River Permits

River Permits are available through Recreation.gov:

All overnight permits must be reserved online at least two days before start of trip.


Where can I get a River Permit?

You can get a permit online or in person from the Backcountry Permit Office in Moab. The Backcountry Permit office is open Monday through Friday, 8 am-12 pm and 1-4 pm, but may close when rangers are needed to respond to emergency search and rescue efforts. You can also get a permit in person at any Canyonlands National Park visitor center.

Academic institutions wishing to conduct river trips in the park may do so with a special use permit.


When should I apply?

There is no lottery for river permits in Canyonlands. These permits are available first-come, first-served. You may reserve overnight permits up to four months before the following seasons and reservations close two days prior to a launch date. Day use permits are available up to 24 hours in advance.

  • April 14 – October 15 (opens December 14)

  • October 16 – April 13 (opens June 15)

There are no daily launch limits in Canyonlands

How much are the permits?

There are non-refundable fees for private river permits:

Permit Type Fee
Flatwater Overnight $36 Permit Reservation fee (includes $6 Recreation.gov fee) + $25 per person
Cataract Canyon Overnight $36 Permit Reservation fee (includes $6 Recreation.gov fee) + $25 per person
Flatwater Day Use $6 Recreation.gov fee if reserved online, no fee if in person at park headquarters
Cataract Canyon Day Use $6 Recreation.gov fee + $10 per person

For example, an overnight Cataract Canyon trip with five people would cost $161: $36 (reservation fee) + $125 (five people at $25 each) = $161.

Fees are non-refundable.

What if I need to cancel my reservation?

Please cancel your permit via email. The $36 reservation fee is non-refundable.

What are group size limits?

Group size limit is 40 people for private river trips.

How long can I stay?

You can have a permit for up to 14 consecutive nights.

What regulations do I need to know?

Additional regulations apply to all river trips. For more information, please visit the River Regulations Page.

How do I apply for a permit?

To apply for a river permit, visit Recreation.gov. Once your reservation is complete, you will receive instructions on how to obtain your permit.

If needed, you may also request a reservation by email, mail, or fax. Please contact the Backcountry Permit Office via email or call 435-259-4351 for a form to fill out. Because this is a lengthy process, we do not recommend it.

Can I cache supplies in the backcountry?

Adding food, water, or supplies is only allowed with written notification of the district ranger. You may not damage resources, and you must remove all items. No individual, company, or other entity may be paid or otherwise compensated to place caches for someone. Email us for a cache request form.

Where can I camp prior to my permitted river trip?

There are numerous options for responsible camping prior to your Canyonlands National Park river trip. Visit Discover Moab for options in the Moab area.

Where can I get a map or guide book?

Our bookstore contains guidebooks to all the rivers in southeastern Utah.

What about academic groups?

Academic institutions wishing to do either flatwater or whitewater trips may do so under a Special Use Permit from Canyonlands National Park. Read more about academic river trips.

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 answer phones until 4 pm. You may also contact us by email.

Last updated: August 15, 2023

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2282 Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532



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