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Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park Camping

Canyonlands National Park is a wonderland of ancient geology. Views from the high rims surrounding the various canyons look down into the mysterious and inviting depths while exploring the canyon floor can reveal a hidden world of defiant forests. Camping in Canyonlands offers spectacular views of the night sky, regardless of if you are in an established campground or in the backcountry. 

Canyonlands National Park More Camping in Utah

Canyonlands Campgrounds

Canyonlands_Western-Spirit-Cycling_White-Rim-Trail_Richardson-White

Camping along the White Rim Trail in in Canyonlands National Park.

Photo: Whit Richardson/Western Spirit

Backcountry Camping in Canyonlands

Backcountry camping is an elevated experience in Canyonlands, but please note that the area can be extremely difficult to navigate. Even experienced backpackers should be well-versed in desert navigation before setting out. Park rangers are extremely knowledgeable and can help you develop your itinerary.

Four districts make up the backcountry zones: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze and the rivers within the park boundaries. Permits are required for all overnight backcountry travel, with special permits for each mode of transportation. Permits should be acquired at least six months in advance for the more popular destinations, such as the amazing White Rim Campgrounds and Cataract Canyon. The National Park Service wesbite has more details on permits. Fees vary depending on the location and modes of travel.

The best way to reach backcountry sites is by mountain bike, 4x4 vehicle, dirt bike, boat or horseback, though backpacking is also an option. Traveling by foot in Canyonlands is generally not beginner-friendly due to the lack of water sources, challenging navigation and hot climate. For those with established backpacking skills, however, the adventure potential is nearly endless. 

BLM Camping Near Canyonlands

Both Moab and Monticello offer dozens of campsites hosted on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Note that these semi-developed campgrounds often have vault toilets and picnic tables, and cost a modest fee ($15-$20 per night). Discover Moab offers an extensive list of the Moab area BLM lands. The Monticello field office also has information on BLM campgrounds in the area, including the famous Superbowl campground. 

RV Camping and Glamping

Most RV campers stay in the Moab area, about a 30-40-minute drive from Canyonlands. There are plentiful options in town as well as many BLM options for RVs (noted above). 

There are also several hotels, resorts and even a glamping option in Moab, for those looking for a few more amenities.

Canyonlands is a certified International Dark Sky Park.

Photo: National Park Service

Canyonlands National Park stretches across 527 square miles.

Photo: Angie Payne

Camping Responsibly

Forever Mighty

While venturing beyond the more predictable, and sometimes crowded, public campgrounds to camp in the backcountry can be a thrilling adventure — remember to travel responsibly, a shared ethic we call "Forever Mighty."

Learn more

Leave No Trace

No matter what Utah activities you take on, remember to follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace:

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

When To Visit, Pet Policies & Other Things To Know

  • Many of the best hikes and viewpoints are available as day hikes in Canyonlands. Camping nearby and making day trips to these places is standard fare (as are the mountain bike destinations like Navajo Rocks).
  • White Rim is a roughly 100-mile loop that has established primitive campgrounds along its 4x4 road. Most explorers stay for two or three nights. Make your reservations at least six months in advance. If mountain biking, account for a support vehicle that is 4x4 ready and has high clearance (or rent one for the adventure).
  • Pets are allowed on-leash in parking areas, picnic areas, and developed campgrounds, but not on any trails, in backcountry terrain, or on the rivers. If exploring Canyonlands only accounts for a day or two of your trip, consider boarding your dog in nearby Moab. 
  • Canyonlands is a dry, desert environment. Bring plenty of water and check the weather forecast for lightning storms and flash floods.
  • Utah’s National Parks see millions of travelers each year. As you plan your next trip to Canyonlands, consider ways to support its basecamp communities and keep the park Forever Mighty.
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