Backpacking Regulations

Hiker on the West Rim Trail

You can help preserve and protect the Zion Wilderness for future generations by following these regulations and Leave No Trace principles.

Wilderness Permits

  • Permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips within Zion National Park.

  • Permits may be picked up the day before, or the day of your trip at one of the park visitor centers.

  • Permits are valid only for the campsites and dates shown.

  • Permits must be carried with you and shown upon request.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Take action to ensure that your group is self-reliant and aware of the risks involved with backpacking in the Zion Wilderness.

  • Be aware of the weather and the flash flood potential rating. Continuously evaluate the weather and adjust plans to keep you and your group safe. Have a back-up plan.

  • Have a route description, map, compass, and the ability to use them.

  • Familiarize yourself with the water sources in Zion. Carry enough water, one gallon per person per day, and drink it. Do not drink untreated water.

  • Plan your wilderness transportation to and from the trailhead. Upstream travel to campsites in the Narrows is prohibited.

  • Everyone in the group should have the proper equipment, skill level, and physical ability to successfully complete each overnight trip.

  • Know that rescue is not a certainty. Your safety is your responsibility.

Group Size Limits

  • The maximum group size limit for the Zion Wilderness is 12 people.

  • A group is any number of people sharing the same affiliation (e.g., school, club, scout troop, family, friends, etc.) on the same trail on the same day.

  • Group size limits are strictly enforced. Permits will be denied and violators will be cited if limits are exceeded.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • In designated camping areas, (e.g., Kolob Canyons, West Rim, The Narrows, and Southwest Desert) camp only within the previously disturbed area.

  • In at-large camping areas, (e.g., Wildcat Canyon and East Rim) campsites should be 200 feet from all streams and trails and ¼ mile from natural springs. Camping in previously used areas or on bare ground is encouraged.

  • Travel on well-established trails. If you must leave the trail, avoid stepping on biological soil crusts. It can take decades to regrow and can be destroyed by a single step.

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Be prepared to pack out human waste, toilet paper, and hygiene products. Wilderness permit groups must carry a minimum of one human waste disposal bag per person while in the wilderness.

  • All wilderness permit groups must carry their solid human waste out of the wilderness in waste disposal bags. This includes all Virgin River Narrows trips and all backpacking trips.

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Carry out all trash, including food wrappers, apple cores, fruit peels, nut shells, and toilet paper. Dispose of all waste in a proper trash can or dumpster. Recycle the rest.

Leave What You Find

  • Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them.

  • Protect the park from graffiti and vandalism. Do not build or destroy rock cairns that are used to mark trails and routes. If placed incorrectly, they can mislead visitors, cause unnecessary damage, and lead to potential injuries.

  • Do not build structures including benches, tables, or shelters. Leave the park in a natural state for others to enjoy.


  • Campfires are not permitted in the Zion Wilderness. Use a gas stove to cook.

General Regulations

  • Pets, bikes, vehicles, discharge of weapons, hunting, and feeding wildlife are prohibited.

Protect The Wilderness
Wilderness is a rare wild place where one can retreat from civilization, reconnect with the earth and find healing, meaning, and significance. Knowledge, respect, and understanding for these wild and undeveloped places will ensure that they remain spectacular for years to come. To learn more visit the National Park Service Wilderness page and Wilderness Connect.

Leave No Trace
While backpacking in Zion, please show respect for your national park and your fellow visitors by following each of the Leave No Trace principles.

Last updated: June 3, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale, UT 84767


(435) 772-3256
Staffed daily from 9 am - 1 pm. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day. If you are unable to reach someone by phone, please email us at

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