Canyonlands National Park Offroad Trails

Offroad PhotoExtensive off-road trails are available throughout Canyonlands that provide access to campsites, trailheads and viewpoints. Rough slick rock, loose rock, deep sand and steep switchbacks characterize these intermediate to difficult trails. ATVs are not permitted, but high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles are one of the best ways to experience the Canyonlands backcountry.

Trail Type Description Mountain Bike? Permits
White Rim Road
(Island District)
Moderate-difficult   Yes Overnight
Flint Trail
(The Maze District)
Difficult Slopes of clay Yes Overnight
Elephant Hill
(Needles District)
Difficult Steep, loose rock Yes Day/Overnight
Colorado Overlook
(Needles District)
Moderate Large rock/overlook Yes  
Horse Canyon/Peekaboo
(Needles District)
Moderate Rock art/very sandy No Day/Overnight
Lavendar Canyon
(Needles District)
  Deep sand (quick sand), arches No Day/Overnight

Area Map

Nearby Trails

Other off-road trails throughout Moab offer views of Canyonlands:

Elephant Hill Trail The trail enters the beautiful small canyons, called "grabens," in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park and is renowned for its challenge to stock vehicles.

Steel Bender Trail The trail lies between Moab and the La Sal Mountains in the vicinity of Mill Creek, a major drainage from the mountains. The trail crosses the creek a few times and travels a lovely part of its canyon.

Wipe-Out Hill Trail This trail tours a region south of Canyonlands Airport and west of Highway 191. It uses portions of Bartlett Wash, Tusher Canyon, Courthouse Pasture, the south cliff base of Big Mesa, and Gemini Bridges. Variety is its strong point, with a wide range of scenery and trail surface and a couple of challenging hills.

Backcountry Regulations:

  1. Permits required for overnight trips.
  2. Wood fires are prohibited, but charcoal fires are allowed at designated sites. A fire pan must be used and all unburned charcoal and fire debris must be removed.
  3. Camping must be within designated areas. Camping is prohibited one mile from road, or within 300 feet of a water source. River corridor camping does not apply.
  4. Disturbing, entering or camping within 300 feet of an archeological or historical site is prohibited
  5. Hunting, feeding or disturbing wildlife is prohibited.
  6. Disturbing or collecting natural features or artifacts are prohibited.
  7. For human waste disposal, use vault toilets where provided. Portable toilets are required for all visitors using designated campsites in the Maze District and at the New Bates Wilson site in the Needles. Backpackers should dig a 4" to 6" deep "cat hole," at least 300 feet from water sources and campsites. Pack out toilet paper.
  8. Pets, weapons and littering are prohibited. Pack out all garbage.
  9. Possession or operation of a bicycle or motor vehicle off a designated road is prohibited. ATVs are not permitted.

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