Arches and Canyonlands national parks will partially reopen to the public at the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the parks, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities.
Beginning May 29, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park will resume allowing access to all park roads, trails, and restrooms. Commercial operations will also be allowed as previously permitted. Backcountry permits for Canyonlands and climbing/canyoneering permits for Arches will be available for use starting May 30.
Remaining closed as of May 29 will be the parks’ visitors centers and stores. The Fiery Furnace will remain closed, as will backcountry camping and sites at Devils Garden Campground, Willow Flat Campground and Needles Campground.
Fee collection continues to be suspended at both parks until further notice.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount,” said Angie Richman, chief of interpretation and visitor services for the two parks. “At Arches and Canyonlands, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and are regularly monitored.”
The Park Service is working closely with its office of public health and the CDC to ensure public areas and workspaces are “safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers,” according to Richman, Although areas are available for visitors to enjoy, Richman said “a return to full operations will continue to be phased and some services may be limited.”
Richman said that park visitors “should follow local area health orders from the Southeast Utah Health Department, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities” when they are in the parks.
Arches and Canyonlands will be the last of Utah’s Mighty Five national parks to reopen after each of the parks statewide closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park were both scheduled to begin reopening Wednesday, May 13 while Capitol Reef National Park had started reopening a week prior to that, on May 5.
Zion was set to reopen to car traffic only, in lieu of the shuttles that typically take visitors around the park. All camping in national parks will remain closed, with the exception of primitive camping in Capitol Reef, which reopened May 11.