How to Be an Informed and Mindful Traveler
While the national parks reopening during the past two years have made us optimistic about summer travel, we’ve identified 5 essential factors you should consider before you hit the road. And one last thing. Throw your propensity to assume out the window. As we’ve seen during the past two years, there are no guarantees that businesses will stay open, virus cases will go down or stay-at-home orders will be a thing of the past.
1. Every state has its own rules that vary dramatically.
Each state has different quarantine orders that vary dramatically from state to state. Within states, orders can even vary from county to county or town to town. For instance, if you pass through the Navajo Nation, you must wear a face mask.
2. Not everything in the park will be open.
Just because a national park reopens does not mean everything within the park is open. Staffing challenges may mean that there are limited services available. Be sure to check each park website to ensure that the services you need are available. Lastly, avoiding crowds and practicing Leave No Trace principles in the park are more essential now than ever with reduced park staff. We’ve teamed up with organizations and brands across the outdoor industry to help you make smart decisions on recreating to keep yourself and others healthy and to keep access to our beloved public places open. You can read more about how to #RecreateResponsibly.
3. Every town and local business is operating differently in this new normal.
Do advance research on what hotels and restaurants are open and what they are doing to keep customers and employees safe. Some restaurants may only offer take out. Others might have a long waiting list because they have fewer tables because of staffing shortages. If you have a choice between local businesses and a national chain, consider supporting the local business.
4. Be mindful that you’re a visitor in someone’s hometown.
While you may feel footloose and fancy free after being cooped up for two years, don’t throw caution to the wind. People live in the towns you’re traveling through and they want to feel safe as they open up their economies. Many have tiny medical centers and are miles from the nearest full-service hospital. If a store posts a sign asking all customers to wear face masks, put on your face mask. Be the traveler you’d want to see visiting your town.
5. If you’re sick, stay home.
No one wants to get sick, so if you’re not feeling well or have signs of COVID-19, stay at home or if you’re on the road, head home immediately. Travel when you’re healthy.
Rocky Mountain National Park
In summer 2022, timed entry reservations are required between May 27 and October 10, 2022, and are in addition to your entrance fee. You can buy your timed-entry reservation for $2 at recreation.gov. Visitors must still purchase entrance passes, which are $25 per vehicle, or hold an annual pass to enter the park.
So, what’s a timed-entry day pass and why does the park offer two different passes? If you want to visit the Bear Lake Road Corridor of Rocky Mountain National Park in summer 2022, you need to purchase a ticket in advance on recreation.gov. Reservations go on sale at 10 a,m. MDT on Saturday, May 2 for park entry between May 27-June 30. On June 1, you can reserve any days for the month of July, and July 1 will be when you can book for August and so on. And those tickets will be flying off the virtual shelves. If the park has sold out for the day you want to visit, you can enter the Bear Lake Road Corridor area before 5 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
If you want to avoid the popular Bear Lake Road Corridor altogether, you can buy a separate timed entry pass to explore the rest of the park. Or you can enter the park before 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m. The park has left some openings for people to purchase reservation tickets at 5 p.m. the day prior to entering the park. You can learn more here.
Rocky Mountain Conservancy continues to offer Rocky-themed merchandise available on their website at www.rmconservancy.org
For further information on Rocky Mountain National Park, please visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.
To follow additional closures or changes with the status of the park, visit the Rocky Mountain National Park news site here www.nps.gov/romo/learn/news/
For camping reservations, alerts and closures for Moraine Park, Glacier Basin and Aspen Glen, visit Recreation.gov here: www.recreation.gov/camping/gateways/2907
Follow Rocky Mountain National Park on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RockyNPS/
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Great Sand Dunes National Park is open.
To get up-to-date news on Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, go to www.nps.gov/grsa/learn/news/
Follow Great Sand Dunes on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greatsanddunesnpp/
For camping reservations, alerts and closures, visit www.recreation.gov/camping/gateways/2738
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is open. However, as of early April 2022, Spruce Tree House is closed because rockfall danger. The Cliff Palace Loop is closed due to road construction. The Chapin Mesa Museum is currently closed for renovations.
To get up-to-date news on Mesa Verde National Park, go to www.nps.gov/meve/learn/news/
Follow Mesa Verde National Park on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mesaverdenps/
For tours and other plus ticket alerts and purchases, visit www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/233362.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is open. To get up-to-date news on Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area, go to www.nps.gov/blca/learn/news/ and www.nps.gov/cure/learn/news/.
Follow Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park on Facebook at www.facebook.com/blackcanyonnps/
For information, alerts and reservation for the South Rim Campground visit Recreation.gov here: www.recreation.gov/camping/gateways/2592
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument is open. For up-to-the-date information, visit the Colorado National Monument website at www.nps.gov/colm/learn/news/newsreleases.htm
Follow Colorado National Monument on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ColoradoNM
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument is open. For up-to-date information, visit www.nps.gov/dino/learn/news/
When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders including the practice of social distancing, avoid crowding, wearing masks, if appropriate, and avoid high-risk outdoor activities. Also, please practice Leave No Trace principles, and avoid crowding and high-risk outdoor activities.
Follow Dinosaur National Monument on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DinosaurNPS
Other National Parks and National Park Sites
The National Park Service has been updating its COVID-19 page daily with information about individual parks. You can visit it here: www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/public-health-update.htm
Updates about nationwide NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.