Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

In A Nutshell



There are two paved entrances into Canyonlands: Highway 313 leads to the Island in the Sky, while Highway 211 leads to the Needles. Roads to the Maze are a mixture of graded dirt and 4WD. These roads may become impassable when wet.

Commercial airlines serve Grand Junction, CO and Salt Lake City, UT. By car, these cities are at least 2 and 4 hours (respectively) away from the closest park entrance (Island in the Sky). A small commuter service flies between Salt Lake City and Moab.

Greyhound travels along Interstate 70, making stops at Grand Junction, CO and Green River, UT. Commercial vans/shuttles operate between Moab and Salt Lake City as well as Grand Junction.

Amtrak stops at Grand Junction, CO and Green River, UT. Commercial van services operate between Grand Junction and Moab.

Public Transportation
There is no public transportation to Canyonlands.


Travel to Canyonlands generally requires a car. Once in the park, each district offers different opportunities for exploration. The Island in the Sky is the most accessible district and the easiest to visit in a short period of time. All other destinations require some boating, hiking or four-wheel driving to see the area's attractions.

Operating Hours & Seasons

Canyonlands is open year-round, 24 hours a day. Each district has its own visitor center with operating hours that differ depending on the season. All visitor centers are closed on December 25th and January 1st.

Island in the Sky
The Island in the Sky Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with extended hours March through October.

The Hans Flat Ranger Station is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Needles District Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with extended hours March through October.

Fees & Reservations


All federal lands passes are issued and accepted at Canyonlands.

Individuals: $5 (Good for 7 Days)
This fee applies to motorcycles, bicycles and walk-ins (per person).

Vehicles: $10 (Good for 7 days)
This fee includes all occupants of a vehicle.

Local Passport: $25 (Good for one year)
Good for entrance to Arches, Canyonlands, Hovenweep and Natural Bridges.

Commercial Tours
Fee depends upon the capacity of the vehicle. 1 to 6 passenger vehicles are charged $25 and $5 per person. 7 to 25 passenger vehicles are charged $40. 26 or more passenger vehicles are charged $100.


At the Island in the Sky, sites at Willow Flat Campground are $10 per night. In the Needles, sites at Squaw Flat Campground are $15 per night. All sites are first-come, first-served.


Reservations are available for all backcountry permits and for group campsites in the Needles. Regular sites at the developed campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

Entrance Fee Waivers

Fee waiver requests for Canyonlands National Park are processed by the Southeast Utah Group Fee Coordinator. To qualify for a fee waiver, the purpose of the visit must be educational rather than recreational in nature and must relate directly to the resources of the area. Requests for fee waivers must be made by a recognized educational institution on school letterhead. Requests must include information regarding the specific educational purpose of the trip, the date of the anticipated visit, the particular parks and/or monuments of the Southeast Utah Group that will be visited, and the number of students and teachers in the group.

Please note the following additional requirements:

  1. Applications must be received at least two weeks in advance of a trip.
  2. Fee waivers must be obtained prior to your arrival. Fee waivers will not be awarded at entrance stations and refunds (for any paid entrance fees) will not be granted.
  3. Entrance fees will be waived only if each vehicle has a copy of the fee waiver.
  4. Reservation and camping fees cannot be waived for educational groups.

How to Make a Request

To request a fee waiver, send an email at least two weeks before your trip to "[email protected]". Please send your letter (on school letterhead) as an attachment in MS Word, PDF or similar format. Issued fee waivers will be returned by email.


The Fee Waiver Coordinator can be reached by phone during normal business hours at (435) 719-2141 or by email.


What can be reserved?

Reservations are available for all backcountry permits and for group campsites in the Needles District of Canyonlands. Regular sites at the developed campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

Are reservations necessary?

Reservations are recommended, but not required. Currently, competition is greatest for White Rim trips during the spring and fall, Needles backpacking trips during spring, and for frontcountry group campsites in the Needles. For these activities, visitors should apply as early as possible. Campsites and permits not reserved in advance are available on a first-come, first-served basis at district visitor centers.

There is no lottery for river permits. Essentially, river permits are first-come, first-served after the first business day in January for each calendar year. There are no daily launch limits in Canyonlands, so there is no need to submit mulitiple requests for the same date. If you submit a request, you will get a permit...for any date you choose.

When may I apply?

Reservation requests must be made at least two weeks in advance of a trip. The earliest date to apply varies by activity. Reservation requests for backpacking, four-wheel drive/mountain bike and day use trips are accepted (postmarked or faxed) no earlier than the second Monday in July for the following calendar year. Requests for frontcountry group campsites and river trips are accepted no earlier than the first business day in January for trips during that calendar year.

How to make a reservation

To make a reservation, complete an application form or write a letter following the guidelines below.

1) Trip Leader
Provide the name, address, and phone numbers for the individual making the reservation. Include estimated group size and number of vehicles/boats (these may be finalized later).

2) Type of Trip
Choose an activity from the list provided. Multiple activities may be combined on one permit providing group size limits are not exceeded and not more than one activity is chosen on a given day (e.g. if part of a river trip group wants to backpack for a night, they must be on a separate permit). Day use permits are not required for visitors camping at, or backpacking from, the Peekaboo vehicle sites. Cataract Canyon trips include the flat water section. Flat water trips must indicate upstream travel arrangements.

3) Itinerary
List the dates and campsites desired. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance of a trip. At least two itineraries should be developed in case your first choice is not available. River trips do not have to specify campsites, but must include launch and take-out locations. 4WD day use trips indicate either Horse or Lavender canyon.

4) Payment
All applications must include a credit card number with expiration date (Visa or MasterCard only) or a check/money order made payable to the National Park Service. When multiple activities are reserved on one permit, only the higher fee is collected (e.g. Cataract Canyon trips include the flat water section). Reservation fees are nonrefundable.

5) Special Instructions
Provide other specifics and/or options for your trip (i.e. campsites you definitely want, preferred direction of travel on the White Rim Road, alternate dates, etc.). If you’re visiting for the first time, please say so and reservation office staff will schedule the best trip possible based on availability.

Mail or fax your request at least two weeks in advance to:

National Park Service
Reservation Office
2282 S. West Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532-3298
Fax: (435) 259-4285

You will receive a mailed response confirming your reservation. If questions arise about your application, we will try to contact you by phone.


Reservation office staff are available by phone to answer questions and assist with trip planning Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Mountain Time), at (435) 259-4351. When workload permits, phones may be answered until 4:00 p.m. Reservations may not be made over the phone or by email.


Southeast Utah is part of the Colorado Plateau, a "high desert" region that experiences wide temperature fluctuations, sometimes over 40 degrees in a single day. The temperate (and most popular) seasons are spring (April through May) and fall (mid-September through October), when daytime highs average 60 to 80 F and lows average 30 to 50 F.

Summer temperatures often exceed 100 F, making strenuous exercise difficult. Late summer monsoon season brings violent storm cells which often cause flash floods.

Winters are cold, with highs averaging 30 to 50 F, and lows averaging 0 to 20 F. Though large snowfalls are uncommon (except in nearby mountains), even small amounts of snow or ice can make local trails and roads impassable.

Local weather conditions and forecasts are available from the National Weather Service.

Park Staff & Offices

Canyonlands shares a headquarters facility with the parks of the Southeast Utah Group, which inlcude Arches, Canyonlands, Hovenweep and Natural Bridges.


2282 SW Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532


(435) 719-2100


(435) 719-2300


Superintendent: (435) 719-2101
Chief of Interpretation: (435) 719-2140
Chief of Maintenance: (435) 719-2150
Chief Ranger: (435) 719-2120
Chief of Resource Management: (435) 719-2130
Human Resources Office: (435) 719-2113/2117

Backcountry Information: (435) 259-4351
Concessions: (435) 719-2123
Educational Fee Waivers: (435) 719-2141
General Information: (435) 719-2313
Public Information Officer: (435) 719-2140
Special Use Permits: (435) 719-2223