Superintendent's Compendium

Canyonlands National Park

October 2022

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 Canyonlands 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.

/s/ Paul Larson, Acting Superintendent & Chief Ranger,
October 13, 2022


36 CFR 1.5 Closures and Public Use Limits

Roads Closures and Restrictions

The following roads and parking areas are closed to all vehicle traffic or restricted as noted except for those on official government business:

The Needles District

  • Dirt road leading from paved road to water well.
  • Road located approximately 100 yards east of maintenance area leading to generator building.
  • Dirt road leading south from loop road, located approximately 200 yards west of the ranger station.
  • Dirt road off Salt Creek access road approximately 200 yards from Wooden Shoe Creek.
  • Road to residence area.
  • High clearance four-wheel drive is required on motor vehicles travelling on the following roads: Elephant Hill, Salt Creek, Horse Canyon, Lavender Canyon, Lockhart Canyon, and Colorado Overlook Road.

Island in the Sky District

  • Road to maintenance and residence area
  • Dirt road near Grand View Point leading from paved road to radio repeater shed.
  • Dirt road near Island in the Sky Campground leading to a maintenance storage/supply area.
  • Dirt road adjacent to Shafer day-use parking area leading to a maintenance storage/supply area.
  • The Shafer day-use parking area is closed from one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise.
  • High clearance four-wheel drive is required on motor vehicles travelling on the following roads: White Rim Road.

The Maze District

  • High clearance four-wheel drive is required on motor vehicles, travelling on the following roads:
    1. From the North Point Trailhead to Panorama Point and Cleopatra's Chair;
    2. From the start of the Flint Trail and beyond to the Golden Stairs, Maze Overlook and to Waterhole Flat;
    3. From Waterhole Flat to Teapot Rock on into The Land of Standing Rocks and the Doll House.

All park roads and lands are subject to temporary closures as indicated by signs or other means of notification during periods of adverse weather, natural disaster, emergency, or implementation of management responsibilities.

Invited guests of employees residing in government housing may access administrative roadways in housing areas.


High Clearance Four-Wheel-Drive (4WD) Vehicles

A Jeep, sport utility vehicle (SUV), or truck type with at least 15-inch tire rims and at least eight 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 wheel or four wheels in low or high gear. All wheel drive (AWD) vehicles do not meet this definition.

Use Limits, Conditions, and Restrictions

The following public use limits, conditions and restrictions are established within Canyonlands National Park:

Island in the Sky District

  • Fort Bottom is day-use only with the exception of two river camping sites available to boaters only.
  • All vehicle, motorcycles, and bicycles on White Rim Road, excluding the Potash Road and Shafer Trail, must obtain and possess a Day-use Permit. Group size is limited to three vehicles and 15 bicycles. Groups must be separated by 30 minutes of travel time. The number of Day-use Permits for the White Rim road system is limited to a maximum of 50 per day.

The Needles District

  • Virginia Park is closed to all entry except by permit.
  • All vehicle, motorcycles, and bicycles on the backcountry roads accessed from Elephant Hill Trailhead and Parking Lot, including travel from the South Boundary, must obtain and have in their possession a Day-use Permit. Group size is limited to three vehicles and 12 bicycles. Groups must be separated by 30 minutes of travel time. The number of Day Use Permits for the Elephant Hill road system is limited to a maximum of 24 per day.
  • All vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles on Lavender Canyon Road and Peekaboo/Horse Canyon Road must obtain and have in their possession a Day-use Permit. A separate trip leader must be established for each vehicle/motorcycle/bicycle, and the trip leaders name must be on the Day-use Permit. The number of Day-use Permits for Lavender Canyon is limited to a maximum of eight (8) per day. The number of Day Use Permits for Horse/Salt Creek canyons is limited to a maximum of 10 per day.
  • The upper two miles of Elephant Canyon, the Confluence Overlook, the Joint Trail, and Lockhart Canyon are designated as day-use only areas.
  • Lower Big Spring and Lower Little Spring canyons, Lower Salt Creek (below Lower Jump), and Lower Elephant Canyon are closed to all human entry from March 15 to September 1, for the protection of desert bighorn sheep.

The Maze District

  • Horseshoe Canyon, Pete’s Mesa, and areas below and visible from Maze Overlook are limited to day-use only.
  • Jasper Canyon is closed to entry from the canyon head near Chimney Rock camp downstream to the Jump. Views into Jasper Canyon are possible and allowed from many locations along the canyon rim.
  • To reduce impacts from trampling and multiple trailing, only designated trails may be used when hiking in the Doll House area of The Maze district
  • Groups within the Horseshoe Canyon unit must not have more than 20 persons present. Larger groups are only permitted when on a guided interpretive program or when divided into smaller groups that travel separately.

River District

NOTE: ‘vessel’ and ‘boat’ are terms used interchangeably in this document; a boat is a vessel, a vessel is a boat.
  • Cataract Canyon from lower Red Lake Canyon to the mouth of Y and Cross canyons is restricted to day-use only from December 1 to February 28, for the protection of bald eagles.
  • All vessels must meet applicable State of Utah aquatic invasive species decontamination requirements.
  • The towing of persons by vessels on all waters within Canyonlands National Park is prohibited.
  • Upstream motorized travel and “up-running” in Cataract Canyon is prohibited except when authorized in writing by the superintendent, pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5 and 1.6. Cataract Canyon is defined as that portion of the Colorado River beginning with the first rapid which is known as Rapid #1 (approximately at river mile 212.3), and continuing downstream to the park boundary which is located at Big Drop Two (approximately at river mile 202.5). Upstream travel below this 5 point is regulated by the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Compendium which prohibits upstream travel between the mouth of Imperial Canyon (river mile 200) and Big Drop Two.

    Upstream motorized travel is defined as travel by any type of motorized vessel predominately against the current through Cataract Canyon as defined above. Motorized vessels are permitted to use eddy currents in rapids to re-run the tail- waves of the rapid. The beginning of the rapid is where the current speed increases dramatically, or the area known as the “tongue.” The tongue of a rapid is the “v” shaped patch of smooth water that has not yet been aerated by the wave action.

    This section does not apply to authorized Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties; and to National Park Service employees engaged in emergency operations and/or administrative activities.
  • Portable Floatation Devices (PFDs), also known as life jackets, that are specifically designed for “whitewater use” are required in Cataract Canyon. PFDs approved for use on whitewater trips must have a U.S. Coast Guard label that specifies the intended use as "whitewater rafting" or "kayaking, canoeing, paddling or sailing." General use, universal, general boating and water ski PFDs are not approved for use in whitewater, but are allowed on flat water-only trips. PFDs must be in good condition (‘serviceable’) with a legible label; no rips, tears or excessive sun damage; all buckles and fasteners functioning; and no repairs or after-market modifications. Inflatable PFDs are not allowed on rivers in Utah.
  • The caching of boats and equipment for more than 24 hours is subject to pre-approval (by a district ranger) and special terms, to include: the cache must be labeled with a permit holder’s name, date, and permit number. Cache must be stored such that visitor groups can occupy the site. All equipment, food, or garbage left unattended must be fully secured in heavy duty, durable animal- and wind-proof containers, and the cache will be secure from wildlife and not buried.
  • River Use Permit holders are required to have at a minimum the following equipment: first aid kit adequate for the size of the group, length of trip, and type of activity; one spare properly fitted serviceable personal floatation device per every 10 participants or one per boat, whichever is fewer; a repair kit; air pump (for inflatable boats only); a bailing device (does not apply to self-bailing boats); a fire extinguisher (US Coast Guard approved) appropriate for size of vessel; and a rigid durable metal fire pan that is large enough to fully contain all fire ash and debris. (see 2.13)
  • Groups must travel together and may not separate for the purpose of securing camps ahead of other permitted groups.

Vessel Size

  • No vessel in excess of 50 feet in length shall be operated on waters within Canyonlands National Park.
  • In Cataract Canyon, inboard vessels are not permitted unless the following is met:
    1. The vessal is constructed as a rigid-hull-inflatable style with either an inflatable or foam collar.
    2. The vessal has at least five (5) sealed compartments, designed and constructed into the boat as the hull and collar.
      1. For boats with inflatable collars, each separate valved section is considered one sealed compartment, provided all baffles are intact. For boats with foam collars, the collar is considered to be two (2) sealed compartments (port and starboard sides); an additional three (3) sealed compartments are still required.
      2. The boat hull must be at least one sealed compartment OR have a collar that is at least two sealed compartments. Sealed hull compartments most be fully welded and air tight.
    3. Vessals must comply with all noise limits as specified in 36 CFR 3.15.


  • Individuals using packrafts for river travel (rafts designed to be carried inside of a backpack), must obtain a River Use Permit and comply with all boating regulations, except they do not have to carry a spare PFD or spare paddle.

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 within Canyonlands National Park:


  • Climbing, scrambling, or walking upon, wrapping webbing or rope around, or rappelling from any arch with an opening greater than 3 feet, except for Washer Woman in the Island in the Sky district, is prohibited.
  • The entire Salt Creek Archeological District, which includes Salt Creek, Horse, and Lost canyons, and upper Davis and Lavender canyons, is closed to climbing and canyoneering.
  • The detached Horseshoe Canyon Unit of The Maze district is closed to climbing and canyoneering.


  • Permits are not required for day-use rock climbing or canyoneering. A Backcountry Use Prmit is required for overnight climbing, bivying, or canyoneering in the backcountry.


Climbing and canyoneering within Canyonlands National Park shall be either free climbing or clean aid climbing, except as described below.

  • No new permanent fixed anchors may be installed in any location, except by permit (Special Use Permit). If an existing bolt or other hardware item is unsafe, it may be replaced, without a permit. Anchor hardware must be painted the color of the rock surface before installation. The installation and use of pitons are prohibited. Homemade hardware is prohibited.
  • If an existing software item (sling, runner etc.) is unsafe, it may be replaced. Software (webbing, accessory cords, etc.) that is left in place shall match the rock surface in color.
  • The intentional removal of lichen or plants from rock is prohibited.
  • The physical altering of rock faces including, but not limited to chiseling, glue reinforcement of existing holds, and gluing of new holds is prohibited.
  • The use of motorized power drills is prohibited in areas managed as wilderness. Outside of wilderness, a motorized drill requires a permit (Special Use Permit).
  • Use of white chalk is prohibited. Chalk must be earth tone in color and match the color of the rock surface.
  • Fixed ropes may not be left in place for more than 24 hours. Fixed ropes left in place longer than 24 hours shall be considered "abandoned property" and removed.
  • Slacklining or highlining is prohibited.


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 8 between rock formations, trees, or any other natural features. Height of the rope above the ground is immaterial.

Hang Gliders, BASE Jumping, Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicles

Canyonlands National Park is closed to the use of hang gliders, paragliders, and parachutes. BASE jumping is prohibited in Canyonlands National Park. 36 CFR 2.17 (a)(3); NPS Management Policies 2006,

Launching, landing, or operating remotely piloted aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Canyonlands 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.

Off-highway Vehicles

No use of vehicles is allowed off of designated roads. 36 CFR 4.10(a), (b).

All motor vehicles operated within the boundaries of Canyonlands 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

Use of off highway vehicles (OHV), all-terrain vehicles (ATV), or other motorized conveyance traveling on three or more tires and designed for or capable of recreational non-highway, off road, or all terrain travel is prohibited. 36 CFR 1.5

Engine Idling and Generators

Operators are prohibited from running generators in the park, with the following exceptions:

  • in the Island in the Sky and Needle campgrounds, a generator may be operated during the hours of 8:00am–10:00am and 4:00pm–8:00 pm.

Drivers of motor vehicles are prohibited from idling their engines, with the following exceptions:

  1. after long uphill grades, engines may be idled for up to 15 minutes in order to cool;
  2. engines may be left running to provide cooling or heating for disabled passengers who have difficulty in disembarking.
  3. engines may be left running while the driver is actively completing a pre-trip vehicle inspection.

Designated Backcountry

All lands, including four-wheel-drive roads and the Shafer Trail below the Shafer day-use parking area, and waters within the boundaries of Canyonlands National Park are designated as backcountry with the following exceptions:

  • Two-wheel-drive roads (paved or dirt surfaces) and their adjacent shoulders, ditches and culverts. Dimensions for these corridors shall be 300 feet, each side, from centerline on paved roads and 150 feet, each side, from centerline of non- paved two-wheel-drive roads unless a topographic feature provides a closer and more functional natural boundary. Designated two-wheel-drive roads are identified on the Canyonlands Official Map and Guide, publication number GPO: 2002-491-282/40194 Reprint 2021 (attached).
  • Administrative buildings and their immediate surroundings.

Swimming and Bathing

The following restrictions apply to all park lands:

  • Swimming, bathing, and immersing human bodies in water sources are prohibited (except in the Green and Colorado rivers and the section of Salt Creek that is open to vehicle use).
  • Only biodegradable soaps may be used in the backcountry. All soap use must be used at least 100 feet away from water sources, with the following exception:
    • Soap use on the Green and Colorado rivers is encouraged to take place in the river.
  • Rinsing dishes or other equipment directly in water sources is prohibited, except in the Green and Colorado rivers.
  • A water source may not be emptied or depleted for human and/or saddle/pack animal use.

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.

Fixed Lines

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.

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36 CFR 1.6 Permits

(c) Permits are required within Canyonlands National Park for the following (36 Code of Federal Regulations) activities:

  • Flatwater boating – 1.5
  • Boating in Cataract Canyon – 1.5
  • Carry or possess a weapon, trap, or net – 2.4(d)
  • Specimen collection – 2.5
  • Backcountry use permit – 2.10
  • Camping in developed area campgrounds – 2.10
  • Audio disturbance – 2.12
  • Horse and pack animals – 2.16
  • Aircraft and air delivery – 2.17
  • Unattended property – 2.22
  • Fee waiver – 2.23
  • Noncommercial soliciting – 2.37
  • Explosives – 2.38
  • Special events – 2.50
  • Public assemblies, meetings – 2.51
  • Sale or distribution of printed material – 2.52
  • Residing on Federal lands – 2.61
  • Memorialization – 2.62
  • Load, weight and size limits – 4.11
  • Business operations – 5.3
  • Commercial photography – 5.5
  • Commercial vehicles – 5.6
  • Construction of buildings or other facilities – 5.7

Permits will be specific in nature to the activity being permitted. In those cases where permitted use is frequent, a specific permit form has been designed, i.e. Backcountry Use Permit, entrance and campground fee permits 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.

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2.1 Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archeological Resources

(a)(4) Driftwood may be collected only in the following areas within the park for
possession and use as fuel for campfires:

  • Colorado and Green rivers: water surfaces and river banks below high water lines.

(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.

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2.2 Wildlife Protection

(d) In The Needles district:
During time periods when the Cottonwood Road, which runs from SR 211 to Beef Basin/Elk Ridge, is closed due to impassable road conditions hunters may transport lawfully taken wildlife through the park area via the following route: the south boundary at Bobby’s Hole, direct to Elephant Hill, direct to the east entrance of The Needles district of the park. Hunters may also access the Beef Basin/Elk Ridge area via The Needles district entrance of the park, direct to Elephant Hill, direct to the south boundary. No deviation from the above noted routes may take place.

In The Maze district:
Hunters who legally take a game animal in Red Cove are permitted to pass through the park by the shortest possible route to exit the park. Likewise, hunters who legally take a game animal on the Millard Canyon Benches or in Millard Canyon are permitted to pass through the park in Lower Millard Canyon and through approximately five miles of park land on the north rim of Horse Canyon to exit the park.

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.

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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 12 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.

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2.10 Camping and Food Storage

(a) All overnight use within the boundaries of Canyonlands National Park requires either a Backcountry Use and/or a River Use permit, or a front country campsite permit for The Needles Campground, Island in the Sky Campground, or Wooden Shoe, Dutch Oven, and Split Top group campsites.

(b)(9) Conditions:

Frontcountry Campgrounds

Camping in the designated frontcountry campgrounds within Canyonlands is permitted subject to the following requirements:

  • No person or party, or their equipment, shall occupy the campground for more than seven (7) nights (consecutively or non-consecutively) in any 30 day period or for a total of 14 nights per year.
  • Sites may not be left unattended for more than 24 hours.
  • All motor vehicles, including motorcycles, and bicycles, must be parked on the paved or designated parking at each site, and must not extend into the roadway.
  • Occupancy is limited to 10 persons per site for the individual campsites.
  • The individual campsites in Loop A of The Needles Campground are available through a reservations system; campsites in Loop B will be operated on a first come-first served basis. Sites may not be held for parties arriving later.
  • It is prohibited for visitors to go through the campground soliciting campers to allow them to share sites.
  • Checkout time is 10 am.
  • The use of generators is restricted to the follow­ing hours: between 8 am and 10 am, and between 4 pm and 8 pm.
  • Quiet hours must be adhered to between 8 pm and 8 am. Quiet hours require that no unreasonable noise be created or sustained.
  • Open fires are allowed only in the fire grates provided. Barbecues, Hibachis, etc., are also allowed in campsites where fire grates are provided.
  • Camping fees are to be paid and deposited within 30 minutes of occupying a site. Sites not paid for will be considered unoccupied and available for use.
  • Where provided, tent pads must be used for the placement of tents or sleeping pads. Where tent pads do not exist, tents must be placed no further than 25 feet from the designated fire grate.

Group Campsites:

The following conditions apply to the group campsites designated below:

  • Group sites may be reserved for a maximum of seven (7) days per reservation.
  • Group sites may not be reserved more than twice in any calendar year by the same user group.
  • Group site capacities:
Group Site Vehicles People
Dutch Oven 10 50
Wooden Shoe 5 25
Split Top 3 15

Backcountry Vehicle Campsites

Camping at the following designated backcountry areas is restricted to the maximum capacities per site. Camping with vehicles is restricted to designated sites by Backcountry Use Permit only. Each site is identified by boundary posts defining the perimeters of the campsite area. Sleeping, cooking and social activities must take place within the boundaries of the four posts. Checkout time is 10 am.

Island in the Sky District Campsites
Area Site Name Number
of Sites
White Rim Taylor Canyon 1 3 15
Labyrinth 2 3 15
Hardscrabble 2 3 15
Potato Bottom 3 3 15
Candlestick 1 3 15
Murphy 3 3 15
White Crack 1 3 15
Gooseberry 2 3 15
Airport 4 3 15
Shafer Canyon Shafer 1 3 15
Needles District Campsites
Area Site Name Number
of Sites
Salt Creek Peek-a-boo 2 3 10
Elephant Hill Devils Kitchen 4 3 10
Bobby Jo 2 3 10
Horsehoof Arch 1 3 10
New Bates Wilson 1 3 10
Maze District Campsites
Area Site Name Number
of Sites
Maze Area Doll House 3 3 9
Chimney Rock 1 3 9
The Wall 1 3 9
Standing Rock 1 3 9
Maze Overlook 2 3 9
Golden Stairs ** 1 3 9
Teapot Canyon ** 1 3 9
Sunset Pass ** 1 3 9
Orange Cliffs Flint Seep ** 1 5 16
The Neck ** 1 3 9
Happy Canyon ** 1 3 9
High Spur North Point ** 1 3 9
Panorama Point ** 1 3 9
Cleopatra's Chair ** 1 3 9
High Spur ** 1 3 9
Millard Canyon 1 3 9
Ekker Butte ** 1 3 9

**Campsites in the Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. All others are in Canyonlands National Park.

Groups larger than noted above must split up to meet the group size limits for the individual sites, and camp in different campsites. Groups thus split must independently meet all requirements for overnight groups: separate permits with different trip leader for each permit, portable toilet, and separate kitchen set-ups and cooking facilities.

Campsite reservations may be limited to designated numbers of nights in order to allow maximum public access. When reservations are restricted during high use seasons, visitors may not extend their stays by remaining in the site under a different permit. Length of stay requirements applies to individuals, not just the permit holder.

Roadless Areas Camping

(zones where designated back­country sites do not exist) must be as follows:

  • At least one mile from and out of sight of front country roads, four-wheel-drive roads, trailheads, and developed areas.
  • All river rules and regulation apply when camping within ½ mile or 1,000 vertical feet from the Green and Colorado rivers. This includes having an approved toilet system and hard-sided firepan.
  • 300 feet from water sources, including seeps, potholes, springs, and streams; the Green and Colorado rivers are exceptions.
  • 300 feet away from all prehistoric or historic cultural sites, including alcoves, rock markings, surface scatters of lithic or ceramics, partial or complete structures, or ruins.
  • On rock surfaces, previously disturbed areas, or surfaces without cryptobiotic soil crusts or vegetation.
  • Group size for overnight use in road-less areas shall not exceed seven (7) people in Island in the Sky and The Needles districts, and five (5) people in The Maze district. When larger backpacking groups split up to meet the group camping size limits, each sub-group must be equipped as a self- sustaining group. Each division of a larger group must have the ability to treat their own water, cook their own food, and must camp at least one mile apart from other divisions of the group in at-large camping zones, or at different sites in the designated campsite zones.
  • Camping on the mesa top in the Island in the Sky district is restricted to zones open to camping as defined by the Canyonlands National Park Backcountry Management Plan.
  • In The Maze district, the top of Pete's Mesa and areas below and visible from Maze Overlook are closed to camping.

(d) In any paved campground or designated backcountry vehicle campsite, 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. Backpackers/cyclists/motorcyclists must store food and other scented items in such a way as to prevent access by wildlife.

In The Needles district, food and beverages, food and beverage containers, garbage, and all other scented items must be stored in park-approved hard sided animal-resistant food containers, capable of preventing access by wildlife, at least 100 feet from camp, in the following backcountry areas from March 15 through November 30. Animal-resistant containers are recommended for all other dates and backcountry units not listed below.

  • Salt Creek designated campsites
  • Salt Creek/Horse Canyon zone
  • Peekaboo campsites

Canyonlands National Park adheres to Yosemite National Park's list of approved storage containers. The park may change this list at any time to ensure the protection of wildlife and visitors. See park website for current list.

** Not Permitted: Soft Sided Ursacks
Ursacks are not allowed for use in Canyonlands National Park as a hard sided animal- resistant food container replacement, even though some models were approved July 31, 2014 by the IGBC. There are not adequate resources to secure these containers from wildlife in the backcountry.

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2.11 Picnicking

Picnicking shall be allowed in all areas except:

  • Within The Needles and Island in the Sky campgrounds and group sites.
  • When the activity would interfere with normal agency functions or visitor use activities already in progress

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.

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2.13 Fires

Except during fire restrictions:

(a)(1) Open wood fires are allowed only in the provided fire rings located within The Needles and Island in the Sky campgrounds, and within the Wooden Shoe and Split Top group campsites. Wood gathering is not allowed anywhere in the Park, except as provided for River Use Permits in 36 CFR 2.1. (a)(4).

Cooking with charcoal is allowed at designated backcountry vehicle campsites. All charcoal and ash must be contained in a rigid and durable, hard sided fire pan or grill. Users must pack out fire pans or grills and all ash and charcoal.

Backcountry users, subject to the terms of Canyonlands' Backcountry Management Plan and a Backcountry Use Permit, are not permitted to have fires in the river corridor. Campfires by holders of Rver Use Permits are subject to the terms of the River Management Plan, 36 CFR 2.1(a)(4), and a flatwater or Cataract River Use Permit.

For campfires on the river, only driftwood may be collected for firewood. Fire debris must be contained in a hard-sided fire pan at all times. All fire debris and ash must be packed out of the backcountry.

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2.14 Sanitation and Refuse

(b) Solid human waste must be containerized and carried out of the Park by all boaters camping along the Colorado and Green rivers. Toilet systems must either (1) be the washable, reusable type allowing for the sanitary transfer of waste materials to septic vaults or sewage treatment facilities, or (2) be of the type that uses dry chemicals/enzymes to render solid human waste into nonhazardous products acceptable for disposal in permitted landfills; chemically-treated human waste must be in hard-sided container(s) or puncture-resistant sealed dry bag(s) labelled ‘human waste.” Absorbent material, such as kitty litter, does not meet the standard listed above, and cannot be used.

Solid human waste must be carried out of the backcountry by campers at all designated backpacking campsites, and the Syncline backpacking site in Island in the Sky district. Toilet systems must be of the type that treats solid waste with dry chemicals/enzymes and is EPA approved for disposal in landfills.

In non-developed areas, toilet paper must be carried out. Burning toilet paper is prohibited.

Toilets are not provided in The Maze district vehicle campsites, nor at New Bates Wilson backcountry vehicle site and Peekaboo sites in The Needles district. Campers at these sites are required to carry out solid human waste in a portable toilet system. Toilet systems must either (1) be the washable, reusable type allowing for the sanitary transfer of waste materials to septic vaults or sewage treatment facilities or (2) be of the type that uses dry chemicals/enzymes to render solid human waste into nonhazardous products acceptable for disposal in permitted landfills. Bagging and then disposing of untreated human waste in landfills is not acceptable.

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2.15 Pets

(a)(1) Pets are prohibited in any backcountry area, including vehicles on designated backcountry roads, on any hiking trails, at any overlook, or any sidewalk or pathway leading to an overlook as defined on the Canyonlands brochure, or any river trip within the park, or in the Horseshoe Canyon unit of the park. The following exceptions apply:

  • Pets may be possessed by motorists traversing the park in a single day via the Potash/Shafer Canyon route at Island in the Sky. Pets must be on a leash at all times when not in the vehicle, and must remain on the designated road surface only. Any pet fecal material deposited on the ground must be collected and removed from the park.
  • During winter and spring periods when the road to Beef Basin via Cathedral Butte is closed by snow/mud, persons with pets are allowed to transit The Needles district via the park’s designated transit route (Elephant Hill-Devil’s Lane-Bobby’s Hole). Pets must be on a leash at all times when not in the vehicle, and must remain on the designated road surface only. Any pet fecal material deposited on the ground must be collected and removed from the park.
  • Service dogs and service horses that are trained to perform a specific task to support a person with a disability are allowed. Therapy dogs/horses, companion dogs/horses, comfort dogs/horses, and the like, are not service dogs or service horses. 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 is trained to perform.
  • Pets may not be led by leash from a bicycle or vehicle within Canyonlands National Park

(a)(3) Leaving a pet unattended is prohibited, except by vehicle operators in the following circumstances:

  • Pet is secured at a location where it will not interfere with wildlife or normal travel by other visitors, and
  • Pet does not bark excessively or exhibit aggressive behavior, and
  • Temperatures or conditions do not pose the risk of endangering the pet’s health, and
  • The pet is not being left unattended overnight, and
  • The pet is secured such that no resource damage occurs.

(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.

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2.16 Horses and Pack Animals

(a) Animals designated as pack animals shall be limited to the following:

  • Horses
  • Burros
  • Mules

(b) Horse or pack animal use is allowed in the following designated areas only:

  • All designated four-wheel drive roads.
  • Maze district: Horseshoe Canyon Unit – DAY-USE ONLY
  • Needles district: Salt Creek Trail from Peekaboo to Angel Arch – DAY-USE ONLY.

(g) The following conditions are established for use of horses or pack animals:

  • All pack and saddle stock users must obtain a Backcountry Use Permit, either for day-use or overnight stays. Day-use Permits are unlimited and free of charge, except in Salt Creek, Horse Canyon and Lavender Canyon in The Needles district. For these areas, and for all overnight stays in the backcountry, permits are available through the Backcountry Reservation Office, and there is a required fee.
  • Group size for day-use is ten (10) people and ten (10) animals, except in Salt Creek, Horse Canyon, and Lavender Canyon in The Needles district, where use is limited to seven (7) animals per day.
  • Group size for overnight use is seven (7) people and seven (7) animals in The Needles and Island in the Sky districts, and five (5) people and five (5) animals in The Maze district.
  • Overnight use by pack and saddle stock is only allowed at designated backcountry vehicle campsites. All parties are required to remove and scatter manure upon vacating a campsite. Animals may not be ridden or kept overnight within the boundary posts of a campsite.
  • Pack and saddle stock may not be left unattended. Only stakes with no more than eight (8) feet of rope may be used to secure animals in locations where there will be little or no soil crust or vegetation damage, 300 feet from water sources and 100 feet from campsites. All manure must be scattered from areas where animals are secured. High lines or picket lines attached to trees, hobbling, and fencing are not allowed.
  • Animals may be tethered to vehicles or stock trailers, in the parking areas of designated campsites. In these parking areas, trailheads, and other loading areas, all manure MUST be picked up prior to departing.
  • All pack and saddle animals must be fed certified weed-free pellets or forage (hay, straw, and mulch) for 48 hours in advance of a trip. Proof of certification tags required. Forage may not be taken beyond trailheads. Pelletized feed, hay cubes, and grain products must be used in the backcountry. Feed may not be left on the ground; a feedbag, tarp, or similar must be used. All unused food will be packed out.
  • Grazing, or loose herding of pack and saddle stock is not allowed in the park; grazing of park vegetation is not permitted.
  • Where possible, horses will be watered downstream from the source. Manure must be removed immediately if dropped in or near any spring or non-flowing water source.
  • Pack and saddle stock may not be ridden or kept overnight in any established roadside campground.
  • Commercial use of saddle and pack stock is prohibited.
  • Lost or dead stock animals within park boundaries will be reported to the park as soon as possible. If an animal dies within the park, it is the owner's (or responsible person’s) responsibility to remove the carcass from the park or make arrangements for its proper disposal in a timely manner.

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2.21 Smoking

(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.

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2.22 Property

(a)(2) Park visitors may leave their vehicles unattended in excess of 24 hours for the period of time specified on their Backcountry Use Permit.

Caching water and food supplies for extended back­country trips will be allowed with prior approval of the district ranger. Visitors wishing to cache supplies should submit a request with their request for a Backcountry Use 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.

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2.23 Recreation Fees

(b) The following areas within Canyonlands National Park are designated recreation fee areas:

  • The Needles district
  • Island in the Sky district

Frontcountry group and individual campsites are designated fee sites.

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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.

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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 attached to this document.

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 are 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 fewer than 25 people. Groups larger than 25 people need a permit. Printed matter, used as part of a "First Amendment" activity may be allowed in the "First Amendment" area without a permit for groups with fewer than 25 people.

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2.62 Memorialization

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 standing pools of water, potholes, or side streams and creeks. Human ashes may be scattered in the main stem of the Green and/or Colorado rivers.

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4.11 Load Weight and Size Limits

(b)(1) Vehicles (or a combination of vehicles and trailers) which exceed 21 feet in overall length are prohibited from traveling on the Elephant Hill Access Road and the Elephant Hill Road system in The Needles district, and the Teapot Rock 4WD road north of the Teapot Rock Campsite in The Maze district.

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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.

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4.30 Bicycles

(i)(1) Bicycles and AnchorAnchorelectric bicycles are allowed on park roads and in parking areas that are open to motor vehicle use by the public.

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a satellite image of a building with a green outline at the end of the parking lot.

First Amendment Area: Island in the Sky

The First Amendment area is located in the northwest corner of the Island in the Sky Visitor Center parking lot. View a larger version of this image.

a satellite image of a building with a green outlined area next to it

First Amendment Area: The Needles

The First Amendment area is located at the northwest corner of the Needles Visitor Center patio. View a larger version of this image.

an aerial image of a building with an area marked in green

First Amendment Area: The Maze (Hans Flat)

The First Amendment area is located at the northwest corner of Hans Flat Ranger Station's parking area. View a larger version of this image.

a map of canyonlands national park

Park Map

To view the roads of Canyonlands National Park, visit the Maps page, click "Park Tiles" in the upper left corner of the map viewer, then select "Brochure Map." Maps page

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Area Protection - Wildlife

April 16, 2021

Wildlife Closures

  • Except for Administrative Activities, the areas identified in the below table entitled Climbing Area Closures for Wildlife Protection are closed to all visitor use.
  • Lower Big Spring and Lower Little Spring Canyon, Lower Salt Creek (below the Lower Jump), and Lower Elephant Canyon are close to all human entry from March 15 to September 1 for the protection of desert bighorn sheep.
  • Cataract Canyon from lower Red Lake Canyon to the mouth of Y and Cross Canyons is restricted to day use only from December 1 to February 28 for the protection of Bald Eagles.

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 habitat to be unoccupied by nesting raptors and/or lambing desert bighorn sheep.

Park Area Feature Name Route Name(s) Effective Date Termination Date Justification
Monument Basin Monument Basin Century Crack 1 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to raptor nest
NW Boundary Horsethief Point Charlie Horse Needle 15 Mar 15 Aug Proximity to raptor nest
Shafer Canyon Witness the Wilderness 1 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to raptor nest
Taylor Canyon Moses and Zeus Moses and Zeus 15 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to bighorn sheep lambing habitat
White Rim Airport Tower Airport Tower 15 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to bighorn sheep lambing habitat
White Rim
Little Bridge Canyon Rim Necronomicon (Book of the Dead) 1 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to raptor nest
Little Bridge Canyon Rim Army of Darkness 1 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to raptor nest
Gray's Pasture Pt. Chip and Dale Towers 1 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to raptor nest
Candlestick Tower Candlestick Tower 1 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to raptor nest
Washer Woman Washer Woman 15 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to bighorn sheep lambing habitat
Washer Woman Monster Tower 15 Mar 31 Aug Proximity to bighorn sheep lambing habitat

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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.

Mask-Wearing Requirements

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.

When the COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH in the county or all the counties where the park is located based on data provided by the CDC, all individuals over the age of two must wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, in all common areas and shared workspaces in buildings owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops and restaurants.

When the COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH in one or more, but not all, of the counties where the park is located based on data provided by the CDC, the superintendent will determine whether individuals are required to wear masks. The requirement, if any, will apply to all facilities within the park.

Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.

Regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level, individuals may wear masks if they choose to do so. Where a state, local, tribal, or territorial government where the park is located imposes more protective mask-wearing requirements than those indicated by the COVID-19 Community Level, individuals must follow those more protective requirements within the park. More protective state, local, tribal, or territorial mask-wearing requirements are hereby adopted as federal requirements in all units of the National Park System located within that state, locality, area subject to a federally recognized Indian tribe’s regulatory jurisdiction, or territory, regardless of a particular park’s jurisdictional status.

Additionally, all individuals must wear masks in or on public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs/facilities, to the extent required by current orders or directives issued by the CDC, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), or other federal agencies with jurisdiction over those conveyances or areas. As of March 4, 2022, CDC and TSA orders or directives require all individuals regardless of vaccination status to wear masks in indoor areas of all forms of public transportation conveyances, including busses, trains, and boats/ferries, and in the indoor premises of transportation hubs/facilities. Individuals are not required to wear masks while outdoors on conveyances or while outdoors on the premises of transportation hubs/facilities.

Accordingly, the National Park Service determines publication as rulemaking in the Federal Register is unwarranted under 36 CFR § 1.5.

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:

  • Signs posted at conspicuous locations along the affected trails.

  • Electronic media.

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
March 9, 2022

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Last updated: November 23, 2022

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