News Release Date: May 20, 2020
Contact: Lily Daniels, 928-638-7958
Contact: Office of Communications, 928-638-7779
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Grand Canyon National Park is increasing recreational access and services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim will be open May 22-25 for limited entry and recreational access. The South entrance will be open from 4-10 a.m. for visitors to enter the park. The entrance will close at 10 a.m. and visitors already inside the park can remain for day use access until sunset. Entrances fees should be paid at automated fee machines or by purchasing a pass in advance at third-party vendors or online. The following areas and services will be open for visitors:
Day hiking on inner canyon trails.
Limited food and beverage services at Market Plaza, Bright Angel Bicycles, El Tovar patio, and near hotels.
Bicycle and wheelchair rentals at Bright Angel Bicycles.
The Rim Trail and Greenway Trail system located outside of the residential area.
East Desert View Drive is open until Navajo Point, where vehicles will turnaround.
With public health in mind, the following facilities and areas remain closed at this time:
The East entrance on the South Rim and the Desert View Watchtower area.
Visitor centers, museums, and shuttle buses.
Lodging, restaurants, campgrounds on the rim, camper services and trailer village.
Center Road and access through the South Rim residential housing area.
The Colorado River, North Rim and Tuweep area.
Existing backcountry permits for hikers camping overnight will be honored; however, no new overnight camping permits for the inner canyon will be issued. When hiking below the rim, a method to treat water should be included with gear. Check for park water station updates here: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/trail-closures.htm.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Grand Canyon National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners and volunteers.
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
As a reminder, visitors driving on U.S. Route 89 between Flagstaff or northern Arizona and Cameron will be travelling through the Navajo Nation, which requires face masks to be worn at public facilities and businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19. The South Rim’s east entrance is accessed by driving on U.S. Route 89, and the entrance remains closed. Public health and operational updates for the Navajo Nation can be found on their website. Also, the neighboring Havasupai reservation remains closed for tourism, and details for operational updates can be found on their website.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website at: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/grand-canyon-national-park-public-health-update.htm and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.