Needles Dist 2022 BC Zone Map

John Morrow

May 22, 2015
This is disappointing, this map makes it appear that the entire Horse Canyon system is off limits to backpack camping except for a few slivers of east side sidecanyon heads. I don't seem to remember it being that limited. It used to be a certain distance beyond the jeep trail. Anyone else aware of this or ask the NPS what the exact boundary line is. I always hated how useless this scale non-topo map was for determining legality. Camping in any side drainage wash is about as LNT as one can be. I've never seen a person in a Horse Canyon side drainage in my three backpacks in there.

Screenshot 2022-12-21 092828.png

Also, there is a link to this map when one is in reservations for Needles Overnigjht in but it is a Dead Link. I had to go back to the CANY website to locate it.
Last edited:


Dec 2, 2019
John, I think the official guidance for Needles is that camps in at-large zones must be at least 1 mile from a 'road'.

Of course that brings up the thorny issue of what constitutes a road in Utah ! Over the years, I think there has been some legal issues regarding the roads in the park.

In the years that I have been visiting the park, vehicle access to Salt and Horse has changed (either officially or unofficially) on at least a couple of occasions. I distinctly remember a period a few years back, where there was no vehicular access at all to these canyons. However, that appears to have changed again, and I understand that 4WDs can now drive in Horse, and as far as Peekaboo in Salt.

So, you are probably correct, that at some point in the past, the permitted camping zone in Horse wasn't as restrictive, when there wasn't officially a 'road' there (although there was always a road :) ).

As an aside, I had always thought that the 1-mile rule was designed to keep backpackers away from more popular parts of the park, but I believe the reason is actually to prevent 4WD vehicles parking up and camping for the night, anywhere along a park road, if they have an overnight permit. Unfortunately, backpackers have to adhere to the same 1-mile rule, with the knock-on effect that we can't camp in several attractive and quiet areas such as Horse Canyon, which is rather annoying.
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