Day-Use Permits

Learn and Explore

Who needs a permit?

You must have a day-use permit for all vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles on:

You do NOT need a day-use permit on Potash Road or Shafer Trail.

Each individual vehicle, motorcycle, and bicycle needs a separate permit. If your group includes both bicycles and vehicles, each bicycle and vehicle needs a permit, even if the bike enters the park on a vehicle.

 

How do I apply for a permit?

Please review the backcountry regulations before getting a permit.

You can get a day-use permit online up to 24 hours before your trip.

To apply for a day-use permit online, visit our online reservation system.

Once your request is received, your permit will be sent by email. Please print your permit and have it with you during your trip. If you are not able to print your permit, you must have either a digital copy or your permit number available.

We also issue any remaining permits at visitor centers the day of the trip. We issue permits up to one hour before the close of business each day.

What are the group size limits?

White Rim Road
For the White Rim Road, we issue a total of 50 day-use vehicle permits (including motorcycles) and 50 day-use bicycle permits each day. Group size is limited to three vehicles and 15 bicycles. Groups must be separated by 30 minutes of travel time. You do not need a permit if you plan to drive only on the Shafer Trail and Potash Road.

Elephant Hill Road
We issue a total of 24 day-use vehicle permits (including motorcycles) and 12 day-use bicycle permits each day for Elephant Hill Road. Group size is limited to three vehicles and 12 bicycles. Groups must be separated by 30 minutes of travel time.

How much does a permit cost?

There is no fee for day-use permits during the 2016-2017 season. You must pay a park entrance fee at a park entrance station, visitor center, or via pay.gov. Each vehicle, motorcycle, and individual entering by foot or bicycle must pay an entrance fee.

Other questions?

We 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 can also email questions.

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions were written during the day-use permit planning process.
Read the original news release.

Why is the NPS creating another level of management for an area that does not have a problem?
Visitation to southeast Utah, including the national parks, continues to increase yearly, most dramatically in recent years. The NPS has a goal to provide a unique experience in its backcountry: an experience which may not exist in other areas. These day-use permits allow the park to be proactive in managing and maintaining levels of visitation, ultimately assuring visitors will have a high-quality, enjoyable experience during their trip in the park for years to come. Permits will conveniently be available online and can be obtained prior to coming to the park or while at the visitor centers up to 24 hours in advance. An allotted number will also be available for visitors who walk into the visitor center on the day of their trip.

Will overnight campers need to get a day-use permit?
No. An overnight backcountry permit is the only permit backcountry campers need. Backcountry permits issued do not count towards the limit on day-use permits.

How will day-use permits affect how the road is maintained?
These roads are already maintained to four-wheel-drive standards as outlined in the park road maintenance plan. The conditions of the road fluctuate throughout the year with weather related occurrences, erosion, and routine, standard maintenance.

How will permits be made available?
Permits will be available online through the park website beginning 24 hours in advance of the trip date. An allotted number of permits for each day will also be available for the White Rim Road at the Island in the Sky Visitor Center.

Permits Available Each Day Online
(24 hours in advance)
Visitor Center
(day of trip)
White Rim Road - Island in the Sky
Vehicle Permits (including motorcycles) 25 25
Bicycle Permits 25 25
Elephant Hill Road - The Needles
Vehicle Permits (including motorcycles) 24 any permits not issued online
Bicycle Permits 12 any permits not issued online
Horse Canyon/Peekaboo Road - The Needles
Vehicle Permits (including motorcycles) 10 any permits not issued online
Bicycle Permits 7 any permits not issued online
Lavender Canyon Road - The Needles
Vehicle Permits (including motorcycles) 8 any permits not issued online
Bicycle Permits 7 any permits not issued online

What is the justification for group size limits?
The established group size limits are comparable to the group size limits for overnight users in the Canyonlands National Park Backcountry Management Plan. Group sizes of 3 vehicles (including motorcycles) on both the White Rim Road and Elephant Hill Road, 15 bicycles on the White Rim Road and 12 bicycles on the Elephant Hill Road provide for the desired social and recreational experiences.

These limits address several issues:

  • congestion at road junctions and parking areas with limited space
  • impacts to natural soundscapes from large groups
  • impacts from raised dust with large groups. Larger associated groups may travel on the same day, however each group must be separated by 30 minutes of travel time.

Will commercial guides be allocated permits to ensure there are enough for private users?Currently companies with concession permits may offer commercial vehicle and bicycle services. The number of trips they may offer on any given day is regulated through their concession permits. These trips are not deducted from the day-use permits allotted for the public.

Were other alternatives considered in addition to the day-use permit and associated limits?
The NPS has considered requiring day-use permits only during peak times of year. While this may be an option in the future, it does not currently meet an underlying goal of obtaining data on the level of day use throughout the year. Data collected from the day-use permits and overnight permits along with traffic counter data will provide for more accurate information on use trends.

What are the fees associated with the day-use permit?
There are no fees for the day-use permits during the initial year. The park entrance fee is required as it was prior to the day use permit. A reservation fee may be implemented for online permits in the future to help offset costs and deter permits from going unused.

I already pay an entrance fee; do I have to get a day-use permit too?
Yes. These are special areas that require an additional level of management to maintain exceptional recreational experiences. There are no additional fees for the day-use permit during the initial year.

If I travel through Beef Basin to go to Canyonlands, do I need to get a day-use permit?
Yes. Each vehicle, motorcycle, and/or bicycle must obtain a day-use permit. You can conveniently obtain a permit and pay your park entrance fee online up to 24 hours in advance of your trip. You may also obtain your permit from the Needles Visitor Center, during normal operating hours, up to 24 hours in advance or on the day of your trip. If you require more advance notice, contact the Backcountry Reservation Office or the Needles Visitor Center before your trip.

I am a self-sustained bicyclist and intend to complete the White Rim in one day; do I need to get a day-use permit?
Yes. Each individual bicyclist must obtain a day-use permit. You can conveniently obtain a permit and pay your park entrance fee online up to 24 hours in advance of your trip. You may also obtain your permit from the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, during normal operating hours, up to 24 hours in advance or on the day of your trip.

If I am traveling to Taylor Canyon via the White Rim Road, do I need to get a day-use permit?
Yes. Each vehicle, motorcycle, and/or bicycle must obtain a day-use permit. You can conveniently obtain a permit and pay your park entrance fee online up to 24 hours in advance of your trip. You may also obtain your permit from the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, during normal operating hours, up to 24 hours in advance or on the day of your trip.

What is the current visitation to the White Rim Road and Elephant Hill Road?
No reliable data on visitation to the White Rim and Elephant Hill Roads is available. The NPS has collected statistics on these roads, from traffic counters and overnight permits, for more than 10 years. The NPS can only estimate day-use visitation levels from these statistics. However, this information provides a relatively small picture, in the form of a number, of the overall atmosphere on these roads. The NPS is responsible for protecting and preserving the overall exceptional experience highlighted in the Canyonlands National Park Backcountry Management Plan and the park Foundation Document.

Data collected from traffic counters on the west and east sides of the White Rim Road demonstrate that the peak months of use are March, April, May, September, and October. Over the last ten years (2004-2014) on the east side of the White Rim an average of 40 vehicles per day passed a traffic counter. (Two-way travel and overnight vehicles are included in this number.) In 2014, during these months, there was a maximum of 58 vehicle counts on a single day (two-way travel and overnight vehicles are included in this number). On the west side an average of 26 vehicles per day passed a traffic counter. (Two-way travel and overnight vehicles are included in this number.) In 2011 a trial period of day-use permits on the White Rim Road between March and May had a maximum number of permits issued on one day of 30 (May 29, 2011). Each permit included up to three vehicles and 15 bicycles. There was an average of 3.2 bicycles and 1.4 vehicles per permit. Taking into consideration two-way travel and overnight vehicle counts, it is anticipated that a limit of 50 day-use vehicles allowed per day would maintain the current levels with a low potential of reaching the limit on busier days of the year. This limit does not include vehicles with overnight permits.

Traffic counter data on Elephant Hill demonstrates that the peak months of use are March, April, May, September, and October. Over the last four years (2010-2013) an average of 12 vehicles per day accessed the road during these months. During these months in 2013, there was a high of 44 vehicles on one day (May) and the median number of vehicles per day was 19. This includes both overnight and day use. A limit of 24 day-use vehicles per day would maintain the current levels with a low potential of reaching the limit on busier days of the year. This limit does not include vehicles with overnight permits.

 

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2282 Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532

Phone:

435-719-2313

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