LAST UPDATED MAY 28, 2020
Before going to any remote national park, pack food, water, toilet paper, hand sanitizer (washrooms may not be stocked with soap or paper towels), and perhaps even a tent. Available facilities could change without notice, so you'll want to be prepared for anything.
Remember that it may not be safe for you to sleep in your car if there's food with you, so observe local advice about bear-proofing your supplies overnight. Here is the official advice about bear safety from the National Park Service.
Social distancing recommendations remain in effect—and not just for bears.
Many historic and commemorative national park units that do not offer overnight accommodation have reopened with limited group services—for example, at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, you can roam the grounds but the visitor center and ranger tours have suspended operations—so check directly with each unit.
Of the larger national parks that include large nature reserves:
Hours: fully closed: "By state order, all people entering Maine must quarantine for 14 days, and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited."
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/acad.
Hours: Reopening scheduled for May 29.
Open May 30: climbing/canyoneering permits
Closed: Devils Garden Campground, Fiery Furnace and backcountry camping
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/arch.
Badlands, South Dakota
Hours: open 24 hrs.
Open: park roads, overlooks, trails
Closed: visitor centers, South Unit (located on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation)
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/badl.
Big Bend, Texas
Hours: Reopening for day use only scheduled for June 1
Open June 1: All paved roads, some trails, Panther Junction gas station and camp store; Rio Grande day float trips from paved road access points; Fossil Discovery Exhibit; Chisos Mountains Lodge restaurant (for take-out only), restrooms
Closed June 1: Campgrounds, visitor centers
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/bibe.
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Hours: open 24 hrs.
Open: main road and all viewpoints to Rainbow Point, visitor information and bookstore, Bryce Amphitheater trails, guided horseback rides; General Store (not laundry or showers); effective June 7, Sunset Campground reopens for camping by reservation only; June 15, reservations for private horse use resume; by July 1, hiking of backcountry trails and permits for backcountry camping reopen
Closed: overnight accommodation including campgrounds, all food service, shuttle service, Navajo Loop
Available restrooms: Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, Farview, Rainbow Point
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/brca.
Hours: Reopening scheduled for May 29.
Open May 29: All park roads, trails, restrooms; climbing/canyoneering permits
Closed: visitor centers, park stores, Willow Flat Campground at Island in the Sky district and Needles Campground in The Needles district
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/cany.
Death Valley, California
Hours: No reopening date has been announced; operations will begin phased reopening with California Stage 3 plan
Open: Through-traffic is allowed on CA-190 and Daylight Pass Road
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/deva.
Hours: Re-affirmed park closing on May 27; anticipates a reopening in "early June" but with limited visitor services
Open: U.S. Highway 2 inside the park boundary will remain open.
Closed: Glacier National Park Lodges remain closed until at least June 15, awaiting overall park reopening guidance; Glacier Park Boat Company suspended all boat tour and small boat rental operations for the 2020 season.
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/glac.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Hours: Reopened on May 15, the park subsequently re-closed to all visitors. Beginning Friday, May 29, the South Rim’s south entrance is open daily from 4am–2 pm for day use. If you're in the park by 2pm, you can stay until sunset, but rangers recommend arriving early.
Open: Tuweep is open for day use. Day hiking on inner canyon trails and existing backcountry permits for hikers camping overnight will be honored, but no new overnight camping permits for the inner canyon will be issued. Starting June 5, the South Rim’s south entrance will be open 24 hrs. a day and the North Rim will be open for day use. Starting June 14, commercial boat tours may resume on the Colorado River with social distancing measures in place. Lodging accommodations begin a phased reopening; check ahead.
Closed: All visitor facilities, trails, and roads including Highway 64; Colorado River rafting trips (until June 13); east entrance on the South Rim; Desert View Watchtower area; Desert View campground; North Rim campground closed until July 1.
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/grca.
Grand Teton, Wyoming
Hours: Reopened as of May 18 for daytime use.
Open: public restrooms "in some areas," Teton Park Road, Moose-Wilson Road, North Park Road, trails, fishing, several viewpoints along US Highway 89/26/191
Closed: overnight accommodation, campgrounds, visitor centers, food service, boating/floating on rivers and lakes, backcountry permits
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/grte.
Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee/North Carolina
Hours: Phased reopening began May 9 for daytime visitors.
Open: major roadways, some restrooms and picnic areas, more than 50 hiking trails, and areas such as Cades Cove and Newfound Gap
Closed: all visitor centers and campgrounds; all concessions except Smoky Mountain Riding Stables; Appalachian Trail through-passes; the following roads are closed to vehicles but open to pedestrians and bicycles: Abrams Creek Road, Balsam Mountain Road, Cataloochee Road, Elkmont Road, Forge Creek Road, Heintooga Round Bottom Road, Highway 284, Little Greenbrier Road, Rich Mountain Road, Straight Fork Road, Twentymile Road
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/grsm.
Open: all trails and most beaches (see below)
Closed: Porter Beach on Lake Michigan, due to "unsafe" overcrowding, until Saturday, May 23; park officials have warned that the beach may be closed again if visitors don't follow social distancing precautions
For the most current information, visit nps.gov/indu.
Joshua Tree, California
Open: parking lots, trails, campsites for up to six people (first come, first served), and most restrooms (note: no running water)
Closed: visitor centers, group campsites, Black Eagle Mine Road
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/jotr.
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Hours: day use only
Open: surface trails only
Closed: cave tours, visitor centers, campgrounds
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/maca.
Mount Rainier, Washington
Hours: Normal hours (when open)
Open: State Routes 410 and 123 between Enumclaw and Packwood, including Cayuse Pass, and the trailheads that stem from those roads; backcountry recreation; Carbon River (with permits)
Closed: Visitor centers; National Park Inn and gift shop; some restrooms; Nisqually Entrance; all activities above 10,500 feet of elevation; SR410 East over Chinook Pass (to Yakima)
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/mora.
Hours: day use only
Open: Lake Crescent area, Barnes Point area with access to the Marymere Falls, Moments in Time trailheads, Storm King boat launch; Bovee’s Meadow, La Poel, and East Beach picnic areas; Sol Duc Road; Heart O’ the Forest trail
Closed: coastal areas, visitor centers, all park concessions (target opening date: May 29), campgrounds, Shi Shi Trailhead, Second Beach Trailhead, Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent, recreational fishing, Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, RV & Campground
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/olym.
Rocky Mountain, Colorado
Hours: Phased reopening as of May 27. Between June 4 and July 31, visitors must book a timed reservation to enter through Recreation.gov. Slots open on the first of the month for reservation for the following month (a month ahead). Entry slots available 6am–5pm.
Open: Main park roads and trails, portions of Moraine Park and Glacier Basin Campgrounds (limited capacity starting June 4), wilderness backcountry permits, shuttle service within the Bear Lake Road corridor (max. 15 passengers who must wear face coverings); Trail Ridge Road to Rainbow Curve on the east side and Colorado River Trailhead on the west side (the rest opens as weather warms); Fall River Road open to bicyclists and pedestrians but not to cars
Closed: Visitor centers; Aspenglen, Timber Creek, Longs Peak campgrounds; Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center; Wild Basin area
For pass purchases, cash will not be accepted.
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/romo.
Hours: Reopened as of May 18.
Open: south and east entrances in Wyoming, the lower loop of the Grand Loop Road, restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails, and boardwalks in open areas
Closed: Montana entrances, overnight accommodation, full-service dining, commercial tour buses, and ranger programs
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/yell.
Hours: No reopening date has been announced, although a draft plan targets a June reopening that would require reservations for all visitors and one-way trail access.
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/yose.
Hours: daylight hours only
Open: Zion Canyon (the only parking available). Visitors should expect intermittent closures of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (roughly 400 parking spots; no vehicle longer than 23 feet). Zion-Mount Carmel Highway (State Route 9) and Mount Carmel Tunnel are open. Zion Bookstore is open, as are these trails: Pa'rus, Archeology, Grotto, Riverside, Watchman, Sand Bench.
Closed: all park shuttles, Zion Lodge, campgrounds, museum, theater, Canyon Overlook Trail, Kolob Canyons, all climbing and canyoneering, wilderness and recreation permits, Lower Emerald Pools Trail, Weeping Rock area, the West Rim Trail to Scout Lookout
For the most current information, visit www.nps.gov/zion.