Road Conditions

Contact district visitor centers for current conditions before beginning any backcountry trip.

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

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

 

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 with a low range gear (4LO).

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.

 

Choose a District Navigation

 

Island in the Sky

Updated October 11, 2021

  • Scenic Drive: open
  • Shafer Trail: open, some sections rough and heavily washboarded
  • Mineral Bottom: open, expect rough sections and washouts from recent storms
  • White Rim Road 4WD: open, expect rough sections, washouts, and areas of rockfall that must be negotiated after recent storms. Murphy Hogback not currently recommended for 4WD vans and similar vehicles.

Even when rated as "passable," four-wheel-drive roads are challenging. High-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles with a low range gear (4LO) are 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 and are not permitted upon the White Rim Road. 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 11, 2021

  • Scenic Drive: open
  • Elephant Hill Access Road: open
  • Elephant Hill 4WD Road: open and passable, 4WD required
  • Colorado River Overlook 4WD Road: open and passable, 4WD required
  • Lavender Canyon 4WD Road: open and passable, 4WD required
  • Horse Canyon 4WD Road: impassable due to washouts and recent flooding
  • Peekaboo 4WD Road: impassable due to washouts and recent flooding

Even when rated as "passable," four-wheel-drive roads in The Needles are challenging. High-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles with a low range gear (4LO) are required on these roads. Other vehicles (e.g., all-wheel-drive vehicles, and low-clearance or high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicles) cannot navigate the rough slickrock, loose rocks, steep ledges, deep sand, and steep switchbacks. 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.

 

The Maze

Updated October 11, 2021

  • Highway 24 to Hans Flat: open, expect areas of deep sand, washboards, and wash outs. AWD or 4WD recommended.
  • Highway 24 to Horseshoe Canyon: open, expect deep mud and rough, washboarded sections, passable to high clearance AWD vehicles
  • Green River to Hans Flat or Horseshoe Canyon: open, heavily degraded; heavy washboards, deep sand, and washouts have created difficult driving conditions. High-clearance 4WD recommended.
  • Hans Flat to top of Flint Trail 4WD Road: open, high clearance essential due to rocky sections; 4WD/AWD recommended
  • Flint Trail 4WD Road: open; rough, extremely steep and rocky, deep ruts and loose sand. Passable to high clearance 4WD only; lockers recommended.

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. Park rangers do not winch vehicles out. Commercial towing fees below the Flint Trail start at over $2,000. Roads rated 4WD must have 4WD with a low range gear (4LO) and high clearance. Other vehicles (e.g., all-wheel-drive vehicles, and low-clearance or high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicles) cannot navigate the rough slickrock, steep ledges, loose rocks, deep sand, and steep switchbacks.

Last updated: October 18, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2282 Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532

Phone:

435-719-2313

Contact Us