Canyonlands National Park & Indian Creek
Hiking in the Needles
It has been said that the heart of every park lies in its backcountry, away from the crowded overlooks and scenic loops. the Needles District contains over 55 miles of backcountry trails, as well as several trailess aresas, which can easily absorb an afternoon of hiking or a week-long trip. Use this guide to help plan your trip and make yourself aware of resources and safety issues unique to Canyonlands National Park.
In the Needles, peak visitation generally coincides with the most pleasant weather. The busiest seasons are spring and fall, when daytime highs average 60 to 80 F and lows average 20 to 50 F. Summer temperatures, with highs hovering around 100 f discourage crowds and tend to make strenuous exercise difficult. Most precipitation falls in early spring and late summer storms. See chart below for more weather statistics.
Permits are required for all overnight travel in the backcountry. In order to protect park resources, Canyonlands limits the number of backcountry permits issued each day. In addition, the park has established designated backcountry camping sites in the high-use, trailed areas. A $10, non-refundable reservation fee is charged for all backpacking permits, to walk-ins as well as to visitors making advance reservations. this fee helps recover some of the costs of the reservation system and permit processing.
Back country permits are valid only fro the dates and site/zones listed on the front of the permit, and must be in your possession and made visible while you are in the backcountry. Permits are valid for up to fourteen consecutive days.
HOW TO OBTAIN A PERMIT
Permits are issued at district visitor centers to walk-ins, on a space -available basis, and to confirmed reservation holders.
GROUP SIZE LIMITS
These vary between different districts and permit types:
Permit Type Needles Island in the Sky Maze
Backpacking 7 people 7 people 5 people
Vehicle camping 10 people, 3 vehicles 15 people, 3 vehicles 9 people, 3 vehicles
LENGTH OF STAY LIMITS
In areas with designated sites or zones, backpackers may stay up to seven consecutive nights in any given site or zone before having to relocate. Vehicle campers may stay a maximum of three consecutive nights in any one designated site before having to relocate. Changing campsites within a campground(i.e. Devils Kitchen ) is not considered relocating.
WHERE TO CAMP
When not in an area with designated sites, visitors stay in at-large camping zones and may select their own site. Please consider the following minimum-impact practices when choosing a site:
Don't trample desert soils. Pitch your tent or roll out your sleeping bag on slickrock, in wooded areas where cryptobiotic crusts generally do not form.
Don't create a trail to your campsite. hike only on slickrock or in sandy drainages where your footprints will be erased by the next storm.
Don't clutter the view with tents. At-large campsites must be at least 1 mile from any road or trailhead, and out of sight of any trail, overlook or other backpacking party.
Pack out all garbage. This includes organic matter as well as used toilet paper.
Dispose of human waste properly.
Advance reservations are available and highly recommended for all backcountry permits. they not only guarantee your trip but speed up the permit process at the visitor center. Request a copy of the Canyonlands Trip Planner for more information.