Superintendent's Directive N1 Pack and Saddle Stock Use

  • Effective September 6, 2016, horseback riding and pack animal use is restricted to day-use only. The park is revisiting the Backcountry Management Plan to examine impacts caused by increased use in the backcountry.

March 20, 1995


To: All Employees, Southeast Utah Group
From: Superintendent, Southeast Utah Group
Subject: Pack and Saddle Stock Use, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Pack and saddle stock use is considered a valid means of viewing and experiencing Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. "Pack and saddle stock," as designated by the Superintendent, includes horses, burros or mules.

Park management must protect the resources and, at the same time, provide for their use and enjoyment. Due to the possibility of disease transmission from livestock to native animals, especially desert bighorn sheep, certain restrictions are presently considered necessary but are subject to change as specific problems or solutions arise.

Pack and saddle stock use in any part of the parks may be prohibited when, at the discretion of the Superintendent, such action is necessary to protect park values or visitors. Any such closure will be published and posted. The availability of water is a limiting factor in the use of pack and saddle animals; therefore, all users should contact the parks prior to arriving in order to determine current conditions and any possible policy changes.

Conditions applying to pack and saddle stock use are separated by park and enclosed as part of this directive.

/s/ Walter D. Dabney



  1. Pack and saddle stock include horses, burros or mules.
  2. Pack and saddle stock use is permitted upon all designated four-wheel-drive roads within the park which include: the Willow Springs Road, the road from Willow Springs Road to the Salt Valley Road, and the Cache Valley Road. Use is also permitted on the following two-wheel-drive dirt/gravel roads: the Salt Valley Road from the main park road to the west boundary and the Klondike Bluffs Road. All other roads in the park are closed to pack and saddle stock use.
  3. Roadless areas open to pack and saddle stock use are Salt Wash upstream from Wolfe Ranch, Courthouse Wash and Sevenmile Canyon. Travel in these roadless areas is confined to wash bottoms. Leaving wash bottoms to avoid quicksand when it is present is an exception to this regulation.
  4. Pack and saddle stock users are required to obtain a free backcountry permit for overnight trips. Permits can be obtained at the visitor center.
  5. A maximum of 10 people and 10 animals is allowed for overnight and day trips.
  6. The loose herding of pack and saddle stock on park land is prohibited.
  7. Riders will slow their pack and saddle stock to a walk when passing hikers.
  8. Pack and saddle stock may not be ridden or kept overnight in any established roadside campground.
  9. Backcountry camping by pack and saddle stock parties is permitted in all areas authorized for pack and saddle stock use with the following restrictions:
    • Campsites must be one mile from and out of sight of front country facilities and all park roads and one-half mile from designated trails.
    • Campsites must be a minimum of 300 feet from any archaeological site.
    • Campsites and tethering must be a minimum of 300 feet from any non-flowing water source and 100 feet from any flowing water source.
    • Where possible, pack and saddle stock will be watered downstream from the source. Manure must be removed immediately if dropped in or near any spring or non-flowing water source to avoid contamination.
    • Pack and saddle stock must be picketed in locations which least damage the vegetation. They shall not be tied to trees with the exception of tamarisk (salt cedar).
    • Parties are required to pack out all trash and scatter manure upon vacating a campsite.
    • Front country staging areas shall be cleaned up to include both manure and feed (hay and straw).
  10. Accidents resulting in personal injury which occur in the parks must be reported to a park ranger as soon as possible.
  11. Any commercially guided horse or pack stock trip must be provided by an outfitter authorized to operate under the commercial use procedures for Arches National Park.

Last updated: May 4, 2018

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