Glen Canyon offers amazing opportunities for exploration. To expand access for our visitors, the park is opening designated roads and routes to off-road vehicle (ORV) recreation. Protect your privilege to enjoy responsible backcountry travel by following these rules and guidelines.
All Roads Designated in the Park’s General Management Plan (GMP)
Shoreline Access Areas
Designated shoreline areas are open only to conventional motor vehicles and street-legal ATVs with proper ORV permits. The shoreline access area includes beach area that is up to ½ mile in both directions laterally from the end of the GMP road extending to the shoreline. Some areas are closed to street-legal ATVs seasonally. Speed limits are 15 mph unless otherwise posted.
Permits will be required to operate a motor vehicle off road in specified locations. A permit system for vehicles to operate on designated access areas is in development.
There is no additional camping fee or permit required to camp in undeveloped backcountry areas, with some exceptions:
ORV, OHV, ATV, What Does it Mean?
An off-road vehicle (ORV) is any motor vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over natural terrain. This includes a range of vehicle types:
Conventional Motor Vehicles
Any motor vehicle that is designed primarily for operation on streets and highways, and that is licensed and registered for interstate travel. Automobiles, vans, highway motorcycles (including a dual-sports motorcycle licensed for use on a highway), sport utility vehicles (SUVs), recreational vehicles (RVs), pickup trucks, and buses are examples of conventional motor vehicles.
Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs)
Any motor vehicle – excluding snowmobiles and hovercraft – that is designed primarily for off-road travel that is not licensed and registered for intrastate travel. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs), dirt bikes, sand rails, side-by-sides, and dune buggies are examples of OHVs.
An ATV that qualifies under Arizona or Utah motor vehicle and traffic code to be operated on state roads and highways. Under current Arizona and Utah law, dune buggies, sand rails, go-karts, and rock crawlers cannot be licensed as street legal.Check equipment and registration requirements to make your vehicle street legal in Utah or in Arizona.
The national recreation area includes land in both Utah and Arizona. ORV operators are responsible for complying with all applicable state laws and regulations (e.g. license, registration, inspection, insurance). Be sure to check equipment requirements too.When driving on park roads, operators of street-legal vehicles must also comply with all applicable state and federal traffic requirements (e.g., speed limits, rules of the road).
Quiet hours are 10 pm to 6 am, unless otherwise posted. Operating a motor vehicle within a designated ORV area during quiet hours is prohibited, with the exception of entering and exiting the area.
Orange Cliffs Special Management Area
OHVs and Street-legal ATVs are prohibited in the Orange Cliffs Special Management Area, except for approximately 8 miles of the Poison Spring Loop. The Orange Cliffs unit neighbors Canyonlands National Park in the northernmost section of Glen Canyon. It includes the Hans Flat area and Flint Trail, leading into Canyonland’s remote Maze District. Only Conventional Motor Vehicles are allowed in this region and must stay on designated roadways.
Safety & Recommendations
Wear Your Helmet. It could save your life. A smart move for all ages, but for riders and passengers under age 18, it’s the law.
Gloves, eye protection (mandatory in AZ), abrasion resistant clothing, and over the ankle boots are also highly recommended.
In Utah, youth operators between 8 and 15 years old must possess an OHV education certificate in order to operate on any public lands. Riders 16 or older may operate an OHV if they possess either a valid driver drivers license or an education certificate.
Any rider under 18 years old should be under direct adult supervision when riding on public lands. See state laws for more details.
Follow posted speed limits. Unpaved roads and routes are 25 mph, unless otherwise marked. Shoreline Access Areas are 15 mph, unless otherwise marked.
No matter what motor vehicle type, alcohol and driving do not mix. It is illegal to drive an ORV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Open containers are also prohibited.
Pets must be under owner’s control at all times, either in a vehicle or on a leash no longer than six feet in length. Owners must pack out solid pet waste. Pets are not allowed in the Orange Cliffs Special Management Unit, unless they remain secured in vehicles while riding through the park.
Gotta go? Use human waste bags or other approved methods for all solid human waste including toilet paper and hygiene products. Packing out human waste is required in Coyote Gulch, within 1/4 mile of the shore of Lake Powell, the San Juan River, Escalante River, Dirty Devil River or the Colorado River, and anywhere else the minimum 300 feet from a water source cannot be attained. Read more details about proper waste disposal in the Superintendent's Compendium.
Operators at the Lone Rock Beach Play Area, must display a solid red or orange safety flag that is a minimum of six by 12 inches in size and that is attached to either:
Always ride in control. Never attempt anything beyond your skill level or machine capability. Follow trail courtesy and backcountry etiquette. Glen Canyon attracts a variety of different kinds of backcountry users. Be an ambassador for your sport.
...on land by staying on designated roads, trails and area. Go over, not around, obstacles to avoid widening the trails. Cross streams only at designated fords. when possible, avoid wet, muddy trails. On water, stay on designated waterways and launch your watercraft in designated areas.
including private property owners, all recreational trail users, campers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed. Leave gates as you found them. Yield right of way to those passing you or going uphill. On water, respect anglers, swimmers, skiers, boaters, divers and those on or near shore.
prior to your trip by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies. Plan for your trip, take recreation skills classes and know how to operate your equipment safely.
on land such as meadows, lake shores, wetlands and streams. Stay on designated routes. This protects wildlife habitats and sensitive soils from damage. Don’t disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites. On water, avoid operating your watercraft in shallow waters or near shorelines at high speeds.
by modeling appropriate behavior, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species and repairing degraded areas.
Your ORV may take you into rugged terrain, far from medical help or cell service. Make sure you and your machine are both ready. Inspect your vehicle before every trip. Tell a friend or family member your trip itinerary. Know your routes. Be prepared to fix your own vehicle.Here’s a checklist of basic items you should bring on your adventure:
Routes and Area Maps
View maps of the designated roads, routes, areas, and shorelines open to motor vehicle use. Each location has specific rules (e.g., speed limits, seasonal closures, quiet hours) set by park management. It is the operator’s responsibility to know which areas are open to OHV use.
Last updated: February 16, 2021