Wilderness Regulations

Learn and Explore

Know before you go! Familiarize yourself with the regulations and guidelines before entering the inner canyon Wilderness.

Basic Regulations

  • Valid Wilderness Use Permits are required
  • Fires are prohibited. Use camp stoves only.
  • No pets.
  • No hunting or collecting (wood, flowers, plants, animals, rocks, etc).
  • Pack out all trash, including toilet paper.
  • Use pit toilets where available, or use portable waste bags. Otherwise, bury all human waste in at least 6” deep holes at least 100 feet from the river.

 

Leave No Trace Ethics

  • Avoid creating trails and campsites.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance and never feed them.
  • To wash yourself or dishes, carry water 200 feet away from the river and use small amounts of biodegradable soap.
  • Pick up all spilled food.
  • Pack in and pack out everything.
  • Protect wildlife by storing food and trash securely.
  • Do not collect anything.

Why can't I have a campfire?

Dams upstream prevent a natural flow and cycle of driftwood entering the lower canyon. What little organic debris makes its way through the canyon is a vital resource for the recycling of nutrients back into the riverbank and the earth. If you see an old fire ring, please don't be tempted to use it. Bring a small gas stove for cooking in the inner canyon.

Wilderness Use Permits

Permits are required for all inner canyon wilderness use - both day and overnight trips. Permits are available at the South Rim Visitor Center and North Rim Ranger Station.

North Rim permits are:

  • Free
  • Must be obtained on the day of your hike (no reservations)
  • There is a permit self-registration kiosk with instructions when the ranger station is closed. Be sure to thoroughly complete the permit with accurate and legible information.
  • Distributed on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Limited numbers of permits per day

When you have finished your trip, check out with a ranger or, if the building is closed, place your permit in the self-registration box to “check out” of the inner canyon. Warning: inner canyon users without a permit may be cited and/or fined.


South Rim permits are:

  • Free
  • Climbers and kayakers must obtain their permit on the day of their hike. When the visitor center is closed there are permit self-registration kiosks (outside the visitor center doors) with instructions for filling out a permit. Be sure to thoroughly complete the permit with accurate and legible information.
  • Permits for Tomichi/Gunnison/Warner routes are available at the South Rim Visitor Center with two options:
    • The day before a hike - from an hour and a half before the visitor center closes until closure.
    • The day of the hike - during visitor center hours.
    • There is no self-registration permitted on these routes.
  • Permits are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis
  • A limited numbers of permits are available each day

When you have finished your trip, check out with a ranger or, if the building is closed, place your permit in the self-registration box to “check out” of the inner canyon. Warning: inner canyon users without a permit may be cited and/or fined.

Why do we require permits?

Permits help us monitor use of the Wilderness, and to keep tabs on this great resource. They also help us identify potential emergencies by letting us know your expected itinerary. An accurate permit means that we have all the necessary information, should you need help.

What trails don’t need a permit?

  • Established hiking trails, including Rim Rock Nature Trail, Oak Flat Loop Trail, Cedar Point Nature Trail, Warner Point Nature Trail, Uplands Trail, Chasm View Nature Trail, North Vista Trail, Deadhorse Trail
  • Day use anglers and hikers entering the national park from East Portal (all boaters and overnight backpackers do require a permit)

Last updated: July 25, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

102 Elk Creek
(GPS/physical address = 9800 Highway 347, Montrose, CO)

Gunnison, CO 81230

Phone:

(970) 641-2337 x205

Contact Us