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.
Off-road vehicle use is allowed in the park only on National Park Service-designated ORV routes and areas, delineated by ORV route maps . Some Shoreline Access Areas indicated on the maps may not be available seasonally, due to changes in lake level.
Glen Canyon's General Management Plan (GMP) established Park Designated Roads.
All ORVs are authorized for use on the unpaved designated roads currently open to only conventional vehicles and street- legal all-terrain vehicles (ATV). Note: There are 388 miles of Designated Roads of which 304 miles are unpaved.
All ORVs are authorized for use on approximately eight miles of road in the Orange Cliffs Unit (Route 633 proceeding north to Route 730 and proceeding west to the park boundary), which completes the 100-mile Poison Spring Loop located on NPS and adjacent BLM lands.The remaining designated roads are open to conventional motor vehicles only.
All other user-created routes and linear disturbances within the recreation area are closed to public motor vehicle travel.
Street-legal ATVs are prohibited on the Lees Ferry Access Road (AZ) and other paved roads in the Lees Ferry developed area (AZ). This closure is for visitor safety concerns and to protect habitat for threatened and endangered species immediately adjacent to the road.
Designated Shoreline Access Areas are open only to conventional motor vehicles and street-legal ATVs with a permits. Some areas are closed to street-legal ATVs seasonally. Unpaved Designated Roads within SAA do not require a permit. Speed limits are 15 mph unless otherwise posted.
A permit system is in development. Once the permit system is inplace, they will be required for the following areas.
There is no additional camping fee or permit required to camp in undeveloped backcountry areas, with some exceptions:
Backcountry permits are required for all overnight stays in the Escalante District of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Obtain permits at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center in the town of Escalante or at one of the entry trailheads. Day use does not require a backcountry permit, but please sign the trail register.
Backcountry camping in the Orange Cliffs area of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area requires a permit from Canyonlands National Park.
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.
Allowed on paved and unpaved designated park roads, including in the Orange Cliffs Special Management uni, and designated ORV Routes.
Allowed in Shoreline Access Areas.
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.
Allowed on most unpaved designated park roads.
Allowed on unpaved designated roads within all shoreline access areas.
Prohibited on paved roads.
Prohibited on park roads in the Orange Cliffs Special Management Unit, except for approximately eight miles of the Poison Spring Loop.
Prohibited on Shoreline Access Areas except at Lone Rock Beach.
Street-legal All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
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.
Allowed on paved park designated roads, except for the Lees Ferry Access Road, and on most unpaved park designated roads.
Prohibited on park designated roads in the Orange Cliffs Special Management Unit, except for approximately eight miles of the Poison Spring Loop.
Allowed in Shoreline Access Areas, with seasonal closures.
Glen Canyon 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). Utah Department of Natural Resources OHV Laws & Rules Arizona State Parks and Trails OHV Laws & Regulations
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.
Operating a generator or audio device, such as a radio or speakers, within a designated ORV area during quiet hours is also prohibited.
Orange Cliffs Special Management Area
OHVs and Street-legal ATVs are prohibited in the Orange Cliffs Special Management Area (Route 633 proceeding north to Route 730 and proceeding west to the park boundary), 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.
Human Waste Disposal
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:
the ORV so that the safety flag is at least eight feet above the ground.
the protective headgear of the operator of a motorcycle or dirt bike so that the safety flag is at least 18 inches above the top of the operator’s head.
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.
Tread Lightly! and land management partners lead a national initiative to protect and enhance recreation access and opportunities by promoting outdoor ethics to heighten individuals’ sense of good stewardship. Tread Lightly!’s goal is to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation with our need to maintain healthy ecosystems. If every rider follows the TREAD principles, we will assure minimal impact on the environment and open access to our public lands.
TRAVEL RESPONSIBILTY 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
. RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS 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.
AVOID SENSITIVE AREAS
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.
DO YOUR PART 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:
Plenty of food and water (recommended 1 gallon of water per day per person)
Extra fuel and oil
Tool set for basic mechanics
Extra spark plugs
Flashlight or headlamp
Tow strap(s) or rope
Duct tape and electrical tape
Waterproof matches or lighter
Tire repair kit
Consider spare cables, brake fluid, a spare tire or tube for extended trips
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 how their vehicle is defined and where it is allowed.
Designated shoreline areas are open only to conventional motor vehicles and street-legal ATVs with proper ORV permits.Some areas are closed to street-legal ATVs during specified months.
Last updated: February 8, 2024
PO Box 1507
Receptionist available at Glen Canyon Headquarters from 7 am to 4 pm MST, Monday through Friday. The phone is not monitored when the building is closed. If you are having an emergency, call 911 or hail National Park Service on Marine Band 16.