Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 has much of the country and the world practicing social-distancing. As a result, many popular tourist attractions, including theme parks, hotels, and even beaches, are closing.
If you’re healthy but stuck at home, keep reading. We’re showing you how to enjoy Southern Utah’s natural wonders while still staying safe and practicing healthy social-distancing.
Visit One of the Parks in Person
If you’re local to Southern Utah, it is possible to still enjoy a safe visit to the parks during this time. Most national parks across the country remain open at this time. While measures are being taken to limit human contact in the parks, many see our large public lands as the perfect place for people to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and exercise while still practicing social distancing.
At this time, all 5 of Utah’s national parks remain open, and park fees have been waived at this time. However, the visitor centers and museums in each have closed for the time being. Park information is being provided outside of visitor centers and by sheriffs and staff still working in the parks. You can also call each park service’s hotline for information on closures.
In Zion National Park, the shuttle system has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Visitors are allowed to drive their own cars into the lower canyon until shuttle service returns. However, because of limited parking in the lower canyon, the road closes when parking fills and then reopens as spots become available. Because many people are flocking to the park at this time, the road has been closing early each day. If you plan to visit Zion and want to drive into the lower canyon, plan to arrive early in the day, or after 4 p.m. when crowds begin to thin for the day. You can also park at the visitor center and walk into the lower canyon instead.
How to Visit the Parks Safely
If you do choose to venture into one of Utah’s national or state parks, there are a few things you should do to protect your health and the health of other visitors.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly. You should scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after eating, after using the restroom, and in between as much as possible.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick. You should also try to keep at least 6-feet separation between anyone else, whether or sick or not, while out in public.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
- If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue. If a tissue isn’t available, cover your mouth and nose with your elbow. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
- Take advantage of the park service’s online resources as much as possible. While rangers and staff continue to work in the parks, maintaining social distancing as much as possible will help keep you, them, and other visitors healthy.
Keep in mind that while the parks remain open today, that could change. Before you head to a park for the day, check out their website to find out about any new closures or other changes.
Take a Virtual Tour of Utah’s Mighty 5
If you’re homebound and can’t travel right now, you can still enjoy all of Utah’s Mighty 5 from the safety and comfort of your home.
Thanks to Google Earth, you can take a virtual tour of just about every national park in the country, including all of Utah’s stunning parks. Use the following links to zoom in and check out the parks without even getting up off the couch.
- Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Zion National Park
Start Planning Your Next Visit to Utah
What better way to pass your time at home than by looking ahead to warmer days? Now is a great time to start planning a summer or fall visit to Southern Utah.
Southern Utah Tourism Summit Moved to November
Because of COVID-19, we’ve moved the Southern Utah Tourism Summit from next month to later in November. If you already had a ticket for the event this spring, you have a spot reserved for the new date. But if you haven’t booked your place yet, stay tuned for updates and to grab your spot!
November is a great time to visit Southern Utah. With temperatures cooling off after a long summer of heat, trees changing colors in the higher elevations, and the crowds beginning to fade, it’s one of the best times of the year to visit our national and state parks. Start planning your fall visit now!