Canyonlands National Park Camping

The vast, endless desert landscape of Canyonlands National Park beacons nature lovers from across the globe. The best way to truly immerse yourself in this jaw-dropping landscape is to sleep under the stars. In this guide about where to camp in Canyonlands National Park, you’ll get the inside scoop on the best campgrounds in the park.

How to Access Canyonlands National Park Camping

There are three districts in Canyonlands National Park. Island in the Sky is the most popular district and has the Willow Flat Campground. The Needles District is world-famous for its unique rock spires and offers the Needles Campground. Last, the Maze District is the most remote district and only offers backcountry campsites as an option.

These three districts all have distinct entrances. Island in the Sky is 30 minutes north of Moab, while the Needles is one and a half hours south. To access the Maze, it will take a three hour drive north and then west from Moab.

Do I Need to Reserve My Campsite?

The Needles Campground takes advanced reservations for half of their sites. However, between March and September, a reservation is strongly recommended. You can reserve your camping permits up to six months in advance.

The Island in the Sky Campground, also known as Willow Flat, is first-come-first-served only.

For those looking to camp along a 4WD road or in the backcountry, advanced permits are strongly recommended, especially for popular areas. You can reserve your permit up to four months in advance.

Pro Tip: Popular areas such as White Rim Road, Chesler Park, and Elephant Canyon fill up almost immediately on weekends between March and October.

The Willow Flat Campground

Also known as the Island in the Sky Campground, this amazingly beautiful campground features 12 sites that are first-come-first-serve only. For $15 per site you’ll have a dedicated campsite, picnic table, fire ring, and communal toilets. Bring your own water as there is no access to drinking water at camp.

Pro Tip: Check out the nearby Green River Overlook or hike the famous Syncline Loop Trail.

Needles District Campground

For some of the best hikes in Canyonlands, head to the Needles District. Since this section of the park is located 1 and a half hours from Moab, you may want to consider spending the night and enjoying some incredible Canyonlands National Park camping.

There are 26 individual sites and three group sites throughout the Needles District. Camping fees are $20 per night. During the busy spring and fall seasons, you can reserve 12 campsites up to 6 months in advance. The rest of the sites are first-come-first-served.

Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring as well as access to toilets. Potable water is available seasonally.

Overland and Backpacking in Canyonlands

Backpacking in Canyonlands National Park should be on everyone’s bucket list. Using the online permit system you can reserve your backcountry campsite or your 4WD campground up to four months in advance. Permits are $30 per group (group size varies based on activity) for up to 7 days. You can obtain a permit in-person as well, although your spot is not guaranteed.

Make the most out of your Canyonlands visit by spending the night inside this incredible national park. Sleep under the starry desert skies and enjoy Canyonlands National Park camping.