Canyonlands National Park

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Canyonlands National Park preserves a colorful landscape of sedimentary sandstones eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Located in southeast Utah, the park sits in the heart of a vast basin bordered by sheer cliffs of Wingate Sandstone.

The Colorado and Green rivers divide the park into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers themselves. While the districts share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character and offers different opportunities for exploration and the study of natural and cultural history.

Most visits to Canyonlands involve camping along the trails, roads and rivers found here. The four districts are not directly linked by any roads, so travel between them requires two to six hours by car. Generally, people find it impractical to visit more than one or two districts in a single trip.

History Of The Park:

People have visited what is now Canyonlands National Park for over 10,000 years. Over time, various groups moved in and out of the area in concert with the availability of natural resources and the technology for exploiting those resources.

Creating a Park:

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Arches National Monument Superintendent Bates Wilson advocated the creation of a National Park in what is now Canyonlands. Wilson led government officials on jeep tours which featured lengthy talks over campfires and hearty Dutch oven dinners. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall joined one of these tours in 1961, and began lobbying for the proposed park. On September 12, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Public Law 88-590 establishing Canyonlands National Park. Initially consisting of 257,640 acres, Congress expanded Canyonlands to its present size of 337,598 acres in 1971.

Activities in park include auto touring, 4 wheel drive trails, hiking, camping, boating, horseback riding and more.


Willow Flat Campground - Located at the Island in the Sky, the Willow Flat Campground is a short walk from one of the finest sunset spots in the park: Green River Overlook. Twelve sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sites include picnic tables, fire grates and vault toilets. No water. Maximum RV length is 28 feet. Group size limit is 10 people and 2 vehicles. Fee is $10 per night. Willow Flat typically fills every day from late March through June and again from early September to mid-October.

Backcountry Camping - Primitive backcountry campsites and at-large backpacking zones exist in each district of Canyonlands. These sites may be accessed by foot, 4WD vehicle or boat. Permits are required for all overnight trips and may be reserved in advance.

Canyonlands National Park, Needles District Group Campsites

There are three Needles District group sites located deep within the southern portion of the beautiful Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah, at an elevation of approximately 4,900 feet. You may book Needles District Group campsites up to six months in advance for dates within the peak season. The Squaw Flat group site is situated in the larger Squaw Flat campground, and the Wooden Shoe and Split Top group sites are in separate areas of the district, isolated from other campsites. The district is 75 miles from Moab, Utah, and 50 miles from Monticello, Utah.

Nearby Lodging / Campgrounds:

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Moab Utah Campgrounds and Primitive Camping Areas

More Information:

Canyonlands National Park

2282 SW Resource Blvd.

Moab, Utah 84532

General Information: (435) 719-2313

Additional Information:

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