Cedar Mesa - Bears Ears National Monument Permits and Passes

orange light illuminates a small archeological site nestled in an enormous cliffside. Buttes in the shape of bears ears loom in the distance.

Cedar Mesa - Bears Ears National Monument Permit System

Bears Ears National Monument, including areas like Cedar Mesa and Comb Ridge, is a special landscape that contains many cultural and natural resources. Backpackers and hikers flock to this region to visit Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites, trek through spectacular canyons, and share public lands with friends and family. If you plan to explore this area on foot, whether day hiking or backpacking, you may need to obtain a permit or pass in order to do so. 

You can also watch the Visit with Respect Video on our YouTube website.

 

Do I need a permit...

...to backpack?

...for Moon House?

...for day hiking?

Yes. A permit is required to backpack in the canyons of Cedar Mesa. Backpacking permits are limited to 20 people/trailhead/day. Yes. Moon House is the only day hike that requires a permit instead of a day hiking pass. Moon House permits are limited to 20 people/day. Day hiking in Bears Ears National Monument does not require a permit, but does require a day hiking pass. Day hiking passes are unlimited.

 

Permit and Pass Basics

Where are permits required?

Permits and passes are required in the Shash Jaa Special Recreation Management Area (Comb Ridge and surroundings) and the canyons of Cedar Mesa, including Grand Gulch and its tributaries as well as Slickhorn Canyon, Fish and Owl Canyons, Lime Creek, Road Canyon, and the South and North Forks of Mule Canyon.

How much do permits cost?
  • Backpacking permits are $15/person/trip.
  • Moon House permits are $5/person/trip.
  • Day hiking passes can be purchased at $5/person/day, $10/person/week, or $40/car/year. 
How do I get a permit or pass?

The BLM has implemented temporary changes to the permit process during the fall 2022 season. All quota for backpacking and Moon House permits (20 visitors per trailhead/per day) is available to book on recreation.gov starting 90 days in advance of the entry date. The requirement to pick up your permit in person at the ranger station has been suspended; your permit will be emailed by the BLM prior to your trip.

Backpacking permits

  • In the spring (March 1 – June 15) and fall (September 1 – October 31), you may get your backpacking permit online at recreation.gov up to 90 days in advance. 8 of the 20 available permits per trailhead are reserved for walk-up purchase on the day-of at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station
  • In the summer (June 16 – July 31) and winter (November 1 – February 28), backpacking permits can be obtained by self-registering at your desired trailhead with cash or check.

Moon House permits

  • Moon House permits must be purchased online at recreation.gov year-round and can be obtained up to 90 days in advance.
  • In the spring (March 1 – June 15) and fall (September 1 – October 31), 8 of the 20 available Moon House permits are reserved for walk-up purchase on the day-of at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station

Day hiking passes

Does my America the Beautiful Pass count toward my permit or pass?
  • No. You will need to purchase the appropriate permit or pass for your desired activity.
  • America the Beautiful Passes typically count for entry to public lands. For example, if you were visiting our neighbors at Canyonlands National Park, you would show your pass to a ranger upon entering the park and that would grant you entry. But if you were planning to backpack in Canyonlands, you might need to pay for an activity fee in order to do so.
  • At Bears Ears National Monument, we do not charge an entry fee where your America the Beautiful Pass would typically apply. However, we do charge activity fees called "Individual Special Recreation Permits" for day hiking and backpacking. Because your America the Beautiful Pass does not cover Individual Special Recreation Permits, it does not apply toward your backpacking permit, Moon House permit, nor day hiking pass.
Other Pages and Resources

If you have a question that has not been answered on this page, try our Cedar Mesa Frequently Asked Questions page.

You can get more information about your visit by calling the Cedar Mesa Line at (435) 587-1510, open 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. from Monday through Friday. 

The Kane Gulch Ranger Station is open daily from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. during the spring and fall. Rangers staff the station to answer questions about the area and provide assistance with permits and passes.