Parks commence spring hours

The arrival of spring also brings extended hours of operation or reopening for Arches and Canyonlands national parks’ visitor centers, according to an announcement from the National Park Service.

Arches Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until April 27. Starting April 28 hours will be extended to 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily ranger-led Fiery Furnace tours are available for reservation on www.recreation.gov with start times for 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. Self-guided Fiery Furnace permits are also available and can be obtained at the visitor center. The Devils Garden campground at Arches National Park is now open and reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov.

The Needles Visitor Center at Canyonlands National Park reopened for the season on Sunday, March 10 and will be open seven days a week. Hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through March. For the month of April, hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and beginning May 1 the park will transition to full operating hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Camping is available at The Needles campground; 12 campsites in Loop B are available for reservation starting March 15 and 14 campsites in Loop A are first-come, first-served. Sites fill quickly, particularly in spring and fall, park officials say. You can make reservations up to six months in advance online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Island in the Sky Visitor Center at Canyonlands National Park is now open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Camping is available at the Willow Flat campground; the 12 sites are first-come, first-served.

Permits are required for all overnight backcountry use. Visitors wishing to stay overnight in the Island in the Sky backcountry can make advance reservations (and receive their permit two days or more before their trip) online at: www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm.

Visitors can also get permits at Island in the Sky Visitor Center during its business hours or at the Backcountry Reservation Office weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except federal holidays. The backcountry office is located at 2282 Resource Blvd., just south of Moab.

Visitors wishing to stay overnight in The Needles district backcountry can obtain a permit during operating hours at the visitor center, or reservations starting March 15 can also be made online at www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm.

Day-use permits are required for vehicle and bicycle travel on Elephant Hill Road at The Needles and White Rim Road at Island in the Sky. Day-use permits can be reserved online or at the district visitor center up to 24 hours before the day of travel. Roads may be closed at any time due to poor conditions. Other backcountry roads in Canyonlands that require permits are Peekaboo/Horse Canyon and Lavender Canyon, however these roads are currently impassable.

For information about backcountry use, call the backcountry office at 435-259-4351 or email [email protected].

Visitor services (lodging, food, gasoline, etc.) are not available in the parks, so visitors need to be well equipped with all necessities upon arrival, park officials advise.