While COVID-19 has people across the country staying home under self-quarantine, escaping into the wilderness seems like the perfect way to get some fresh airand stay away from other people. But with bars, movie theaters, and restaurants shutting down in many cities, the wilderness has become an even more popular escape than usual. The National Parks Service has been taking steps to keep staff and visitors safe from the virus, but some parks are going even further by restricting access or shutting down altogether.
Itching to get outside and visit your nearest park? You’ll definitely want to do your research before you head out. To help guide your decision-making, we’ve compiled a state-by-state list of all the major closures and restrictions across the NPS system. Even if a park isn’t listed, make sure you check for the latest updates, as the situation is changing rapidly. Also keep in mind that visitor centers at almost every park are closed, so if you’re looking for in-person help from a ranger, you’ll be out of luck.
If you do decide to make the trip, make sure you keep your distance from others and follow the official guidance from the NPS. Here’s the latest news, as of Monday, March 23:
- Grand Canyon National Park has suspended all river trips and shuttle buses, and all lodges and visitor centers are closed. Even so, the park is still open and some limited RV camping and other services are available; check the NPS site for more details.
- Petrified Forest National Park is open, but the visitor center and Rainbow Forest Museum are closed, with the exception of restrooms.
- The visitor centers at Saguaro National Park are closed and all public programming is canceled, but the park is still open.
- Channel Islands National Park (CA) has shut down its visitor center, and ferries to the park are no longer running. The park is open to visitors on private vessels, however.
- Joshua Tree National Park is closed to cars and campgrounds are closed, but the park is still open to hikers and cyclists. Some wilderness access roads are open, too.
- Death Valley National Park has closed down most of its visitor services, including all campgrounds and visitor centers, although some restrooms will remain open.
- Some trails at Pinnacles National Park have been closed off, and park officials have closed down all visitor and nature centers. In addition, shuttle service in the park has been suspended and the western entryway is closed (you can still enter the park through the East Gate, though).
- Redwood National and State Parks are open, but all visitor centers and campgrounds, as well as some restrooms, are closed. The park is not issuing backcountry or Tall Trees Trail permits.
- At Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, all public facilities and most park roads are closed, although limited areas of the park remain open.
- Yosemite National Park is completely closed to all visitors.
- The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has closed down the South Rim Campground and its visitor center.
- Mesa Verde National Park is open, but all public facilities, including the Morefield Campground and the visitor center, are closed. The Cliff Palace is also closed to visitors and all tours are canceled.
- Rocky Mountain National Park is completely closed to all visitors.
- All land-based public facilities at Convoy Point, Boca Chita, and Elliott and Adams Keys in Biscayne National Park are closed to the public. All tours have been suspended.
- All access roads into Everglades National Park from Miami-Dade County have been closed, but the park is open to boats.
- Haleakalā National Park is completely closed to visitors.
- Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is completely closed to visitors.
- All buildings and restrooms are closed at Indiana Dunes National Park, and some areas of the park are off-limits due to erosion issues.
- At Mammoth Cave National Park, all guided cave tours are canceled and the visitor center is shuttered, but the park is open for other activities like camping and biking.
- The Arch at Gateway Arch National Park is closed.
- Great Basin National Park has closed down Lehman Caves and the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, but the park is open for hiking and snowshoeing.
- The cavern and visitor center at Carlsbad Caverns National Park are closed, but the rest of the park is open.
- White Sands National Park is completely closed.
- Crater Lake National Park has closed down its visitor center, and all guided snowshoe walks are cancelled.
- All campgrounds and restrooms, as well as the visitor center, are closed at Congaree National Park.
- All campgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms, and visitor centers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are closed.
- Big Bend National Park is open for day use only—all camping is prohibited.
- The visitor center and all contact stations at Guadalupe Mountains National Park are closed, and the park is open for day use only.
- The access roads to Old Rag and Whiteoak Canyon, boundary access roads, Nethers Road, and Weakley Hollow Road (popular hiking areas) in Shenandoah National Park have been closed off indefinitely, but Skyline Drive is open.
- Olympic National Park has closed all campgrounds and visitor centers, and some trails are closed as well.
- Yellowstone National Park is mostly shut down for the winter, but due to COVID-19, park officials are also closing the Albright Visitor Center and the Boiling River soaking/swimming area.
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