Social Distancing #EverydayExploring
As coronavirus regulations continue to constrict our travel plans, National Parks are the perfect place to escape and go exploring! The National Parks Service has been closely monitoring the changing public health status and following the CDC guidelines for disease prevention in public spaces. This includes following “a phased approach to reopen park areas." Currently about two thirds of the 419 units that make up the National Parks Service are open to the public although, some activities and services may be limited.
The National Parks Service is asking people to “Recreate Responsibly" by following social distancing guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Individual parks may have varying operation changes and other COVID related policies in effect based on local government regulations.
Here are a few National Parks you can explore before Summer ends.
Redwood National Park
This majestic forest located in Northern California it is now open to the public with a few restrictions in play. Group campgrounds, high public-use indoor facilities, and any special events/tours are still currently closed or cancelled. All trails are open and campground reservations must be made online. In California, face coverings are required in all indoor spaces and outdoor spaces when social distancing is not enforceable, so visitors might be required to wear a mask in the visitor’s center or when interacting with others. Right now, travel is still permitted to California without any further restrictions.
Grand Canyon National Park
The state even nicknamed itself after this canyon. The Grand Canyon spans over one million acres and on average is one mile deep. This park is currently experiencing changes due to COVID-19. Desert View and the East Entrance is closed. You must enter and exit the park through the South Rim entrance which is open to visitors. North Rim campground still currently closed although the North Rim Lodge is open to overnight guests. The free shuttle service is currently not operating. The park ranger interpretive programs and south rim shuttles are also suspended until further notice. Currently, there are no other travel restrictions for anyone visiting Arizona that would interfere with park visitation. Plan your visit to the Grand Canyon and check on lodging and campground closures before packing your bags.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to the highest peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, and a massive limestone formation known as El Capitan. This park also features over 50 miles of trails for hiking in rough and rocky terrain. Unfortunately, not all of those trails are open to the public right now. As of late June, the trails that are open include Devil’s Hall Trail, Guadalupe Trail, Smith Springs Trail, and Frijnole Ranch Area. Along with all other national parks, the Parks staff continues to monitor and adapt to changing health conditions. Park staff at Guadalupe Mountains National Park enforce guidelines set by the CDC in regard to social distancing and mask requirements. There are currently no other travel restrictions on the state of Texas.
Everglades National Park
The Everglades National Park is the “largest subtropical wilderness in the United States” and is located in Florida. There is never a dull moment in this park with fishing, boating, hiking, and the many different tours offered at this park. The Everglades entered its phased reopening strategy in early June. This phase allowed for commercial operations to reopen in the parks. Guided tours were allowed to resume with reduced capacities adhering to CDC guidelines. The park also reopened Shark Valley and Gulf Coast visitor centers although the buildings remained closed. The park recommends and enforces the same guidelines and rules set by the CDC in every National Park. There are no current travel bans or quarantines to Florida.
All information is directly from the National Park Service and is subject to change. Please check with the National Park Service