Are you ready to hit the trails this summer? National parks are increasing access and services, but many buildings remain closed, and social distancing will be enforced.

By Cheyann Neades
May 13, 2020
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As nationwide restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic begin to ease, the National Park Service is also starting to phase in access.

The NPS will follow “a phased approach to reopen park areas, beginning with outdoor spaces such as trails, boardwalks, observation decks, boat ramps, picnic areas, and other open landscapes," the park service says on its COVID-19 response page. "We ask the public to be our partner in adopting social distancing practices when visiting parks."

Before visiting any park, check the location's website for its latest status. Here’s the current outlook for Midwest national parks:

While most park trails are open, Cuyahoga Valley rangers are monitoring visitation to avoid crowding. As certain areas of the park near capacity, they will be closed. Call (440) 546-5960 for the latest closure information. Boston Mill Visitor Center is closed.

The Gateway Arch Visitor Center, Museum at the Gateway Arch, store and cafe reopened June 17.  Visitors can walk and bike on The Arch grounds. The Tram Ride to the Top will be part of a later reopening phase.

Most areas of the park, including 50 miles of hiking trails, are open; restrooms are open now, and campgrounds and public buildings opened in mid-June. Check the park's website for the latest information.

The park remains open but all visitors centers are closed, possibly for the rest of the 2020 season. Permits for overnight use, such as tent camping and houseboat mooring, are available.

Park trails, picnic areas, roads and backcountry camping reopened on May 9. Visitor centers and campgrounds remain closed.

Park roads and hiking trails are open, but the visitor center and Elk Mountain Campground are closed. Cave tours have been cancelled since summer 2019 pending “major elevator repairs,” according to the park website.

While roads, trails and campgrounds in the North Unit are open, visitor centers and the park's South Unit are closed.

The park and surrounding islands had been scheduled to reopen June 15 but now is delaying its seasonal opening until further notice. The boats that normally provide ferry service to the park will not operate this summer, and Rock Harbor Lodge is closed for the season. Seaplane service may resume later in summer.