Labyrinth Canyon is a special and delicate place, managed by the US Bureau of Land Management and the Utah State Division of Lands and Forestry. These agencies have jointly adopted set regulations for floating the canyon. Don’t worry — they are easy to abide by and help keep the canyon clean and pristine for other visitors.
The following regulations are printed on the back of the Labyrinth Canyon permit. We’ve included a few notes here.
1. The permittee must allow rangers to inspect the permit a11d required equipment and to orient the about river safety andetiquette. Upon the permittee must present the non- transferable permit along with a photo ID.
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: easy enough!
2. The permit must list any sponsor or affiliated organization, .e.g., scout troop, school, etc. associated with the trip.
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: No problem!
3. The trip must be noncommercial. No person or organization may make money or increase his or her net worth as a result of this trip. No fees may be collected in excess of actual trip expenses.
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: No problem!
4. The permittee must have at all times in canyon:
a. No·more than 25 persons on the trip,
b. A washable, leak-proof, reusable toilet system that allows for the carry-out and disposal of human feces via an authorized sewer system. The toilet(s) must be of adequate size for the group size and trip length,
c. A durable metal fire pan at least 12 inches wide with at least a 1.5 inch lip around the outer edge. Sufficient to contain fire and remains. Firepans must be carried on all overnight trips.
(a) Group size: 25 people is way, way too many people to have in your group anyways. If you are bringing that many people, just go to Moab and float the Daily stretch.
(b) River toilet: For many new to self-supported river trips, this is the most challenging aspect of river camping. But there are some great solutions that make this task very easy. As per regulations, all trips must have a reusable and washable toilet system that uses enzymes and chemicals to treat human waste. Depending on the type of craft in which you are traveling, your toilet system may be a full-fledged rocket-box style river toilet, or a PVC style “groove tube” discussed elsewhere on this site.
(c) Fire pan: Fires in Labyrinth Canyon are allowed using drift wood. Rafters and canoers can bring a full size pan; smaller crafts must be creative. An aluminum turkey roasting pan is small, compactable, and fits the bill for this application.
1. There shall be a proper size, serviceable, Type I,.II, Ill or V PFD readily available-for each person, on each vessel. Persons under age 13 must wear their PFD at all times on the water.
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: We recommend everyone wear their PFD when on the river, even if the river seems placid. They keep you warm if it is chilly, offer some protection when walking around on slippery and loose rocks on the shore, and if you are wearing it, you won’t accidentally leave it in camp or have it blow away.
2. Each vessel shall have a spare means of propulsion. Boats with a capacity of 3 or fewer persons, e.g., kayaks, canoes, inflatable kayaks, must carry spare paddles as follows: 1-3 vessels require 1 spare paddle, 4-6 vessels require 2 spare paddles, 7 to 9 vessels require 3 spare paddles, etc.
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: Spare paddles can be a real hassle if you are in a hard shell kayak. The National Park Service actually allows kayaks to bring hand paddles in lieue of an actual spare paddle. Regulations and enforcement vary. To be safe, pick up a 4 piece take apart paddle that will fit in most boats. Canoes and rafts should have no trouble bringing an extra paddle.
3. A bailing bucket or bilge pump (does not·apply to self bailing boats, kayaks with spray skirts and inflatable kayaks).
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: Standard equipment for rafts. For kayaks, make sure your spray skirt fits and is comfortable!
4. Each boat 16 feet long or longer must have immediately available, a Type IV throwable PFD or a commercially made river throw bag with a minimum of 40 feet of line.
5. Adhere to the Utah Boating Act (Title 73, Chapter 18) including registration of motorized boats, required equipment, and operational requirements.
Conservation of Natural Resources
a. Carry out all charcoal, fire ash, garbage, trash, human and pet feces out of the canyon. Leaving human or pet feces in the canyon or dumping it, into restrooms or trash receptacles at public facilities is prohibited. Gray water, strained free of solids, and urine should be discharged into the main stream of the river.
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: Everything that goes into the canyon, comes out of the canyon, except for your urine, which goes into the river.
b. Not remove, damage or destroy archaeological, historical or ecological resources or mark or deface any rock surface, trees or other vegetation.
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: Please leave things as you find them. Don’t create new fake petroglyphs. They are annoying. Leave archaeological findings alone.
c. Launch, travel (stay in visual contact), and camp together as a group. Groups launching separately may not camp together if such action would result in more than 25 persons occupying a camp.
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: Stick together with your group. It’s more fu that way. Dont bring a huge group anyways. Labyrinth Canyon isn’t appropriate for massive group sizes, even if they are allowed.
e. Limit firewood gathering to river drift wood only and fully contain fires in the fire pan.
Note: Pets are prohibited on the river within Canyonlands National Park. Additional regulations apply. Contact CNP at (435) 719-2313 for rules.
LabyrinthCanyon.com notes: Although fires are allowed, they aren’t really necessary. Plus, you’ll have to haul out messy fire ash. Consider skipping the fire, but be sure to bring your required fire pan just in case. Saying you don’t intend to have a fire won’t pass muster.
That’s it for the official required equipment and regulations!
We also recommend the following:
First Aid kit
A first aid kit adequate for the number of trip participants and length of trip.
Effective trash management will make your trip much cleaner and more enjoyable. We recommend a mesh bag lined with several plastic trash bags. Compact all your trash including cans as much as possible. Be sure to store your trash bag inside a boat at night to keep rodents out! If you are traveling in a canoe or raft, you might consider bringing along a dedicated bucket or rocket box for storing trash.