strong eddy currents. Life jackets should be worn at all times.
  • There will be fewer campsites. Look for trails and openings in the vegetation leading to camps above the high water line. Consider joining other groups in camp. Do not make new campsites by destroying vegetation.
  • Travel times will be faster. Carry a map and check your pace. There will be great demand for campsites between the Confluence and Spanish Bottom.
  • River flows can change dramatically overnight. Secure boats using strong rope and permanent anchor points (e.g. trees, large boulders). Camping on islands is not recommended.
  • The road to the Mineral Bottom ramp may be flooded at flows above 30,000 cfs. If this occurs, vehicles left at the Mineral Bottom parking lot will be stranded until the water recedes.

Cataract Canyon

How does high water affect Cataract Canyon?

During high water, Cataract Canyon is considered a Class V run marked by large, unavoidable crashing waves and massive holes. All groups should have the appropriate gear, skill and experience to both navigate and self-rescue in high-volume, Class V water. High-float life jackets (with more than 23 pounds of floatation) are recommended for all white water boaters during this time.

Will NPS rangers be stationed below the Big Drops?

No. NPS rangers will be patrolling the rivers during the high water period, and may occasionally be in the canyon below the Big Drop Rapids. However, their presence or assistance is not guaranteed and they should not be considered a safety net for boaters.

General Information

Can I cancel my trip?

Trips may be canceled at any time by contacting the Reservation Office. There are no refunds.

Can I reschedule my trip?

Trips may be rescheduled for a later date during the same calendar year by contacting the Reservation Office. The rescheduling of White Rim trips is subject to site availability.

Did You Know?

Kangaroo Rat

One animal uniquely adapted to life in the desert is the kangaroo rat. This rat lives its entire life consuming nothing but plant matter. Its body produces water by metabolizing the food it eats. More...