Overnight Backcountry Permits

Do I need a permit?

If you're planning an overnight trip into the backcountry of Canyonlands National Park or the Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, you must have a permit. Canyonlands National Park issues permits for the Orange Cliffs Unit, which shares Canyonlands' western boundary and the same backcountry management plan, permits, and reservation system.


Other Permits

Are you planning a day trip? Visit the day-use backcountry permit page.
If you are planning an overnight trip, you do not need a day-use permit in addition to your overnight permit.

Are you planning a river trip? Visit the river permit page.

Are you planning on bringing a horse to the park? Read more about horseback riding.

You must have a printed and signed permit in your possession during your entire trip. A permit is not valid from any mobile device.

We may deny or cancel backcountry reservations if we think you will adversely impact:
  • visitor use activities (e.g., campsites are reserved with no intention of use),
  • federal regulations or administrative policies,
  • public health or safety, environmental or scenic values,
  • natural or cultural resources.

Where can I camp?

Mountain bikers and four-wheel drivers must stay on established roads and camp in designated sites.

Backpackers in heavily traveled areas, primarily at The Needles, stay in designated campsites. Most backpackers at Island in the Sky or The Maze stay in at-large zones and may choose their own campsites.

Where are the sites and zones?

Each district of the park has its own map of roads and trails which shows campsites and zones.

Read more at our backcountry travel planner.


Do I Need a Reservation?

We recommend reservations, but they're not required. There can be stiff competition to get a permit for White Rim trips in spring and fall and Needles backpacking trips in spring. For these activities, we recommend you apply as early as possible. Space is limited. If there are any campsites and permits not reserved in advance, we'll make them available first-come, first-served at visitor centers.

How early can I make a reservation?

You can make a reservation no more than four months, and no less than two days, before the permit start date. For very popular sites, you may have to make a reservation at midnight mountain time, exactly four months before the start date.

If you are reserving four months before your start date, you may have to reserve each night separately. When making a reservation, please write the total number of nights you plan to use in the comments section. This way we can link your nightly reservations and only charge one permit fee.

How do I make a reservation?

To check availability or apply for a backcountry permit, visit our online reservation system at canypermits.nps.gov.

NOTE: Your reservation is not your permit. We will cancel your permit if we don't receive your payment. We will send payment instructions via email within three business days after we receive your reservation.

You may also print and complete a reservation form and submit it by email, mail or fax. We process these reservations in the order we receive them. Your requested sites may not be available if someone reserved the same site online before we process your printed reservation. The quickest way to ensure your preferred sites and dates are held for you is to make the reservation online.

When will I get my permit?

Once we process your reservation, we will send you an email with instructions to pay online. When we receive your payment, we will issue your permit. If you are required to check in before your trip, you will pick up your permit at a visitor center. If you do not need to check in, we will send your permit to you by email. You must print this permit and carry it with you during your entire trip.

I didn't make a reservation. Can I get a walk-in permit?

Yes, if permits are available, you can get one the day your trip starts or the day before your trip starts. If you'd like to reserve your permit further in advance, use the reservation system listed above You can get the permit in person seven days a week at visitor centers. We issue permits up to one hour before the close of business each day.

Please review the backcountry regulations before applying for a permit.


How much does a permit cost?

Canyonlands charges a non-refundable reservation fee for each permit, whether they're reserved in advance, or in person at a visitor center.

Activity Fee Group Size Limit (Per Permit)
Island in the Sky The Needles The Maze
Backpacking $30 7 people 7 people 5 people
Four-Wheel-Drive / Mtn. Bike $30 15 people /
3 vehicles
10 people/
3 vehicles
9 people /
3 vehicles

You must pay a park entrance fee for Island in the Sky and The Needles at a park entrance station, visitor center, or online via pay.gov. Each vehicle, motorcycle, and individual entering the park by foot or bicycle must pay an entrance fee.

How long can I stay?

You may have an overnight permit for up to 14 consecutive nights. If you are backpacking, you may stay up to seven consecutive nights in any one site or zone. If you are using the designated vehicle camps, you may stay a maximum of three consecutive nights at a camping area before having to relocate.

How are the road conditions?

For up-to-date road conditions, contact the district visitor centers, road conditions web page, or Reservation Office at 435-259-4351. Salt Creek and Horse Canyon are often impassable with flash flooding. Peekaboo campsite reservation holders and day-use permit holders must contact the The Needles Visitor Center, 435-259-4711 the day of your trip or the day before.

What if I need to cancel?

If you are not using a reservation, you must cancel it as soon as possible. This allows other visitors to enjoy the park. If you cancel your reservation more than two days before the start date of your trip, you will receive a credit for a future reservation starting within one year. Please call the reservation office at 435-259-4351 or email your cancellation.

More questions?

We are available by phone to answer questions and assist with trip planning Monday through Friday, 8 am to noon (mountain time), at 435-259-4351. When workload permits, we may be able to answer phones until 4 pm. You may also email questions.


Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2282 Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532



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