When Will National Parks Reopen?

The U.S. National Parks have begun a phased approach to reopening, following the extended closure of Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Great Smoky Mountains NP. This means some locations and areas will open sooner than others, and with modifications to park hours and operations.

In this post, we’ll list which of the 62 U.S. National Parks are closed and what’s open, and what’s been announced in advance of the popular summer tourist season. This follows our recent post, Why This Year is the Perfect Time to Visit National Parks, which made the case for opting outside, and including some state or National Parks in your vacation plans (while avoiding others).

It’s worth noting that some of the 62 U.S. National Parks never closed at all, some only closed partially due to their unique layout (like Acadia National Park), and many have already mostly or fully reopened. However, the majority are still in the process of reopening–a slow rollout that could take months…

Recently, the National Park Service announced that the plan for the resumption of operations follows current CDC guidance for disease prevention in public places and workspaces. It follows a phased approach to reopen park areas, beginning with outdoor spaces such as trails, boardwalks, observation decks, boat ramps, picnic areas, and other open landscapes.

However, this is not a uniform approach. Reopening each of the 62 U.S. National Parks will be done on a park-by-park basis, with modifications to park operations that will be flexible, continually evaluated, and adjusted based upon the unique circumstances of each location.

In other words, there’s not simply some one size fits all plan with everything having a grand reopening bash on the same day. It’s more nuanced and gradual than that. This will occur based upon decisions by each park, guided by NPS and Department of the Interior (DOI) leadership.

Here’s the current status of each of the 62 U.S. National Parks. If you’re planning a visit, we recommend clicking each link for the park’s official site prior to and during your trip, as this information will continue to evolve:

Acadia National Park -Park Loop Road and most hiking trails are open. Information stations are staffed outside main visitor center. Campgrounds open no sooner than July 1, 2020. All persons entering Maine must quarantine for 14 days. Carriage roads will reopen June 5 for pedestrian use only. The Precipice Trail, Jordan Cliffs Trail, Valley Cove Trail, and a portion of the Orange & Black Path are closed to public entry until further notice.

National Park of American Samoa – Visitor Center in Pago Pago is temporarily closed. Significant travel restrictions are in effect.

Arches National Park – All roads, trails, and restrooms are now open. The visitor center and campground remain closed.

Badlands National Park – Trails, campgrounds, and roads in the north unit are open. Ben Reifel Visitor Center remains closed.  The south unit of the park is closed in accordance with Oglala Sioux Tribe ordinances.

Big Bend National Park – Now open for day-use. All paved roads and select front-country hiking trails will be open for desert exploration. No camping or overnight accommodations. Chisos Restaurant open for take out meals 11:00a-5:00p.

Biscayne National Park – The kayak launch and restrooms at Convoy Point are open on a limited basis. The visitor center, and Boca Chita, Elliott and Adams Keys remain closed. Park waters remain open.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park – South Rim Visitor Center is closed, but rangers are staffing a desk outside to issue permits, answer questions, and assist your visit. South Rim Drive, North Rim Drive and all viewpoints are open. The South Rim Campground A and B Loops have reopened (reservations recommended), as well as the North Rim Campground, East Portal Road and Campground, and overnight use in the Inner Canyon (permit required).

Bryce Canyon National Park – Presently increasing recreational access and services. The park is open, but some services and activities are limited. The main park road and all viewpoints to Rainbow Point, restrooms at Sunset Point, Farview and Rainbow Points are open, and trails within the Bryce Amphitheater area. The park visitor center is open, but the museum is closed. Mossy Cave area is open and entrance fees are being charged. On June 7 the Sunset Campground will reopen to the public for camping by reservation only. All lodging and food services also are closed. Effective no later than July 1, hiking of backcountry trails and permits for backcountry camping at sites along these trails will again be permitted.

Canyonlands National Park – All roads, trails, and restrooms are open. Visitor centers and campgrounds remain closed.

Capitol Reef National Park – Fully open with implementation of final phased resumption in operations. The visitor center and Gifford House are open as of June 1 and Fruita Campground is open as of June 2, 2020.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park – The cavern and visitor center are temporarily closed. Park roads, desert trails, and picnic areas remain open.

Channel Islands National Park – The mainland visitor center is closed until further notice due to construction. The park concessioners Island Packers and Santa Barbara Adventure Company have resumed island operations at approximately 40% capacity as of June 2020.

Congaree National Park – Reopened day-use access (sunrise to sunset) to the park’s backcountry, which includes South Cedar Creek Canoe Landing, Bannister Bridge Canoe Landing, the Cedar Creek Canoe Trail, Kingsnake Trail, Bates Ferry Trail, Fork Swamp Trail, Oakridge Trail, and River Trail. Front-country areas & facilities are temporarily closed (Campgrounds, Visitor Center, restrooms & front-country trails (Boardwalk, Bluff, Sims & Weston Lake Loop).

Crater Lake National Park – In accordance with Executive Order 20-12 issued by the governor of the state of Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is temporarily closed to visitors to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Highway 62 through the park remains open for travel.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Boston Mill Visitor Center, some restrooms (portable toilets available), Brandywine Falls boardwalk. There may be other closures, call the closure hotline before visiting 440-546-5960. NO DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE IN THE PARK.

Death Valley National Park – The park will remain closed to all use until after California enters Stage 3. Through-traffic is allowed on CA-190 and Daylight Pass Road. Working with national, state, and local health officials to plan the steps of a phased opening.

Denali National Park & Preserve – “Visiting Denali during a pandemic is going to be a little bit confusing!” (Their words, not mine.) Most park operations (e.g., when visitor centers, campgrounds, and other facilities are open) will be changed from normal years. Certain facilities will be closed to the public, while other facilities will have adjusted hours and seasons.

Dry Tortugas National Park – Campground, visitor center and restrooms are temporarily closed. Garden and Loggerhead Keys are open from sunrise to sunset. Marine waters and harbors remain open. Entrance fees apply.

Everglades National Park – Shark Valley, Gulf Coast, Flamingo campground, wilderness camping, and commercial operations are now open. Visitor centers remain closed.

Gates of the Arctic National Park – Air travel access to the park and contact with information centers may be limited. Travel restrictions may exist as businesses close or greatly reduce operations to non-essential travel. Make contact before making travel plans.

Glacier National Park – Temporarily closed, with reopening dates TBD under phased plan. Phase 1 would allow vehicle access to some of the park roads with no services other than restrooms. In Phase 2, some visitor services and facilities would open if they can be staffed and operated safely. If conditions allow, the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road over Logan Pass would happen during Phase 2. Elements in Phase 3 will not be implemented until the park and its partners have had time to evaluate the impacts from opening operations and facilities outlined in Phases 1 and 2 and it is deemed safe to open additional services and facilities. Phase 3 will require additional staffing for the National Park Service (NPS) and park partners, which means associated risks will need to be assessed.

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve – Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve remain open, but services are very limited. Call the park for more info: 907-697-2230.

Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim is now open for recreational access with some services. You must enter South Entrance between 4 am and 2 pm (through Thursday, June 4, 2020). Day hiking on rim and inner canyon trails is permitted. Some visitor facilities are open. Desert View and North Rim remain closed during this period.

Grand Teton National Park – Grand Teton National Park is increasing recreational access and some limited visitor services. Backcountry camping is not allowed in the park at this time. Permits anticipated to be available on June 15 or when visitor centers open. Day hiking is allowed. All park waters are closed, and open no earlier than June 5, 2020.

Great Basin National Park – All park grounds, one campground, restrooms, trails, cafe, and park roads are open. Visitor centers, and some campgrounds remain closed.

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve – Phased reopening in progress. Beginning June 3, Great Sand Dunes will implement Phase 1 and reopen access to park roads, parking, Medano Pass Primitive Road, including established campsites on a first-come, first-served basin. All trails and picnic areas will reopen. Entrance Station, including the collection of fees if authorized. With public health in mind, the following facilities or areas remain closed until further notice: Visitor Center, South Ramada group picnic site in the Mosca Creek Picnic Area, Pinon Flats Campground, Overnight backcountry access in the National Park, including the dune field and sites along the Sand Ramp Trail.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Increasing recreational access and services through a phased approach that aligns with local, state, and national opening plans. Park managers have implemented an Adaptive Operations Plan with five operational phases. (It’s a lengthy and thorough plan–see NPS website for details.)

Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Guadalupe Mountains National Park is temporarily closed. All trails, camping, and backcountry use are prohibited.

Haleakalā National Park – Limited Areas in the Summit District are open Monday-Friday, 9 am- 5 pm. All visitor centers, the Kīpahulu District, the Crater and all backcountry areas remain closed.  Some restrooms open.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park – Increasing access to the park in a phased approach. The summit areas of Kīlauea, backcountry, all campgrounds and most visitor services and restrooms remain closed.

Hot Springs National Park – All trails and information desk are open. Gulpha Gorge Campground has reopened. The Fordyce Visitor Center and Administration Building remain closed.

Indiana Dunes National Park – Open “for the most part.” Some restrooms remain closed, and areas have been re-closed due to sanitation issues.

Isle Royale National Park – Following guidance from the White House, CDC, and the State of Michigan, Isle Royale National Park is delaying its seasonal opening until further notice.

Katmai National Park & Preserve – Brooks Camp Developed Area is closed until July 1. Return to full operations within the BCDA will be phased, services may be limited. Earliest possible start dates: July 1 day use, July 23 overnight (lodge/campground).

Kenai Fjords National Park – Increasing access to the park in a phased approach. Trails within the Exit Glacier area, including the Harding Icefield Trail are open. The Exit Glacier Campground remains closed.

Joshua Tree National Park – Park entrances, roads, parking lots, trails, family campsites and backcountry camping, and some bathroom facilities have reopened for day guests. Visitor centers and group campsites are temporarily closed.

Lassen Volcanic National Park – Began phased, increased access with the opening of the 30-mile park highway, Butte Lake Area, Warner Valley Area, and all hiking trails (except Bumpass Hell). Backcountry camping and stock use has resumed and requires a free permit. Manzanita Lake and Southwest Walk-in Campgrounds have opened. All other campgrounds will open on their original scheduled dates. Some areas remain closed due to snow.

Mammoth Cave National Park – The visitor center and cave tours have now reopened. Campgrounds are to open June 11, 2020.

Mesa Verde National Park – Access is now available to the Mesa Top Loop Drive, Far View sites, Cliff Palace driving loop, park hiking trails, restrooms and the Chapin picnic area. Park concessions facilities opened, including Morefield Campground, Far View Lodge, Far View Terrace, and Spruce Tree Terrace. Some areas or facilities will remain closed while others are open on a self-guided basis.

Mount Rainier National Park – Phased reopening has begun. Some park roads remain closed to vehicles. Backcountry areas remain open to dispersed recreation. All park visitor centers, lodges, shops are closed.

North Cascades National Park – The Park Complex is open for day use activities. All campgrounds, all backcountry campsites, visitor and wilderness information centers, and Cascade River Road remain closed.

Olympic National Park – Phased reopening underway. All coastal areas, campgrounds, and visitor centers remain closed.

Petrified Forest National Park – Roads and trails now open; facilities will reopen in mid-June 2020.

Pinnacles National Park – The West Entrance has reopened, and operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and outside of these times the gates will remain shut. The east entrance located in Paicines, California, remains accessible via by bicycle or foot traffic with limited hours. The campground (accessible through the east entrance) remains open to campers with existing reservations. Nature and Visitor Centers remain closed. Shuttle services inside the park remain non-operational. There are trail closures, including the cave trails and sections of the High Peaks trail.

Redwood National Park – Trailheads, parking lots, and some restroom facilities are open. Visitor centers, campgrounds, and backcountry camping sites remain closed.

Rocky Mountain National Park – The park has reopened. Services are limited. Some areas and facilities remain closed.  Beginning June 4, a timed entry permit or camping reservation will be required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park in a private vehicle between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Saguaro National Park – All roads and trails are open. Visitor information and restrooms are available on the visitor center patios from 8am to noon daily. Public programs and fee collection are suspended. Groups are limited to 10 or fewer people. No campfires permitted.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks – Temporarily closed to all visitors until Thursday, June 4. Beginning June 4, roads, trails, restrooms, and picnic areas will reopen. Campgrounds and all other services remain closed.

Shenandoah National Park – Phase One of its multi-step reopening plan has started. During this phase Old Rag, Whiteoak and their associated trails, as well as all boundary trailheads and picnic areas remain closed.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Theodore Roosevelt National Park has resumed visitor access for recreational day use of trails, picnic areas, roads and backcountry camping. All visitor centers and campgrounds remain closed.

Virgin Islands National Park – Cruz Bay Visitor Center is closed. Programs are cancelled, restrooms are closed. Food service, water sports rental at Trunk Bay is closed. Only mooring fees are being collected. Trails, beaches, parking areas, and waters are open.

Voyageurs National Park – Day use and water access to Voyageurs National Park remains open to visitors year-round and there is no entrance fee. Overnight tent camping and houseboat mooring sites have resumed. The Rainy Lake Visitor Center, Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center, and Ash River Visitor Center are all currently closed and may be closed through the 2020 season.

White Sands National Park – Temporarily closed.

Wind Cave National Park – The cave, visitor center, and campground are currently closed. Surface roads and hiking trails remain open.

Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve – The following park facilities are closed: Kendesnii Campground and Esker, Caribou, Viking, & Nugget cabins. Building access in the Kennecott Mines NHL are available by guided tour only.

Yellowstone National Park – All entrances have reopened. The entire Grand Loop Road is accessible for day use, excluding the segment between Canyon and Tower, which is closed for road construction. Visitors can access Phase 1 services/facilities (including restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails/boardwalks, limited stores, entrance stations, medical clinics, approved tours) and a few services/facilities as outlined in Phase 2 (including takeout food service, boating, and fishing). Yellowstone National Park will remain day-use only.

Yosemite National Park – Yosemite National Park is closed to all park visitors until further notice, at the request of the local health department.

Zion National Park – Park has reopened on a day-use only basis, but shuttles are not operating. Parking is extremely limited and Scenic Drive will be closed when all parking is full. Have alternate plans in the area if parking is full. Visitor center and campgrounds are closed, climbing, canyoneering, and overnight backpacking are prohibited at this time, and the Angels Landing chain section is closed. The Kolob Canyons area of the park also remains closed.

There are a a total of 419 individual National Park Service units–national monuments, national historic sites, national battlefields, national preserves, and other related sites–so, over 350 that don’t make this list. This list also does not include other federal sites managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish & Wildlife Service. The list also does not include state parks–basically, anything that’s not one of the 62 “flagship” U.S. National Parks. In other words, even if the options here aren’t fully open or operating to your satisfaction, plenty of viable alternatives should exist.

If you’re planning a visit to a National Park, please check out my other posts about U.S. National Parks for ideas of where to go and things to do. For a list of my favorite spots (albeit some that draw big crowds), see My Top 10 U.S. National Parks (So Far).

Your Thoughts

Are you planning a state or National Park summer vacation? Will you visit even if the park facilities and visitor center have not fully reopened? Thoughts on the current reopening/closure status of any of the 62 U.S. National Parks? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

3 replies
  1. Steve
    Steve says:

    Thanks for compiling the list Tom! I’m certainly excited to be able to get back out there and can’t wait to hopefully visit a couple of new parks this fall. I’m sure we’ll see some changes, but it’s a shame a lot of the visitor center’s are closed to start (understandable) as they are almost always a great place to stop and learn a bit about each one. I’m curious to see if Acadia does any sort of restrictions this fall as traffic is typically pretty brutal during the leaf season. Also, not sure if this was an oversight but, you’re missing three parks on the list. Gateway Arch, Kobuk Valley, and Lake Clark..although, two of those are likely visited by more bears than humans!

    Reply
  2. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    Wonderful post! Thank you. I was just looking at places we might visit later this summer if out original vacation plans remain scrapped. I saw some cheap flights to LA, but I guess Yosemite is still off the list for now. Perhaps RMNP instead.

    Reply
  3. wwcpd
    wwcpd says:

    Wow Tom, thanks for compiling all this info! We were already planning some kind of national park trip for this summer, albeit a short one because of my husband’s work. I think we’ve decided on Lassen – excited to visit a park we’ve never been to! (Also excited just to get out of the f***ing house!)

    Hope your summer trip(s) go well!

    Reply

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