Backcountry Regulations

The following regulations appear on all backcountry permits issued by Canyonlands. Additional regulations apply for river trips and horse/pack trips

General Regulations

  • You must have a permit for all overnight trips in the backcountry.
  • You must have a permit for all bicycle, motorcycle, and four-wheel-drive day-use trips on White Rim, Elephant Hill, Lavender Canyon, and Peekaboo / Horse Canyon roads.
  • Permits are valid only for the dates, areas and number of people listed.
  • All vehicles, motorcycles and bikes must remain on designated roads. Roads may be deemed impassable and temporarily closed for multiple reasons. ATVs/OHVs are not allowed.
  • Wood campfires are not allowed. Cooking with a charcoal fire in a firepan is allowed at vehicle campsites. All charcoal residue must be packed out.
  • All garbage must be removed from the backcountry, including toilet paper.
  • Food must be stored securely to prevent animals from gaining access to it.
  • All camping activities must remain within campsite boundaries at designated sites. Camps in at-large zones must be one mile from a road and in low-impact areas like slickrock.
  • Camping within 300 feet of an archaeological site, historic site or water source is not allowed.
  • All natural objects and cultural artifacts are protected and must be left where they are found. Touching rock art and drawing graffiti is not allowed.
  • Pets, discharging firearms, hunting and feeding wildlife are prohibited.
  • Caching food, water or supplies is allowed with written notification of the district ranger. No damage to resources may occur and all items must be removed.
  • Swimming or bathing is only allowed in the Green and Colorado rivers.

Limits and Closures

  • Lower Salt Creek, and Lower Big Spring, Lower Little Spring, and Lower Elephant canyons (The Needles) are closed to all human entry May 1–September 1 during bighorn sheep lambing season.
  • Jasper Canyon (The Maze) is closed to entry upstream of the first jump visible from the Green River.

Activity-Specific Regulations

  • A washable/reusable toilet system or human waste disposal bag is required when camping at the Maze District vehicle campsites; at the Chesler Park and Elephant Canyon backpacking campsites and the Peekaboo and New Bates Wilson vehicle campsites in the Needles District; and within ½ mile of the Green and Colorado rivers. Read the news release.
  • A high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle (low range) is required for the White Rim Road and all Needles and Maze district backcountry roads.
  • Campers at Salt Creek 1, 2, 3 and 4 campsites and the Salt/Horse Zone in the Needles must store all food, beverages, and associated containers, garbage, and all scented items in a hard-sided and IGBC-approved bear-resistant container at least 100 feet from camp. Read the news release.
  • Camping is not permitted in Horseshoe Canyon, on Pete's Mesa or within sight of the Maze Overlook.
  • Hiking in the Doll House is restricted to designated trails.
  • Trips using portable, inflatable boats (packrafts) to navigate short sections (two miles or less) of the Colorado and Green rivers above the confluence must carry a PFD or inflatable USCG-approved life vest for each person, and an approved toilet system or human waste disposal bag (e.g. PETT, Wag Bag, or Rest Stop II). For packrafts merely crossing the rivers, a PFD is recommended but not required.
  • Trips traveling more than two miles or below the confluence must obtain a river permit and are subject to river regulations and required equipment.

Last updated: March 30, 2017

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