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2023 Permits, Passes & Fees for Cedar Mesa, Comb Ridge & Bear’s Ears

If you are planning a visit to Bear’s Ears National Monument, Cedar Mesa, Comb Ridge, or other areas in southeast Utah you will likely need a permit or pass from the BLM. If you are just driving the highway and visiting developed sites no permits are needed but hikers and backcountry users need a pass or a permit. Here’s what you need to know about permits, passes, and fees for 2023.

Do you need, a pass or a permit?

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Make Sure You Bring Cash! All of the self-pay options for passes and permits require cash payment in an envelope at the trailhead. There is no way to pay by credit/debit card. Bring enough cash in the proper amount or use a personal check.

For day hiking you only need a day pass. Most other activities require a permit. Here is an overview:

ActivityPassPermit
Day HikingYesNo
Car CampingNoNo
BackpackingYesYes
Moon House RuinYesYes
Stock UseYesYes

Passes

Everyone who hikes on Cedar Mesa or the surrounding BLM lands is required to purchase a pass. There is no limit to the number of passes issued and they are available year-round with no high or low-use seasons. Passes are available for purchase at all major trailheads.

2023 Cedar Mesa Pass Fees

The price of a pass depends on the length of time you choose. Here are the rates for 2023:
1 day $ 5.00
7 day $10.00
Annual Pass $40.00

How to purchase a pass

  • Most trailheads have self-pay stations where you can register and pay.
  • Passes can be purchased at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM during the high-use seasons of March 1 – June 15 & Sept. 1 – Oct. 31.
  • When the ranger station is closed permits must be purchased at the trailhead or online.
  • Advance purchases are available online at Cedar Mesa & Bears Ears Natl. Monument Day Hiking.
  • Be Aware – for any online reservation you will be charged a $6.00 non-refundable processing fee.

Permits

Permits are required for the following:

  • overnight backpacking
  • All trips involving stock animals
  • Day visits to Moon House Ruin

Permits requirements vary according to the time of year. The year is divided into four alternating high-use and low-use time periods. Here is the 2023 season schedule

Permit Seasons

November 1, 2022 – February 28, 2023 Low Use
March 1, 2023 – June 15, 2023 High Use
June 16, 2023 – August 31, 2023 Low Use
September 1, 2023 – October 31, 2023 High Use

Backpacking permits

For 2023 the permit fee for overnight backpacking is $15.00 per person per trip (not per day).

High Use Season (March 1 – June 15 & Sept. 1 – Oct. 31)

  • During the high-use seasons, a maximum of 20 backpackers per day are allowed at each trailhead.
  • Up to twelve of the 20 spaces can be reserved in advance at the Cedar Mesa and Bears Ears National Monument Permits Recreation.gov page.
  • Reservations may be made at least five days but no more than 90 days in advance of the entry date.
  • During the high-use season permits reserved in advance must be picked up in person at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station.
  • At least eight non-reservable permits per access are only available by walk-in at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station on the morning of the trip.
  • Permits are issued first come, first served and the office opens at 8:00 AM
  • Walk-ups will need to pay at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station – Bring Cash!
  • The permit fee is $15 per person per trip.

Low Use Season (June 16 – Aug 31 & Nov. 1 – Feb 28)

  • During the low-use season (June 16 – Aug 31 & Nov. 1 – Feb 28) no reservations are required or available.
  • There is no limit on the daily number of people from any access point. However, there is a maximum group size of 12 people.
  • Although there are no online reservations, all backpackers are required to purchase a permit at one of the self-pay fee tubes at trailheads and other kiosk locations on Cedar Mesa. Bring Cash!
  • The permit fee is $15 per person per trip.

Moon House Ruin Permits

The 2022 permit fee for visiting Moon House Ruin is $5.00 per person

Moon House ruin is one of the most famous and most visited backcountry Ancestral Puebloan sites. To protect it from overuse, the BLM has a mandatory permit system for visiting the ruin.

Only day hiking is allowed to Moon House. No overnight camping is allowed near the site. Only 20 people per day are permitted to visit the ruin.

All visitors are required to have a Moon House permit no matter what time of year.

High Use Season (March 1 – June 15 & Sept. 1 – Oct. 31)

  • During the high-use season, permits can be obtained in advance or in person at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station.
  • All permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Up to 12 of the 20 permits are available for advance reservation at Cedar Mesa and Bears Ears National Monument Permits Recreation.gov page.
  • If you reserve your permit in advance you must pick it up in person at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station on the morning of your planned hike.
  • At least 8 permits are available for walk-ups at the ranger station on the day of the permit.
  • The ranger station is open from 8:00 – 12:00 daily during the high season.

Low Use Season (June 16 – Aug 31 & Nov. 1 – Feb 28)

  • During the low-use seasons (June 16 through Aug 31 and Nov 1 through Feb 28), Moon House permits can only be reserved online in advance.
  • The Kane Gulch Ranger Station is closed during low-use seasons and you cannot secure a permit in person.
  • Make your reservation in advance at the Cedar Mesa and Bears Ears National Monument Permits Recreation.gov page.
  • Moon House permits are $5.00 per person. Note: there is a $6.00 administrative fee added to all online reservations.

Kane Gulch Ranger Station

Kane Gulch Ranger Station is located roadside on UT 261, 4 miles south of UT 95 at the northern end of Cedar Mesa. It’s across the road from the Kane Gulch hiking trail which is one of the most popular entries into Grand Gulch.

The ranger station has very limited hours. It’s only open from 8 am to noon and only during the high-season of March 1 – June 15 and September 1 – October 31. If you are outside the season or hours, the station will be closed so plan accordingly.

In addition to providing permits and advice, the ranger station has several interpretive exhibits and a small gift shop. There is no water for any use so plan accordingly. There are vault toilets in the parking lot that are open all the time.

Cedar Mesa and Comb Ridge Camping Permits

While there are use fees for hiking and other activities, there is no fee and no permit needed to camp overnight at undeveloped campsites created by prior campers. This is called dispersed camping and is very common on BLM lands. There is no fee for dispersed camping and you can camp at any suitable roadside spot that is not designated no-camping.

When selecting a dispersed site you should always try to find an established site and avoid creating any new impacts. There are few toilet facilities available so be sure you know how to properly Go to the Bathroom in the Woods.

In addition to the undeveloped campsites, there are a number of public and private campgrounds in the area. Be sure to read our Guide to Camping in Bear’s Ears National Monument

Conclusions

The fees for exploring the canyon country in and around Bear’s Ears are very reasonable. Free camping, low-cost hiking passes, and inexpensive permits make this a great place to stretch your budget while visiting some of the best of Utah.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a permit to hike in Bear’s Ears?

All hikers need to have a hiking pass which can be purchased at the trailhead or in advance.

Do I need a permit to visit Moon House Ruin?

Access to Moon House Ruin is strictly controlled and no more than 20 hikers per day are allowed to visit. There is a fee of $5.00 per person for the permit. Securing a permit can be confusing so be sure to read the Guide to Moon House Ruin Permits

Is there a camping fee in Bear’s Ears National Monument?

If you camp in a public or private campground you will almost always have to pay a fee. However, there is free camping in undeveloped campsites along some of the roads.

When is the best time to visit Bear’s Ears National Monument?

The best times to visit are Spring and Fall, the same asalign exactly with the high-seasons identified by the BLM, March 1 – June 15 & Sept. 1 – Oct. 31.

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