Planning a summer or fall trip to a national park? Make sure it’s open.
Our national parks have been closed for more than 3 months, with few details as to when they’d again open for summer vacations, rest, and relaxation.
But as social distancing measures and travel restrictions measures lift, so do restrictions on parks. This month, some of the first national parks reopened for daily use.
Each specific NPS park page lists what is open, what is closed, and the status of nearby state parks to provide visitors/travelers with alternative options.
Can I Travel to a National Park?
There is no easy yes or no answer. National parks are opening on a case-by-case, state-by-state basis to comply with local health regulations. If you live in a state that’s still under a stay-at-home order, you’ll need to wait to visit a national park until after the order lifts.
“We ask the public to please recreate safely and responsibly,” wrote the NPS in its response to COVID-19. “Avoid high-risk outdoor activities, stay in your local area and follow Leave No Trace principles.”
If you live in a state where nonessential travel is allowed, consider visiting parks closest to home first (like state parks). And if you happen to be one of the lucky few to live nearby a national park that has reopened, make sure to follow the CDC and NPS guidelines to stay safe.
Between May 9 and 17, the NPS issued a statement with phased reopening guidelines for a dozen or so national parks. “We are working to increase access to the park in a phased approach,” reads the NPS site update page. “Currently there are closed facilities, limited services, and closures of some areas and roads to vehicles.”
Dos and Don’ts: Visiting a National Park in 2020
We’ve rounded up a list of the most common new safety guidelines across U.S. national parks. But be sure to visit each park’s page on NPS.gov to learn more details on what is accessible and when.
- Do comply with state and local guidance. As tempting as it is, just because a park is open doesn’t mean you should go.
- Do follow the 6-foot distancing rule.
- Do pack everything in and out. This LNT rule is one we’re already used to, but during COVID-19, we recommend extra caution. Facilities and resources you usually take for granted may not be available. This includes packing in items like all drinking water, food, and a park map.
- Do avoid crowded areas. Limitations on trails might mean that once open, a park is more crowded than usual. Avoid peak times and popular areas.
- Don’t enter closed areas or hike on closed trails. It’s not just campgrounds and playgrounds that are closed for safety, some trails are too. National park staff members are working hard to get all trail maintenance up to date in preparation for reopening.
- Don’t approach wildlife. With large percentages of city populations at home, both city and wilderness areas have seen an increase in wildlife activity. It puts both you and others in danger. As always, do not approach.
- Do stay home if you’re sick or caring for someone who is. You can always visit national parks virtually in the meantime.
US National Parks Open Now
- Denali National Park, Alaska (backpacking areas open, but climbing season suspended)
- Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska (entrance/trail use by permit only)
- Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska (some areas open)
- Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas (limited visitor services and restrooms open)
- Saguaro National Park, Arizona (day use only)
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (south entrance open, day use only)
- Joshua Tree National Park, California (roads and limited trails open)
- Redwood National Park, California (day use only)
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado (day use only)
- Biscayne National Park, Florida (trails, boat launches, and restrooms open)
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida (several keys reopening)
- Everglades National Park, Florida (day-use area and some beach campsites)
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii (some areas open)
- Indiana Dunes National Park (some beaches open)
- Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky (trail use only)
- Great Basin National Park, Nevada (trails and visitor centers open)
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico (park roads and trails open)
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota (day use only)
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio (trails open, clockwise travel only)
- Badlands National Park, South Dakota (some roads and trails open)
- Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota (limited trail open)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina (day use only)
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (limited trails open, day use only)
- Zion National Park, Utah (day use only)
- Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands (trails and beaches open)
- Mount Rainier National Park, Washington (backcountry areas open)
- Olympic National Park, Washington (day use only)
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (roads, hiking trails, and fishing areas)
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (south entrance, some roads, trails, and restrooms open)
National Parks Scheduled to Open*
- Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (plans for reopening scheduled for May 27)
- Rocky Mountain National Park campgrounds, Colorado (opening June 4)
- Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (Scenic Drive, trails and backcountry camping opening May 19)
- Arches National Park, Utah (opening May 29, backcountry access opening May 30)
- Canyonlands National Park, Utah (opening May 29)
- Lassen Volcanic National Park, California (scheduled to open sections on May 29)
- Big Bend National Park, Texas (opening June 1)
- Parks Canada National Parks (multiple parks opening June 1)
- Canada National Parks Campgrounds (scheduled to open after June 21)
- Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado (opening June 3)
- Isle Royale National Park, Michigan (opening after June 14)
- Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona (mid-June)
- Katmai National Park, Alaska (camping suspended until July 1)
*Per NPS, all scheduled opening dates listed are subject to change. Check park updates before you go.
National Parks Closed Until Further Notice**
- Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska
- Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska
- Lake Clark National Park, Alaska
- Wrangell – St Elias National Park, Alaska
- American Samoa National Park, American Samoa (quarantining period before entry required)
- Channel Islands National Park, California
- Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada
- Pinnacles National Park, California (campground open only for existing reservations)
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
- Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
- Yellowstone National Park, Idaho and Montana (Idaho and Montana entrances still closed)
- Acadia National Park, Maine (quarantining period before entry required)
- Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
- Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
- Congaree National Park, South Carolina
- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (completely closed)
- North Cascades National Park, Washington
**We will continue to update this list as more information from NPS becomes available.