Travel

Every National Park is Now Open. Here's What You Can Do In All 62.

What to know before you go into the wild.

Editor's note:  The current wildfires, particularly in the western part of the country, are creating a constantly changing situation in many parks. We strongly urge you to use caution and to stay informed about fire conditions and air quality before you even think of heading into the woods. Stay safe and stay informed by consulting each park's site.

After a wild ride throughout 2020, every national park in the US is currently open in some capacity. And just in time -- some of these parks are at their very best once the colors begin changing. But even with COVID restrictions in place, chaos reigns. Wildfires are raging throughout the west. The seasons are causing campsite closures, and leaf-peeping masses mean some usually quiet parks are requiring reservations. As with all things, even getting out into the wilderness is a little more complicated right now.

To keep you informed on the status of each park -- what services are available, whether you can camp, and more -- we decided to keep tabs on all 62 to ensure you're maximizing your time outside. This list is current as of October 1, 2020. No go forth and be epic.  

Acadia National Park

Maine
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
Good news: It's leaf-peeping season, and Acadia is the one of the best places in America to do it. The bad news? Everybody knows this. This is a time when Acadia's roads resemble rush hour in LA, only with way prettier views. To counteract the jams, vehicles require reservations through October 18. Score one here. Once you're still here, you still can't camp overnight. But hey, those colors mostly pop in the daytime anyway. 

Arches National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Arches is back, baby! And everybody knows it. Keep an eye on the homepage of Utah's most stunning outdoor spaces before you go: You might be greeted by a message that says "the park is full," and they will very much turn you away if you show up when it's at capacity. Luckily, the whole of Utah is basically one big national park, so if you get turned away, you still have many, many options

Badlands National Park

South Dakota
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
The South Unit of the park is currently closed, but the rest of this badass South Dakota icon and its rugged geologic beauty is mostly open for business as usual. Be sure to stop off for ice water at Wall Drug while you're here: Now that the Sturgis rally is over and all the Smash Mouth fans have gone home, you'll likely find smaller crowds at the scheduled T-rex show. 

Big Bend National Park

Texas
Status: Open
Camping: Limited
Amenities: Yes
This kayaker paradise and roadtripper magnet along the Rio Grande has had a rough go of reopening. After cautiously throwing open the gates, Covid crashed the party, forcing it to close in July. It's slowly coming back, with day-use hikes, limited campground access (reservations required), and backcountry camping on the table.  

Biscayne National Park

Florida
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Most of Biscayne is underwater anyway, and now kayak launches at Convoy Point, Boca Chita, Elliott, and Adams Keys are open on a limited basis. You can feel pretty ok with paddling around this overlooked gem of a park with minimal risk.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
The park's South Rim Drive, North Rim, and Inner Canyon routes are open in this highly underrated western Colorado treasure located about two hours north of Telluride. Campgrounds, too, are now an option, though reservations are highly recommended as this place shifts from overlooked to extremely enticing.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Bryce is pretty much back in full swing, with some new distancing protocols and a limit on campground occupancy. Shuttles are open, horses are rearin' to go, breakfast is back on the menu at the restaurants, and ranger tours are a thing again. One of Utah's greatest treasures has awoken. 

Canyonlands National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
This oft-overlooked Utah gem (the least visited of Utah's famous "big five" parks) is stretching is back and going strong: You can now hit up the winding roads and endless trails of Canyonlands, then bed down at campsites or in the backcountry, provided you have a permit. You can also score supplies at park stores. 

Capitol Reef National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
This International Dark Sky Park combines the best of Utah's more famous national parks into one lesser-visited package of surprises. And it's fully open for all activities, including camping, canyoneering, and loitering in the visitor centers.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

New Mexico
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Carlsbad is now open for both surface recreation and subterranean exploration, though limited access to those caves tends to sell out as early as 9am. In fact, it seems the only thing that's off limits is its famous amphitheater, which is now closed from 5-8pm nightly so that people don't cram together to watch the park's famous bat flights. 

Channel Islands National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: No
This breathtaking collection of islands off the Southern California coast is only reachable by boats both private and hired, and some concessioners are resuming transport to and from the island on a limited basis. That means even fewer people will be able to visit this treasure of a park, which remains overlooked despite being hidden in plain sight near LA. 

Congaree National Park

South Carolina
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
The nation's oldest hardwood bottomland didn't keep its 500-year-old Cypruses alive through multiple plagues, yellow fever, and the Twilight saga by taking chances. After cautiously opening up the backcountry, the frontcountry is now accessible. That means you can hike in most of the park, canoe and fish, and camp if you scored a spot. 

Crater Lake National Park

Oregon
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
The shimmering deep blue waters of America's deepest lake are open and the area was thankfully spared from the fires that ripped through Oregon. But be advised that shifting winds can turn your view into a smokescreen, and the accompanying air quality can shift to dangerous. 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Ohio
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Limited
A peak Midwestern leaf-peeping destination, Ohio's expansive 33,000-acre treasure is open, but some of its more stunning attractions are still off limits, including the Brandywine Falls boardwalk and Blue Hen Falls. 

Death Valley National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Death Valley held out longer than any California park, then strategically swung open the doors to campsites, amenities, and even restaurants, and resorts when temperatures started looking toward 120. Baller. 

Denali National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Those looking to bask in stunning views of the wild landscapes surrounding North America's tallest peak are free to do so, and campsites are currently opening on a discretionary basis. Outdoor visitor centers, too, are there if you need them.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Florida
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Seaplane tours, ferries, campgrounds, marine waters, and the gardens outside of one of America's largest 19th-century forts are open. And you're now welcome to enjoy sunrises and sunsets on Loggerhead Key. Basically, there's more open than closed at this point. 

Everglades National Park

Florida
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Most of the Everglades is currently open. Feel free to camp, kayak, book a tour, canoe, clean fish, get gas, and poop with wild abandon in Everglades' many public restrooms.

Gates of the Arctic National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
While America's most remote and least-visited national park remains open for the most part, the hard part is getting there. There are no roads to the park and most visitors access this massive wilderness (roughly the size of Switzerland) by plane, which is obviously impacted. Anaktuvuk Pass recreation area is also closed. This place required a lot of planning to visit in the beforetimes. If you're really committed, you already allotted time to jump through hoops to plan a safe stay.

Gateway Arch National Park

Missouri
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
The Arch is smack in the middle of St. Louis, and grounds around the Arch have been accessible to socially distanced walks and biking all along. Now, the visitor center, museum, cafe, and store are open now, and you can take the tram to the top. The Old Courthouse is still closed, and you can't camp. Ever. Because, again, it's in the middle of St. Louis. 

Glacier National Park

Montana
Status: Open
Camping: Limited
Amenities: Yes
Considered by many to be America's most beautiful park, this mountainous wonderland/UNESCO World Heritage site is taking very careful considerations to keep the local Blackfeet community safe from transmission. The East entrances at the Blackfeet Reservation remain closed. That means there's access to the famous Going-to-the Sun Road, hiking/biking trails, and limited boating, though rangers are cautioning that things can get pretty congested. Most campsites are closed for the season, though some rustic options are still taking tents.  

Glacier Bay National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Look, if you're hiking around the glacial wilderness of Alaska, you're already pretty socially distant. And if you do happen to see some other folks traipsing through one of the best glacier hikes in America, we're pretty sure you'll be able to abide a six-foot buffer zone.

Grand Canyon National Park

Arizona
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
The Grand Canyon has widened (sorry) its access 24/7, though there are some limits. Campsites are slowly expanding their availability, and lodges are now open. Here's a handy State of the Canyon guide to plan a safe trip: Apparently, they've had an increase in search-and-rescue operations this season due to unprepared hikers, so go in with as much knowledge as you can.  

Grand Teton National Park

Wyoming
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
One of America's most sprawling and breathtaking mountain landscapes is humming along: roads, waterways, and trails are now open, along with some campsites and cabins, though many tent sites have closed for the season already. 

Great Basin National Park

Nevada
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Great Basin and many of its amenities are open for hikers and explorers, and now that several campsites are open, its legendary stargazing -- some of the best in the US, period -- is back in full swing.  

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Colorado
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
This high-alpine sandboarding paradise is back in the swing of things, with trails open, dunes ready to be tumbled down, and campsite available. For the backcountry set, you can also score free permits at the visitor center, which is also now back up and running. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Carolina, Tennessee
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
The nation’s most popular park (on a technicality, but whatever) allows access to most of its sprawling trails, though this has always been a park most utilized as a scenic drive, so go forth and peep those leafs, but keep an eye on their site for closures. If you're looking to stay overnight, several campgrounds are now open, though the majority are still on lockdown.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Texas
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
The home of Texas' four highest mountain peaks and the world's most expensive Permian fossil reef has finally re-opened some campsites, along with many trails and roads. You can also hit up the Frijole Ranch area. Night skies, lodgings, and campsites remain exclusive to coyotes.  

Haleakalā National Park

Hawaii
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Limited
Maui's massive, ethereal treasure is letting visitors trickle in to hike its stunning overlook trails -- all the way up to 10,023 feet in elevation. If you make it up that high, social distance shouldn't be a problem.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
This ancient, mind-boggling wonder was allowed to sleep during the first few months of the pandemic, but now it's opened its gates anew. Many of the roads and trails here are open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians. The Kīlauea Crater is back in business, too, as are galleries and Volcano House, in case you need a cocktail with your view.  Camping -- backcountry and at sites -- is once again a thing, and cabin stays come with extra safety precautions courtesy of rangers.  

Hot Springs National Park

Arkansas
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Hot Springs' status as an urban national park means that a lot of the cafes and restaurants in its orbit are currently open, along with trails and outdoor areas. You can now camp and hit up the bath houses that contain the namesake hot springs. Spas and salons are open too, in case camping isn't camping until you get a blowout.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
While one of America's newest national parks remains open "for the most part," it did have issues with crowd control in the age of COVID. But things have smoothed out and most of the park is open, including Dunewood Campground. Just don't screw this up, Chicagoans -- Indiana Dunes is emphasizing, more than any other park, that shenanigans will equal closures. Wear your damn mask when you're around others (it's the law) and don't screw up a good thing. 

Isle Royale National Park

Michigan
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
One of America's most remote and least-visited wilderness parks has shuttered all its visitor centers for the season, owing to the fact that it's sitting in the middle of GD Lake Superior. Visiting this place always requires a lot of planning. Now it just requires a bit more. 

Joshua Tree National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Now back in the business of helping claustrophobic Californians "find themselves" after a painful couple months, this gloriously trippy desert playground has opened up its trails, roads, bathrooms, and individual "family" campsites, which in California parlance ranges from actual family units to cult compounds of up to 25 people. Those are available on a first come, first served basis, so arrive early and prepare to be very sweaty in the day and cold at night -- fires are temporarily banned here.

Katmai National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
Katmai's more a park for animals than people -- seriously, check out these bears just yukking it up -- and has less than 5 miles of maintained trails. If you're headed into the wild backcountry, chances are you're pretty well equipped to survive without visitors centers, running water, or, you know, other people. But if you can't, access to those things is slightly increased.

Kenai Fjords National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
This sprawling land where 40 glaciers dot the landscape and green contrasts with the white snow has opened up all its public spaces, though don't expect to get inside any buildings. Not that you're here to hang out inside, but just in case. Some campsites and cabins, too, remain closed.

Kings Canyon National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
This criminally under-explored park wedged between Yosemite and Joshua Tree has lifted evacuation notices due to fires as of October 1, but some areas remain closed. Additionally, air-quality issues can elevate into the hazardous zone, with ash and particulate lending less-than-relaxing Silent Hill vibes. Which is to say, it might be a good time to allow Kings to remain under-explored for a little while. 

Kobuk Valley National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
You are free to roam the dunes and traipse through the river among the many, many caribou in this Alaskan wilderness, provided you don't want to stop in the main visitor center after you're through. 

Lake Clark National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
Lake Clark only reachable by boat and air taxi. If you're planning to go, expect to abide by rigid quarantine rules beforehand. That said, if you're visiting this place, chances are you didn't just kind of wander out for a scenic drive in the woods, so you probably already know this. And if you didn't, well, you probably didn't know Lake Clark was a place to begin with. 

Lassen Volcanic National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
This remarkable park in Northern California's Shasta Cascades is now offering up ample access to its rugged wilderness and rare geothermal delights. Just be sure to take that "rugged" part seriously. For example, Manzanita Lake is currently closed because river otters -- we shit you not -- will not hesitate to straight-up maul your face if they think you're a threat to their babies. 

Mammoth Cave National Park

Kentucky
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
The surface world's been open all along, but now folks can resume descending into the world's longest underground cave. Camping is also now an option, though not inside the cave itself, which horror films tell us is a very bad idea. 

Mesa Verde National Park

Colorado
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
America's largest archeological preserve (and top Colorado attraction) has been around since 7,500 BC, and after its spring closure it's pretty much back in business. Tours of the cliff-dwellings are currently on hold along with access to the museum and main visitor center. Otherwise, go nuts, and feel free to stay, either in a tent or the lodge. 

Mount Rainier National Park

Washington
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
One of America's oldest national parks is mostly open at this point, though some sections of the densely forested mountain stunner remain off limits for seasonal reasons. From base to summit, Rainier's ready to roll. 

National Park of American Samoa

American Samoa
Status: Open
Camping: No (camping's never an option here)
Amenities: No
The bad news: If you're a mainlander planning to visit this isolated paradise renowned for its snorkeling, beaches, night sky, and solitude, you have to quarantine in Hawaii for 14 days. The good news is, if you're a mainlander planing to visit this isolated paradise renowned for its snorkeling, beaches, night sky, and solitude, you have to quarantine in Hawaii for 14 days. And if you're already on American Samoa, bad news is probably pretty relative, largely because you've been going to the park all along. 

North Cascades National Park

Washington
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Why people continue to overlook this spectacular expanse of glorious nature porn near the Canadian border continues to befuddle experts. Now, with the gates back open and tents are springing up again, is the time to remedy that. Hike and boat to your heart's content, or just cruise from waterfall to waterfall and see what you've been missing.

Olympic National Park

Washington
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
With mountains, beaches, and rainforests, this ridiculously diverse park needs to be seen at least once by every American. At this point, pretty much everything is open -- including in-park lodges and resorts, campsites, lakes, and hot springs -- though sections of the coast remain closed out of consideration to the residents of the Makah and Quileute reservations. (That extends to nearby La Push, in case you were here to reenact pivotal scenes from Twilight.) 

Petrified Forest National Park

Arizona
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: No
The park road, trails, and very hard wilderness areas are now open at this stunning park that suddenly pops up along both sides of Route 66 in eastern Arizona. Even if you're just on an epic old-school road trip, you should make it a point to cruise through.

Pinnacles National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: No
The site for this Central California park boasts about it being "Born of Fire." Right now, though, fire danger has closed the vast majority of the park. Some trails are still open, but it might be best to give the firefighters one less thing to worry about and unlace those boots for the time being. 

Redwood National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Limited
Amenities: Limited
Redwoods is open, and you can still camp with some fire restrictions. Be aware, though, that smoke from fires to the east can put some serious limitations on your lung capacity should you roll in to engage in some al fresco Ewok cosplay. 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
You currently need a timed reservation to get into America's third-most popular park. This is actually a good thing. After struggling to control ever-increasing crowds in recent years, this will ensure that you won't have to deal with the juxtaposition of being packed like a sardine into one of America's most vast spaces. Snag a res on their site, then check out our ultimate park guide for details on how to dominate the park once your number comes up. Just don't plan to roast any s'mores: Fires are off limits right now.

Saguaro National Park

Arizona
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
Located right outside of Tucson, this cacti-laden gem is currently allowing campers, though groups are limited to 10, which gives you a good excuse not to invite that one friend who always insists on bringing his fucking acoustic guitar.  

Sequoia National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Like its neighbor Kings Canyon, the densely forested Sequoia has some serious '70s dive bar vibes thanks to wildfire smoke. You can still visit, but will likely have a better experience down the road.  

Shenandoah National Park

Virginia
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Renowned for its fabled Skyline Drive, this national treasure encompassing part of the Blue Ridge Mountains is well into phase 3, which means you can now access Old Rag and Whiteoak, set up shop in backcountry campgrounds and huts, and pitch a tent in designated sites provided you respect the social distancing rules.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota
Status: Open
Camping: Backcountry only
Amenities: Limited
Look, it's not like they named this ultra-underrated park -- where the prairies and the Badlands converge, forests stand petrified, Buffalo roam, and the sky's one big panoramic light show -- James Buchanan National Park. It's named after Theodore Roosevelt. Of course it's open for day user and backcountry camping. 

Virgin Islands National Park

US Virgin Islands
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
The bad news is that the most of the rental sites and food-service at Trunk Bay are closed. The good news is that you're in the Virgin Islands. If you're upset that you can't rent a boat and are forced to simply enjoy some of the world's most pristine beaches from the sand, you are incapable of happiness.

Voyageurs National Park

Minnesota
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
Known for its rugged waters and wild landscapes that make it a paradise for kayakers and canoeists, this park near the Canadian border is so underrated it doesn't even make underrated parks lists. Overnight camping is now permitted in some areas, though park boat tours are done for 2020. That said, you can totally moor a houseboat here no problem, provided you, um, own a houseboat. 

White Sands National Park

New Mexico
Status: Open
Camping: No
Amenities: Yes
Poor White Sands. America's newest national park didn't pick a great time for its coming out party. Transitioning from a national monument to a national park in the final days of 2019, the park was forced to shut down just a few weeks later, and was among the last to reopen. But hey, it's open now! No, you can't camp. Yes, you can rent a sled and go rocketing down the dunes. Seems like a fair tradeoff.

Wind Cave National Park

South Dakota
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
Wind Cave is like the national park equivalent of some crazy-great speakeasy: a massive cave system hidden beneath the prairie. At this point, the cave tours are a bust. You can now camp, and wander the trails of the prairie aboveground, but honestly, you can already do that in the majority of South Dakota without being sad that the good stuff's all under your boots.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Alaska
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: No
Ok, so technically the largest national park -- all 13.2 million central Alaskan acres of it -- has been open for most of the pandemic, though mostly to folks working to preserve the park. Now, it's open to Alaskans and quarantine completionists, who can camp in sites or in the backcountry and even access the park's remarkably preserved ghost town, which has been practicing extreme social distancing for a century. 

Yellowstone National Park

Montana, Wyoming, Idaho
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
All entrances are now open, a good number of amenities like gas and food available, and the whole iconic Grand Loop -- the cornerstone of your ultimate Yellowstone adventure guide -- are ready to explore. Many campsites are also accessible, and you can also score cabins, hotel rooms, and other lodging. In the event that you suddenly realize you're in the need of grizzly repellent but don't want to commit to owning it, however, you're out of luck: The bear-spray rental kiosk is closed for 2020. 

Yosemite National Park

California
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Limited
Right now, Yosemite's on a reservations-only system. (Though if you can't in, the surrounding Gold Country's still worth a visit!) That changes November 1, where the reservations are lifted and you're allowed to experience Mariposa Grove, the Mist Trail, and Half Dome in the fall without booking ahead. 

Zion National Park

Utah
Status: Open
Camping: Yes
Amenities: Yes
One of America's most beloved parks is easing back into public life, with the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and many park trails currently open, though some bangers, including Angels Landing, are off limits. Shuttles, too, are back in business on a timed reservation system. (Be sure to pack our rundown of some of our favorite Zion hikes.) Services including canyon rides and the Zion Lodge are also back in action. 

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Jay Gentile is an award-winning freelance journalist specializing in travel, food & drink, culture, events and entertainment stories. In addition to Thrillist, you can find his work in The Washington PostThe GuardianCNN TravelChicago TribuneLonely PlanetVICEOutside Magazine and more. Follow @thejaygentile.

Andy Kryza is Thrillist's senior travel editor.