Arches National Park
As provided in 16 USC, Section 3, and Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Chapter I, Parts 1-7, the following Superintendent's Orders are established for Arches National Park. Unless otherwise noted, these orders apply in addition to the regulations contained in Parts 1-7 of Title 36 CFR.
This compendium is organized, with reference to the applicable sections, of Title 36 CFR . For example, (the order entitled 1.5 closures and public use limits), is addressed in section in 1.5 Title 36 CFR.
I have determined these actions are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety, protection of environmental or scenic values, protection of natural or cultural resources, aid to scientific research, implementation of management responsibilities, equitable allocation and use of facilities, or the avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities.
36 CFR 1.5 Closures and Public Use Limits
Road closures and restrictions
The following roads and parking areas are closed to all public vehicle traffic except for those on official government business:
Invited guests of employees residing in government housing may access administrative roadways in housing areas.
Four-wheel drive and clearance of at least eight (8) inches is required for West Valley Jeep Road (roadway from Tower Arch Road to Willow Springs Road, also known as “Four-Wheel Drive Road”) and Tower Arch Road (roadway from Salt Valley Road to Tower Arch parking lot).
All park roads are subject to temporary closures as indicated by signs or other meansof notification during periods of adverse weather, natural disaster, emergency, or implementation of management responsibilities.
A Jeep, sport utility vehicle (SUV), or truck type with at least 15-inch tire rims and at least eight (8) inches of clearance from the lowest point of the frame, body, suspension, or differential to the ground. Four-wheel-drive vehicles have a driveshaft that can directly power each wheel at the same time and a transfer case that can shift between powering two wheels or four wheels in low or high gear. All-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles do not meet this definition.
Use limits, conditions, and restrictions
Rock Climbing and Canyoneering
The following closures, conditions, and restrictions apply to rock climbing or similar activities such as, but not limited to, technical rock climbing, free climbing and clean aid climbing and canyoneering within Arches National Park:
Climbing and canyoneering within Arches National Park shall be either free climbing or clean aid climbing, and includes the following conditions:
Technical Rock Climbing is defined as ascending or descending a rock formation utilizing rock climbing equipment.
Free Climbing and Clean Aid Climbing are minimum impact approaches that employ chocks, stoppers, nuts and camming devices, rather than pitons or bolts, for protection or direct support. These are climbing aids that are removable, do not damage or scar the rock, and do not become fixed after ascent.
Aid Climbing is the direct use of a fixed or placed protection (pitons, nuts, bolts, rivets, spring-loaded cams, etc.) to support a climber’s weight and assist in the climber’s ascent. In general, aid techniques are reserved for pitches where free climbing is difficult to impossible, and extremely steep and long routes. Most difficult aid climbs still require pitons or other techniques using a hammer.
Canyoneering is defined as cross country travel involving descending into canyons or major rock formations using a variety of techniques that are associated with technical descents—those that require rappels and rope work, climbing or down-climbing, and/or swims.
Slacklining or Slinglining is defined as walking on a rope or other line that is anchored between rock formations, trees, or any other natural features. Height of the rope above the ground is immaterial.
Hang Gliders, BASE Jumping, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Arches National Park is closed to the use of hang gliders, paragliders, and parachutes. BASE jumping is prohibited in Arches National Park. 36 CFR 2.17 (a)(3); NPS Management Policies 2006, 188.8.131.52.
Launching, landing, or operating a remotely piloted aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Arches National Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent. 36 CFR 1.5
Definition: The term “remotely piloted aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g. model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation and commerce.
No use of vehicles is allowed off of designated roads. 36 CFR 4.10(a), (b).
All motor vehicles operated within the boundaries of Arches National Park must have a valid state registration as a “motor vehicle,” display a valid state license plate(s), and be operated by someone in possession of a valid state issued operator’s license. Motorcycles that are registered for road use are allowed. 36 CFR 4.2.
All vehicles must be equipped to legally operate on interstate highways. 36 CFR 1.5
Engine Idling and Generators
Operators are prohibited from running generators in the park, with the following exceptions:
Drivers of motor vehicles are prohibited from idling their engines, with the following exceptions:
Swimming and bathing
The following restrictions apply to all park lands:
Artificial Light Sources
The use of artificial light sources for purposes other than personal route-finding or minimum impact camping—that is, to light up landscapes, rock formations, or other park features—is prohibited.
The use of fixed lines (any line made from any material which is stretched between two points) is prohibited except for tie downs used in conjunction with tarps or tents affixed to ground stakes. This includes but is not limited to clothes lines, dog runs, hammocks or slack lines, and prohibits attachment to vegetation, natural features, or government property. This regulation does not apply to recreational climbing.
36 CFR 1.6 Permits
(c) Permits are required within Arches National Park for the following (36 Code of Federal Regulations) activities:
Permits will be specific in nature to the activity being permitted. In those cases where permit use is frequent, a specific permit form has been designed, i.e. backcountry permit, entrance and campground fee permits, canyoneering, rock climbing, and commercial filming permits. In most other cases a special use permit or letter of authorization will be prepared which will articulate the specific conditions under which the permitted activity is authorized. In all cases a permit or letter of authorization must be in the permittee's possession at all times and must be presented to any authorized person upon request.
Recreational Fee Permits for overnight stays in Devils Garden Campground will be issued as posted. The receipt must be inserted in the box located at the appropriate campsite within 30 minutes of occupying a campsite.
(e) Terms and conditions of the Fiery Furnace permit system are as follows:
2.1 Preservation of natural, cultural and archaeological resources
(b) Leaving a trail or walkway to shortcut between portions of the same trail or walkway or to shortcut to an adjacent trail or walkway is prohibited.
2.2 Wildlife Protection
(d) Wildlife lawfully taken outside of Arches National Park may be transported non-stop through the park using the following roads and in the following directions (outbound from the park only):
Vehicles transporting lawfully taken wildlife being transported as outlined above will not be allowed to stop at designated pullouts, road shoulders, or parking lots except in cases of emergency.
Wildlife carcasses will display a valid state game tag. Animals must be covered or out of sight. Persons transporting will have in their possession a valid state hunting license. Wildlife being transported through the park must meet all State of Utah Big Game Proclamation requirements pertaining to tagging and transporting of big game.
Hunters must possess only weapons that meet the definition of “unloaded” during cross-park transport (36 CFR 1.4: “Bows, crossbows, spear guns or any implement capable of discharging a missile or similar device by means of a loading or discharging mechanism, when that loading or discharging mechanism is not charged or drawn.”). Firearms are exempt; state laws apply.
(e) The viewing of wildlife or areas frequented by wildlife using a hand-held light, vehicle headlight, or any other type of mounted light within the park is prohibited.
2.4 Weapons, traps and nets
(d)(4) The superintendent may issue a permit to carry or possess a weapon, trap, or net within the park in order to provide access to otherwise inaccessible lands or waters contiguous to the park, when other means of access are impractical or impossible.
(h) Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, a person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable firearms within a national park area in accordance with the laws of the state in which the national park area, or that portion thereof, is located, except as otherwise prohibited by applicable Federal law.
2.10 Camping and Food Storage
Devils Garden Campground (including the group sites) is the only designated campground. Camping in the backcountry is subject to terms established by a backcountry permit.
Devils Garden Campground:
Devils Garden Campground Group Campsites:
(d) Backpackers/cyclists/motorcyclists must store food and other scented items in such a way as to prevent access by wildlife.
Picnicking shall be allowed in all areas except:
Garbage must be disposed of in designated receptacles and may not be left in bags or other soft containers. Food must be stored in vehicles or hardened containers (with securing mechanisms in place) except when being prepared or consumed.
Except during fire restrictions:
The collection of firewood and tinder (including dead fall) from the park is prohibited.
The use of the fire pit at Devils Garden Amphitheater is restricted to NPS personnel only. Any other use of this fire pit must be approved in advance by the superintendent.
The use of portable stoves, including charcoal burners, is permitted in the picnic areas and campground.
Fires may not be kindled in backcountry areas; only portable, self-contained stoves are allowed.
2.14 Sanitation and Refuse
(c) Solid human waste and toilet paper must be carried out of the backcountry by permitted overnight backcountry users. Toilet systems must be of the type that uses dry chemical/enzymes to render solid human waste into nonhazardous products, approved for disposal in landfills. Toilet systems must be disposed of in designated trash receptacles. Disposal of these systems in park toilet facilities is prohibited. Burning toilet paper is prohibited.
(a)(1) Dogs (except certified service dogs), cats, and other pets are prohibited on any park land or trail (including buildings) except in those locations identified below:
Service dogs and service horses that are trained to perform a specific task to support a person with a disability are allowed. Therapy dogs/animals, companion dogs, comfort dogs, and the like,are not service dogs. Owners of service dogs and service horses must comply with pet waste and restraint regulations, unless restraint specifically interferes with the task the dog/horse istrained to perform..
Pets may not be led by leash from a bicycle or vehicle within Arches National Park.
(a)(3) Leaving a pet unattended is prohibited, except in the following circumstances:
(a)(5) Pet excrement must be immediately collected by the pet handler and disposed of in the nearest trash receptacle.
(e) Pets kept by park residents will be maintained consistent with the provisions of this section and in accordance with provisions established by the Superintendent’s Housing Directive. The Directive is hereby adopted and made part of these orders.
2.16 Horses and Pack Animals
(a) Animals designated as pack animals shall be limited to the following:
(b) The use of saddle and pack animals in road-less areas is prohibited except as follows:
The use of saddle and pack animals on park roads is prohibited except as follows:
(g) The following conditions are established for use of horses or pack animals:
(a) Smoking and the use of electronic smoking devices is prohibited in all public use and administrative buildings and facilities, and in all government-owned or -leased vehicles.
(a)(2) Park visitors may leave their vehicles unattended in excess of 24 hours for the period of time specified on their backcountry camping permit.
Traditional geocaches are prohibited. Geocaching is defined as the placement of a cache within the park boundaries and distributing the coordinates, or other clues to the coordinates, for the purpose of locating the cache at a later date.
Virtual caches or waymarks are permitted in areas open to the public.
2.35 Alcoholic Beverages and Controlled Substances
(a)(3)(i) All public use buildings of the park are closed to the consumption of alcoholic beverages except during officially sanctioned activities when the building is closed to the general public.
2.51 Public assemblies, meetings
Locations designated as “First Amendment” areas—that is, available for demonstrations, the sale or distribution of printed matter, and the free distribution of other message-bearing items—are shown on the “First Amendment” maps in Appendix C.
Alternative locations may be approved by the superintendent on a case-by-case basis, and will be reviewed to ensure that the activity(ies) will not cause injury or damage to park resources; unreasonably impair the atmosphere of peace and tranquility maintained in wilderness, natural, historic, or commemorative zones; unreasonably interfere with interpretive, visitor service, or other program activities, or with the administrative activities of the National Park Service; substantially impair the operation of public use facilities or services of National Park Service concessioners, holders of commercial use authorizations, or contractors; present a clear and present danger to the public health and safety; or be incompatible with the nature and traditional use of the particular park area involved.
Note: Gathering for the purpose of expressing views and making statements such as is protected under the First Amendment does not require a permit as long as the activity takes place in one of the designated “First Amendment” areas indicated in this document and the involved group is less than 25 people. Groups larger than 25 people need a Special Use Permit. Printed matter used as part of a “First Amendment” activity may beallowed in the “First Amendment” area (see Appendix C) without a permit for groups less than 25 people.
2.52 Sale or distribution of printed matter
Printed matter is limited to message-bearing textual printed material such as books, pamphlets, magazines, and leaflets, provided that it is not solely commercial advertising.
All undeveloped areas are open to the scattering of human ashes from cremation, pursuant to conditions of a Special Use Permit issued by the superintendent, with the exception of archeological sites and water sources described below
Human ashes may not be scattered in any standing pools of water, potholes, or side streams and creeks.
4.21 Speed Limits
(b) The speed limit on backcountry roads within the park is 15 miles per hour unless otherwise posted. Speed limits on paved roads within the park are as posted.
(i)(1) Bicycles and electric bicycles are allowed on park roads and in parking areas that are open to motor vehicle use by the public.
Appendix D: Area Closures for Wildlife Protection
AREA PROTECTION - Wildlife
February 4, 2021
Climbing Area Closures for Wildlife Protection
Closures to climbing routes will remain in effect through the end of the termination date specified below, or until surveys determine the associated habitats to be unoccupied by nesting raptors and/or lambing bighorn sheep.
54 U.S.C. Section 10075 l(a) and Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations§ 1.5(a)(2) gives authority to Park Superintendents to impose restrictions on activities within park areas for the maintenance of public health and safety.
When the COVID-19 Community Level is LOW or MEDIUM in the county or all the counties where the park is located based on data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals are not required to wear masks.
Public Notice Strategy
Pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.7 notice of this temporary and partial closure and public use limitation will be made through the following means:
This order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until rescinded. The effectiveness of this order will be assessed on an ongoing basis and will be modified or rescinded when conditions warrant.
Approved: /s/ Patricia S. Trap, Superintendent
Last updated: April 7, 2023