Get ready for some exploring, Colorado!
It's safe to say that COVID-19 has changed a lot about 2020—you know, like having many places shutting down due to public health and safety concerns. Now that we have moved into the warmer months, you may be wondering what places you can visit outdoors in Colorado during the global pandemic. Luckily, there are many national parks that have begun phased reopenings for visitors. Below is a list of all of the national parks in Colorado that are currently open to visitors.
As always, please follow the Leave No Trace principals and take out everything that you bring into these beautiful parks. And, of course, please practice social distancing and keeping your family, friends, and neighbors safe during this time.
National Parks in Colorado That Are Open for Visitors, as of June 8:
*The following information will be updated as more Colorado national parks reopen for the season. Please call ahead and check the reservation system prior to making plans.
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site is now open to visitors after reopening back in May. Between now and August 31, the national park will be open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; from September 1 through May 31, 2020, those hours change to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The following areas of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park have been reopened:
- South Rim Drive
- North Rim – Day Use Only
- Inner Canyon Routes – Day Use Only, Permits Required
- Red Rock Canyon to Permit Holders Only
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
- South Rim and North Rim Campgrounds
- South Rim Visitor Center
Colorado National Monument has granted access to:
- Saddlehorn Visitor Center – The gift shop inside the visitor center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. However, the exhibit area and theater will remain closed.
- Devil’s Kitchen Trailhead Parking – The parking lot is open for trailhead access.
- Cold Shivers O verlook
- Rim Rock Drive
- All hiking trails
The following facilities remain closed:
- Saddlehorn Campground
- Saddlehorn Picnic Area
- Devil’s Kitchen Picnic Area
Curecanti National Recreation Area has reopened:
- Blue Mesa Reservoir for boating and on-shore recreation
- Elk Creek Boat Ramp and Inspection Station, from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
- Lake Fork Boat Ramp and Inspection Station, from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
- Iola Boat Ramp and Inspection Station, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
- Boat-In dispersed camping at least 1/2 mile from developed areas and roads
- Gunnison River from Riverway to Blue Mesa Reservoir with extreme caution advised for changing water conditions, strainers, and other hazards.
The following facilities remain closed:
- All campgrounds
- Elk Creek Visitor Center
All monument roads, trails, and campgrounds are now open. In addition, backcountry activities, like river trips, have resumed.
However, the Canyon Visitor Center in Colorado and the Quarry Visitor Center and Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall in Utah remain closed.
Access to the Monument’s trails is available at the Hornbek Homestead parking lot and the Barksdale picnic area. There are no restroom facilities available.
Phase 1 reopening grants access to:
- Main park road
- Dunes parking area and dunefield
- Medano Pass Primitive Road (if road conditions allow), including established campsites on a first-come, first-served basis
- All trails: Mosca Pass, Montville Nature, Sand Sheet Loop, Wellington Ditch, Dunes Overlook, Sand Ramp, Medano Lake, and Music Pass
- All picnic areas: Mosca Creek, Sand Pit, and Castle Creek
- Entrance Station, including the collection of fees if authorized
The following facilities or areas remain closed until further notice:
- Visitor Center
- South Ramada group picnic site in the Mosca Creek Picnic Area
- Pinon Flats Campground
- Overnight backcountry access in the National Park, including the dune field and sites along the Sand Ramp Trail
Great Sand Dunes plans to reopen the Pinon Flats Campground and begin issuing backcountry permits for both the Park and Preserve in mid-June as part of Phase 2; however, Phase 2 is contingent upon successful implementation of Phase 1, sufficient staff capacity and supplies, and current local and state guidance.
Hovenweep's roads, trails, and restrooms will open on May 14, 2020.
The following areas will remain closed until further notice:
- Hovenweep Visitor Center and bookstore operated by Canyonlands Natural History Association
- Hovenweep Campground
The following areas are now open:
- Online Virtual Ranger Station
- Morefield Campground
- Far View Terrace Cafe and Gift Shop
- Far View Lodge
- Spruce Tree Terrace Cafe and Gift Shop
- Chapin Mesa Picnic Area
- Public Restrooms
- Trash collection
These areas of Mesa Verde remain closed:
- Mesa Verde Research & Visitor Center
- Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum
- All cliff dwellings and ranger-guided cliff dwelling tours. This includes continued closures of Cliff Palace, Balcony House, Long House, and Step House.
- Wetherill Mesa
Reservations to enter the park are available on Recreation.gov through July 31. The next release will be on July 1, for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. The same reservation system will be in place for August and September. In the initial opening phase, the park will open approximately 60 percent of the park’s maximum parking capacity or 4,800 vehicles (13,500 visitors) per day.
All trails and Monument Hill are open during regular park hours. However, the Sand Creek Visitor Centers and Park Stores are closed.
Yucca House is completely open.
Will you be visiting any of Colorado's national parks this year? Let us know in the comments!