Backcountry Travel Advisory
Backcountry driving conditions can change rapidly after rain or snow. Most backcountry roads in Canyonlands require high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles. All drivers should carry the following items:
• At least one full-size spare tire
Island in the Sky
Updated June 10, 2019
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.
White Rim Road Flooding
The upper basins that feed the Green River were well above 100 percent snowpack this winter and spring. It is likely that spring runoff will cause the river to sporadically flood the White Rim Road between Hardscrabble and Labyrinth campsites starting around the beginning of May and lasting through late June.
If this occurs, permit holders will likely not be able to cross this section of road. If your trip has you entering or exiting through this area and the road is flooded, you must turn around and return the direction you came. Absolutely no off-road travel to bypass the flooded area (by mountain bike, motorcycle, and/or vehicle) or camping outside of the conditions of your permit will be tolerated. We highly recommend you bring extra fuel for your vehicle (enough to drive an extra 100 miles). It is your responsibility to be prepared and plan accordingly.
You must determine current river flows for when your permit is scheduled.
Only walk-in day-use permits will be available during flood season. No permits will be available online. You can get permits at Island in the Sky Visitor Center or the park administrative office in Moab during the flood season.
The road will likely be flooded at levels as low as 15,500 cfs. You may monitor river flow conditions at the USGS data site. We recommend you check river flows just prior to your trip.
Updated April 29, 2019
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, vegetation or rock outcrops that could scratch a vehicle, 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. Do not attempt any roads if there is a forecast for heavy rains, which lead to flash flooding. Never cross flooded roads.
You must have a permit on some Needles roads.
Updated April 4, 2019
Call Hans Flat Ranger Station at 435-259-2652 between 8 am and 4:30 pm for latest road conditions.
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 cannot winch vehicles out and commercial towing fees below the Flint Trail start at over $2,000.
Last updated: June 10, 2019