Facebook Twitter

Planning a trip? Here’s what might look different this summer at Utah’s national parks

Here’s what to know before traveling to a national park this summer

SHARE Planning a trip? Here’s what might look different this summer at Utah’s national parks
Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Matt Gade, Deseret News

Many people are looking to get outside this summer, but making plans is trickier than usual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you’d like to get out of town to one of Utah’s national parks, here’s what you need to know.

National park travel tips

Utah’s five national parks — as well as allstate parks — are reopened to the public. However, some individual parks continue to have restrictions in place.

Here are some tips for preparing your trip:

  • Plan ahead. Search for the park you will be visiting at the official National Park Service website to find what (if any) restrictions the park still has in place. In some parks, visitor’s centers may be closed, and other services like trash pickup and restrooms may be limited. Make sure to know what to expect before you arrive.
  • Be early. With some services limited and many people trying to get outside, parks may be crowded. Getting an early start is a way to avoid crowds. For example, parking for the Scenic Drive at Zion National Park is full on most days before 7 a.m, and Bryce Canyon National Park suggests visiting before 10 a.m. when there are less visitors on the trails.
  • “Recreate responsibly.” The National Park Service is encouraging all visitors to “recreate responsibly.” This means staying at least 6 feet away from others, being prepared to cover your nose and mouth if you are close to others, and choosing to stay home if you are sick. NPS also suggests postponing challenging hikes or trying new activities so that first responders and local communities can continue to focus on responding to the pandemic.

What’s open and what’s closed at Utah’s national parks

Many national parks are reopening in phases after some were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s what services are currently available — and what still remains closed — at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion National Parks.

Arches National Park

merlin_684994.jpg

After climbing through the bottom arch, the view from the backside of Double O Arch offers magnificent views of the Utah landscape.

Jason Carlton

Currently open:

  • All roads, trails and restrooms.
  • Park store and other commercial services.

Closed until further notice:

  • Arches Visitor Center.
  • Fiery Furnace (no ranger-led hikes or permits available).
  • Devils Garden Campground (will reopen July 19).

Digital pass to enter park is available to purchase at recreation.gov.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Deseret News archives

Currently open:

  • All areas and services have been reopened.

Digital pass to enter park is available to purchase at recreation.gov.

Canyonlands National Park

This year marks Canyonlands National Park’s 50th anniversary as a national park.

Canyonlands National Park

Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News

Currently open:

  • All roads, trails and restrooms.
  • Park stores at Island in the Sky and The Needles.
  • Campgrounds at Island in the Sky and The Needles.

Closed until further notice:

  • Island in the Sky Visitor Center.
  • The Needles Visitor Center.
  • Hans Flat Ranger Station.

Digital pass to enter park is available to purchase at recreation.gov.

Capitol Reef National Park

“The Chimney” of Capitol Reef National Park

“The Chimney” of Capitol Reef National Park

Nick Vincent

Currently open:

  • All areas and services have been reopened.

Digital pass to enter park is not available to purchase online. Passes are available at park entrance or visitor’s center.

Zion National Park

merlin_21247.jpg

Zion National Park on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Currently open:

  • Zion Canyon
  • Kolob Terrace Road and Lava Point
  • Zion Lodge (limited services)
  • Watchman Ground (reservation only at recreation.gov)
  • Zion Forever Park Store
  • Canyon Trail Rides

Closed until further notice:

  • Kolob Canyons
  • Museum and theater
  • Angels Landing Chain Section
  • Wilderness and recreation permits
  • Climbing and canyoneering
  • Overnight backpacking
  • South and Lava Point Campgrounds

Digital pass to enter the park is not currently available to purchase at recreation.gov due to COVID-19. Passes are available at park entrance.