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Top 5 Most Visited National Parks Are Reopening - Here’s What You Need To Know
The country is starting to reopen after months of closures and social distancing restrictions. If you’ve been itching to get outside and explore some of the most beautiful wilderness landscapes in the world, you’ll be happy to hear the top five most visited parks in the country are starting to reopen. Each one has its own list of restrictions and guidelines, so be sure to check the park website for the most current status.
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
This park sees nearly 12.5 million visitors annually, making it the nation’s most visited. Currently, all trails are open, however, Trillium Gap Trail will be closed from Grotto Falls to the summit of Mt. Le Conte on Mondays through Thursdays until November 12, 2020. All trails and backcountry campsites and shelters will open with reduced capacity limits. Visitors centers, campgrounds, and concessions remain closed.
2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Located in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park encompasses 277 miles (446 km) of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands and is the second most visited park in the country. The South Rim opened to limited access on May 15. On June 5, the South Rim will be open 24 hours, and the Mather Campground will be open for existing reservations.
3. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles encompass and protect spectacular mountain environments. If you are planning a visit, a timed entry permit or camping reservation is required to enter all areas of Rocky Mountain National Park—including Trail Ridge Road (US Hwy 34)—in a private vehicle between the hours of 6 am and 5 pm. This current system allows for 60% of the park’s capacity, or 4,800 vehicles and 13,500 visitors a day.
4. Zion National Park, Utah
Zion is Utah’s first national park and home to paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked, massive sandstone cliffs, and spectacular wilderness. Currently, shuttles are not operating but trails are open to day hiking. Since parking is extremely limited and Scenic Drive will be closed when all parking is full, be sure to plan ahead and get there early. Having a plan B is always a good option.
5. Yosemite National Park, California
First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more, according to the website. The park is open with limited services and facilities to those with day-use reservations, reservations for in-park lodging or camping, and wilderness or Half Dome permits. You can book your reservations at recreation.gov.