Soon you'll be able to get some fresh air in the great outdoors because many national parks are reopening on a limited basis. Following guidance from the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state health authorities, the National Parks Service (NPS) is gradually reopening parks using a phased approach. So not all facilities and trails will be accessible. If you visit, you'll need to adhere to new CDC guidance on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Planning on going to a national park? Here's what you need to know about the parks that are reopening.
Grand Canyon National Park
The South Rim Entrance at Grand Canyon will reopen May 15 through 18 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m, and park entrance fees are currently waived. In case there's traffic, the park recommends arriving by 9:30 a.m. Visitors will have access to the viewpoints at Pipe Creek Vista, Twin Overlooks, Duck on a Rock, Thor's Hammer, No Name Point and Navajo Point along East Desert View Drive. Select picnic areas and restrooms will be open. Visitors can find a detailed map and list of what's open and what will remain closed here.
Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains reopened lots of roads and trails on May 9. Visitors can find out which and roads and trails open here. During the first phase, which is expected to last at least two weeks, campgrounds, picnic pavilions, visitor centers, and many secondary roads will remain closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree began a phased reopening on May 17, and the national park began collecting fees at entrance booths again on May 22. Family campsites, park entrances, roads and parking lots, trails, and most bathroom facilities are now open. Visitor centers and campsites remain temporarily closed, and all permits for special use activities through the end of the month are canceled. You can find out more details here.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone has a three-phased plan for reopening that began on May 18. As part of the first phase, the South and East entrances in Wyoming will be open so visitors can access the lower loop of the Grand Loop Road. Visitors can access a detailed map of the reopening here. The public will also have access to restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails, and boardwalks. But the Montana entrances and overnight accommodations will remain closed, and larger commercial tour buses, boating, fishing, and more will not be permitted during the first phase.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite will begin to open all of its primary attractions starting June 11. Visitors will have access to 800 miles of park trails and popular destinations, including Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, Tuolumne Meadows, and Hetch Hetchy. During the initial reopening phase, Yosemite will be implementing a temporary day-use reservation system, which will offer 1,700 vehicle passes each day. The passes can be used for seven days of entry. Plan on visiting? Purchase a vehicle pass here.
Find out if a national park near you is reopening here.
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