The sandstone towers at the Island in the Sky attract the most rock climbers. Little climbing is done in the rest of the park due to the poor rock quality and a lack of established routes. Permits are not required for technical rock climbing unless it involves an overnight stay in the backcountry.
Technical rock climbing is prohibited in the Salt Creek Archeological District in the Needles, in the Horseshoe Canyon Unit of the Maze District, into any archeological site or cultural resource, or on any arch or natural bridge in Canyonlands National Park or the Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon NRA named on a USGS map, with the exception of Washer Woman Arch at the Island. The intentional removal of lichen or plants from rock is prohibited. The physical altering of rock faces by chiseling, glue reinforcement of existing holds, and gluing of new holds is prohibited. The use of motorized power drills is prohibited.
No new climbing hardware may be left in a fixed location; however, if a hardware item is unsafe, it may be replaced. Protection may not be placed with the use of a hammer except to replace existing belay and rappel anchors and bolts on existing routes, or for emergency self-rescue. If an existing software item (sling, etc.) is unsafe, it may be replaced (software that is left in place must match the rock surface in color). Canyoneering (cross-country travel involving the occasional use of climbing equipment ) may occur in areas closed to rock climbing, but must occur at least 300 feet away from cultural sites.
Guidebooks are available through the bookstore.