Canyonlands is a colorful landscape eroded, colorful canyons, mesas and buttes formed by the Colorado River and its
tributaries. The rivers divide the park into four districts: the Island
in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers themselves. Each of these areas retains its
own character and offers different opportunities for exploration.
Explore the Park
Visit Canyonlands and see what it has to offer. From scenic overlooks
at the Island in the Sky, to the remote canyons of the Maze, to the
roiling rapids of the river in Cataract Canyon, adventure awaits!
Some of the rock art in Horseshoe Canyon was painted
over 3,000 years ago. Now known as "Barrier Canyon" style
rock art, it was painted by nomadic groups of hunter-gatherers that
roamed throughout the southwest.
Nature & Science
Canyonlands preserves one of the last, relatively undisturbed areas
of the Colorado Plateau, a geologic province that encompasses much
of the Colorado River and its tributaries. Carved out of vast sedimentary
rock deposits, this area possesses remarkable natural features that
support a fascinating desert ecosystem. Climate
The climate in Canyonlands is extremely dry. Most precipitation falls
in early spring and late summer. Summer highs often exceed 100 Degrees
Fahrenheit, with lows in the 60's. Fall and Spring temperatures are
milder, with highs in the 70's and 80's. Winter temperatures range
from highs in the 40's and 50's to lows well below freezing. Snow
is usually light to moderate.
The park is divided into four districts by the Green and Colorado
rivers: the Island in the Sky, the Maze, the Needles, and the rivers
themselves.The Island in the Sky is the most accessible district,
offering expansive views from many overlooks along the paved scenic
drive, several hikes of varying length and a popular four-wheel-drive
road. The Needles District offers more of a backcountry experience,
requiring some hiking or four-wheel driving to see the areas
attractions. The Maze is a remote district requiring considerably
more time and self-reliance to visit. Northwest of the Maze, the Horseshoe
Canyon Unit is a day-use area with stunning Native American rock art
panels. River trips offer another way to experience the park and usually
involve two or more days of boating. There are no roads within the
park that directly link the four districts. Though they may appear
close on a map, traveling between them requires two to six hours by
car as there are few places to cross the Colorado and Green rivers.
Most people find it impractical to visit more than one or two districts
in a single trip.
Activities requiring a permit include backpacking, four-wheel-drive
and mountain bike camping, river trips, and four-wheel-drive day
use in Horse and Lavender canyons in the Needles District. Fees
are charged and group size limits apply (see chart below). Obtaining
a River PermitRiver permits are issued Monday through Friday from
the Reservation Office in Moab,
and may be received in advance by mail. When the Reservation Office
is closed, the Island in the Sky Visitor Center can also issue river
permits. Obtaining Other Backcountry PermitsPermits (other than
river) are issued seven days a week at district visitor centers.
Permits can be reserved in advance. Walk-in permits are only available
the day before or the day of a trip. Permits are issued up to one
hour before the close of business each day. Length of StayPermits
(except day use) can be issued for up to fourteen consecutive nights.
Backpackers may stay up to seven consecutive nights in any one site
or zone. Visitors using the designated vehicle camps may stay a
maximum of three consecutive nights at a camping area before having
to relocate. FeesTo help recover some of the costs of permit processing
and the reservation system, Canyonlands charges a nonrefundable
reservation fee for each permit. These fees are paid by both walk-ins
and visitors making advance reservations.
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.
Maps of each district as well as the entire park are available.
Canyonlands is open year-round.
Each district has its own visitor
center and hours may vary. All visitor centers are closed on December
25th and January 1st.
The Island in the Sky Visitor Center is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily,
with extended hours spring through fall.
The Hans Flat Ranger Station is open year-round from 8 a.m. to 4:30
The Needles District Visitor Center is open year-round from 9:00 a.m.
to 4:30 p.m., with extended hours March through October.
Canyonlands National Park
2282 SW Resource Blvd. Moab, Utah 84532E-mail
(435) 719-2313Backcountry Information
(435) 719-2300 Climate
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,
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.RESERVATIONSReservations
are available for all backcountry permits and for group campsites
in the Needles. Regular sites at the developed campgrounds are first-come,