Road Conditions

Contact district visitor centers for current conditions before beginning any backcountry trip. When Island in the Sky and The Needles visitor centers are closed in winter, the Backcountry Reservation Office is the best resource for backcountry road conditions and permit information: 435-259-4351.

You may need a permit to drive on some park roads.


Island in the Sky

Updated September 1, 2017

  • Scenic Drive: open
  • Shafer Trail: open
  • Mineral Bottom: passable to four-wheel-drive vehicles
  • White Rim Road: passable to four-wheel-drive vehicles

Rain and snow can quickly change unpaved roads to four-wheel-drive condition or make them impassable. Weather

Four-wheel drive is required on the White Rim Road. Other vehicles (e.g., all-wheel-drive vehicles, and low-clearance or high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicles) have difficulty negotiating the rough slickrock, loose rocks, deep sand, and steep switchbacks. Permits are required on the White Rim Road.

Carry extra fuel and be prepared to self-rescue. During winter, all vehicles should carry chains.


The Needles

Updated October 25, 2017

  • Scenic Drive: open
  • Elephant Hill Access Road: passable to two-wheel drive
  • Colorado River Overlook 4WD Road: passable
  • Elephant Hill 4WD Road: passable
  • Lavender Canyon 4WD Road: passable, with possible quicksand in areas
  • Horse Canyon/Peekaboo 4WD Road:
    • To Peekaboo: Expect quicksand, deep pools of water, and the possibility of flash flooding at any time. High-clearance, four-wheel drive is required. We recommend vehicles travel in pairs with winch capabiltiy and locking differentials. You must have the ability to self-resuce. Rangers will not winch vehicles out of quicksand.
    • Horse Canyon Road: impassable due to quicksand.

Even when rated as "passable," four-wheel-drive roads in The Needles are challenging. Depending on the season, you can expect ice, up to two feet of water, quicksand, or debris that you must negotiate while staying within the boundary of the road. We recommend traveling in groups of two or more vehicles - both with winches - in order to facilitate self-rescue. Park rangers do not winch vehicles out; see Backcountry Travel Advisory below. Do not attempt any roads if there is a forecast for heavy rains, which lead to flash flooding. Never cross flooded roads. Weather

You must have a permit on some Needles roads.


The Maze

Updated October 16, 2017

  • Highway 24 to Hans Flat: passable two-wheel drive
  • Highway 24 to Horseshoe Canyon: passable to two-wheel drive
  • Green River to Horseshoe Canyon: passable to two-wheel drive
  • Green River to Hans Flat: passable to four-wheel drive
  • Hans Flat to top of Flint Trail: passable to high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles only.
  • Flint Trail: very rough; passable to high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles only; some washouts likely due to recent heavy rain and hail.

Wind-blown sand dunes, or rain and snow could make roads impassable. Weather

Maze roads are challenging and visitors must be prepared with the proper equipment to facilitate self-rescue. Visitors should carry extra supplies in case it takes a day or two for the road to dry out. Cell phone communication is not reliable. Rangers are unable to winch vehicles out and commercial towing fees below the Flint Trail start at over $2,000.


Backcountry Travel Advisory

Backcountry driving conditions can change rapidly after rain or snow. High-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. All drivers should carry the following items:

• At least one full-size spare tire
• Extra gas
• Extra water
• Shovel
• High-lift jack
• Chains for all four tires (especially from October through April)

Drive Carefully!
Visitors caught in the backcountry with disabled vehicles can expect commercial towing fees in excess of $1,000. Most backcountry roads in Canyonlands require high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Last updated: October 25, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2282 Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532



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