• 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 »

  • Safety in Bear Country

    Black bears have been seen in the Needles, Maze, and along the Colorado River. Be alert and store food and garbage properly: in hard-sided, latched containers (or your vehicle) when not being prepared or consumed. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

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

Backpacking in the Needles

Backpackers take a break while exploring Horse Canyon in the Needles.
Backpackers take a break while exploring Horse Canyon in the Needles.
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 

The Needles is the most popular backpacking destination in the park. Most trailheads are accessible by two-wheel-drive vehicles, and water may be found seasonally in many of the canyons east of Chesler Park. Inquire at the visitor center about the status of backcountry water sources.

Permits are required for all overnight trips in the backcountry. During the spring and fall, demand for permits frequently exceeds the number available. If you plan to visit Canyonlands during peak season -- especially during spring break (March) -- it is recommended that you make reservations well in advance.

Designated campsites (one group per site) have been established along most trails. In some areas without designated camp sites, groups may camp at-large.

Did You Know?

Biological Soil Crust

The dirt is alive! A living crust called "Biological Soil Crust" covers much of Canyonlands and the surrounding area. Composed of algae, lichens and bacteria, this crust provides a secure foundation for desert plants. Please stay on roads and trails to avoid trampling this important resource. More...