With 13,000-foot peaks, otherworldly rock formations, and high-elevation deserts, Utah’s state parks are simply stunning.
Whether you’re planning a trip to Jordanelle or Kodachrome Basin, you may wonder if you can bring your drone along. After all, these places look even more beautiful from 300 feet in the air.
But before you take to the skies, you must be aware of state park drone rules.
Each state park in Utah has its own unique drone laws. At Dead Horse Point State Park, for instance, drone flight is only allowed during a limited span of time. Comparatively, Quail Creek State Park welcomes UAV pilots year-round as long as they obtain a permit.
Meanwhile, Utah Lake State Park strictly prohibits any drone usage because of its close proximity to an airport.
Continue reading to learn more about the specific drone rules and regulations in Utah State Parks.
Federal drone laws in Utah State Parks
No matter if you plan on flying in Antelope Island State Park or Goblin Valley State Park, you will need to heed federal drone laws.
Mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), these regulations apply to every corner of the United States—not just Utah State Parks.
But what, exactly, are these rules?
- Pass the exam: All recreational drone pilots are required by the FAA to take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). Be sure to carry proof of passing the exam when you fly.
- Register your drones: If your drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds, it must be registered with the FAA. You must also carry proof of registration when flying.
Other safety regulations include:
- Keep your drone within your visual line of sight
- Do not interfere with other aircraft
- Fly at or below 400 feet
- Avoid flying at night or during bad weather
- Avoid flying over crowds
State drone laws in Utah State Parks
If you want to soar above the moonscapes and mountains of Utah, you must first learn the state’s specific drone laws.
» MORE: Drone Laws in Utah
We offer a detailed look at these rules and regulations in our overview of Utah state drone regulations. But if you’re pressed for time, we have culled a list of key points below.
- Avoid private property – Flying above another person’s private property with a drone could result in a Class B misdemeanor.
- Avoid wildfire areas – Flying in an area that is under a temporary flight restriction because of a wildfire could result in a Class B misdemeanor.
- Avoid livestock – In Utah, intentionally distressing or harming livestock with a drone is against the law.
- Do not fly with malicious intent – Flying a drone that is carrying a weapon could result in a Class B misdemeanor.
Utah’s SB 111 also offers some common sense drone safety guidelines, including:
- Maintain a visual line of sight
- Avoid airport no-fly zones
- Avoid public transit rail platforms and stations
- Fly below 400 feet
Utah State Park drone rules
Perhaps you want to photograph a stunning sunset at the Great Salt Lake. Or, maybe you want to capture footage of your friends off-roading in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.
Either way, you will need to be aware of the unique regulations in Utah’s State Parks. While many of these areas have no rules whatsoever, others require recreational permits or restrict when and where UAV pilots can fly.
Below, we have rounded up more than a dozen Utah State Parks with known drone restrictions.
Antelope Island State Park
From November to March, drones are prohibited at Antelope Island State Park.
In December, January, and February, UAV pilots must obtain a recreational permit to fly in select areas of the park.
Recreational permits cost $15 for a single day and $30 for multiple days. No-fly areas should be avoided.
If you have any questions about where you can and cannot fly in Antelope Island State Park, contact email@example.com.
Bear Lake State Park
There are no known drone restrictions at Bear Lake State Park in Utah.
But if you cross over the Idaho border, be mindful that Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a conservation area established to protect waterfowl and other migratory birds.
Because of this, drone flight is strictly prohibited.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
There are no known drone restrictions at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. However, UAV pilots should avoid flying over the nearby Ponderosa Grove Campground.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Drones are prohibited at Dead Horse Point State Park from March through October.
Between November 1 and the last day of February, UAV pilots may fly with a $10 recreational permit. However, you must still avoid flying near the main viewpoint of Dead Horse Point.
Fred Hayes State Park at Starvation
Drones are allowed at Fred Hayes State Park at Starvation. However, you must obtain a permit beforehand.
Recreational permits are free with payment of a day-use pass or camping fee. To secure your permit, contact park management at least two weeks before your trip.
Park management can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 435-738-2326.
Goblin Valley State Park
Drone flight is allowable at Goblin Valley State Park with a recreational permit and a $10 fee.
Nevertheless, park management has the authority to ban drones during special events, emergencies, or periods of high visitation.
Great Salt Lake State Park
Drone use is by permit only in Great Salt Lake State Park. Recreational permits are $1 per day and can be obtained at the Visitor Center or Entrance Station.
Gunlock State Park
You can fly your drone in Gunlock State Park. However, you must first obtain a $15, five-day recreational permit.
Jordanelle State Park
Jordanelle State Park welcomes UAV pilots. But before taking flight, you must first complete a drone permission form and pay a $10 fee at the park office.
Kodachrome Basin State Park
There are no known drone restrictions in Kodachrome Basin State Park.
However, UAV pilots must be mindful of Bryce Canyon Airport and Bryce Canyon National Park. Flying in these prohibited areas could result in hefty fines.
Quail Creek State Park
Though you may fly your drone at Quail Creek State Park, you must first purchase a $5, five-day permit at the main gate.
Sand Hollow State Park
To fly a drone in Sand Hollow State Park, you must secure a recreational permit. These permits cost $15 and are valid for five days.
Snow Canyon State Park
Recreational drone usage is permitted at the Snow Canyon Scenic Overlook in Snow Canyon State Park.
However, you must email a completed recreational permit (link) to email@example.com at least five days before your preferred flight date.
Utah Lake State Park
Because of its proximity to Provo Airport, Utah Lake State Park is considered a no-fly zone.
Wasatch Mountain State Park
You may fly a drone at Wasatch Mountain State Park with a recreational permit.
Once you have completed the permit, it must be approved by park management. You must also pay a $10 registration fee at the park office.
With thousands of acres of state parks, Utah is a mecca for drone enthusiasts. However, in addition to federal and state regulations, UAV pilots must be aware of rules specific to each state park.
While many state parks have no drone restrictions whatsoever, others require that UAV pilots obtain permits, avoid no-fly zones, or only fly during specific timeframes.
As of this writing, the only Utah State Park that bans all drone flight – regardless of permitting – is Utah Lake State Park.
If you aren’t sure if a state park in Utah allows drones, talk to park rangers. Being proactive can mean the difference between a stress-free vacation or one ruined by costly citations.
1. The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) (link)
2. Register with the FAA (link)