Backcountry

Camp overnight in red rock country! Colorado National Monument is the eastern gateway into the Colorado Plateau. Across the mesas or in the hanging canyons, your peaceful night will be shared with coyotes, stars, and the smell of sagebrush. The monument has 46 miles of trails to explore. To learn more about the trails here, head over to the backcountry trails page. When you stop at the visitor center to pick up a permit, the ranger will give you updates on current trail conditions.

 

COME TO SADDLEHORN VISITOR CENTER FOR YOUR BACKCOUNTRY PERMIT

Backcountry Camping Regulations

A backcountry use permit must be in your possession while traveling in the backcountry. Permits are free and must be picked up at the visitor center. Regulations are in effect to protect park resources and reduce visitor impacts. It is the responsibility of all trip participants to know and obey the following regulations while in the backcountry.

  • Group size is limited to 7 people.
  • Campers must camp 1/4 mile or more from any road or developed facility and 150 feet or more from any trail. Camping is not permitted in any streambed.
  • No fires, with the exception of gas or alcohol camp stoves, are permitted in the backcountry.
  • Pets, bicycles, motorized equipment, and other intrusive devices such as radios, generators, etc., are not allowed in the backcountry. Drone use in the monument is prohibited.
  • All items, including trash, must be packed out. Campsites should be left in the natural condition as they were found.
  • For human waste disposal, dig a 6-inch to 8-inch deep cat hole 300 feet from water sources and campsites. Pack out toilet paper.
  • In any calendar year, backcountry campers are limited to 14 overnight stays, whether accrued consecutively or in any combination of separate visits. Single trips are limited to 7 nights.
  • Water is not available in the backcountry. Springs, streams, and seeps are unreliable and in some years may be completely dry. Springs, streams, and pools may contain harmful substances like selenium or bacteria like Giardia.
  • Backpackers must pack in their own water. One (1) gallon (4 liters) per person is recommended per day in the summer months. A water refilling station is located outside the visitor center and is open 24 hours per day.
  • Wildlife may be attracted to food and other items with an odor, such as soap, lip balm, or deodorant. Storing food in a bear can or other secure container is recommended. Don't store food or items with an odor in your tent.
  • Scorpions and the midget faded rattlesnake can be found in the monument. Sightings are rare, as they are mostly nocturnal. Don't put your hands or feet anywhere that you can't see them.
  • Be aware of temperatures in the summer, which can be in the low 100s. Hiking and camping in the bottom of the canyons can be extremely hot as heat radiates from the rocks. Plan trips for cooler weather to avoid heat injuries.
  • Please remember to Leave No Trace, and enjoy your trip!
 
backcountry sites
Clockwise: Monument Canyon, No Thoroughfare Canyon, and Ute Canyon

NPS

Last updated: June 19, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1750 Rim Rock Drive
Fruita, CO 81521

Phone:

(970) 858-2800

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