Colorado’s four national parks — Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes and Preserve, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison — and other outdoor recreation areas are limiting some services to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which has already infected 160 people in the state. Temporary changes include visitor center shutdowns, national park tour cancellations, and closures of specific attractions, including all 2,744 steps of the Manitou Incline. Here’s a look at some of the recent changes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Editor’s note. All closures, changes, and dates listed are subject to change. Please check with an official national park service source before visiting.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Emerald Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo Credit: tupungato (iStock).

Rocky Mountain National Park is open, but visitor centers including Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, Fall River Visitor Center, and Kawuneeche Visitor Center will remain closed until further notice. Snowshoe walks, full moon walks, field trips, and Earth Day events have also been cancelled.

Prior to visiting the park, entrance passes can be purchased online. Restroom facilities will be available to park visitors at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and Kawuneeche Visitor Center. For the latest updates and closures, please visit nps.gov/romo/.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Photo Credit: Christian Collins (Flickr)

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve will remain open to the public 24 hours, 7 days a week. This includes trails, parking areas, picnic areas, road pull-outs, and interpretive outdoor signage. While the Visitor Center will be closed until further notice, public restrooms and water fountains will still be available inside the visitor center lobby between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM.

It’s also worth mentioning that Medano Pass Primitive Road is still closed for the season. To obtain backcountry permits, please call 719-378-6395. For the latest updates and closures, please visit nps.gov/grsa/.

Mesa Verde National Park

Sunset at Mesa Verde National Park, Photo Credit: Mindy Musick King (iStock).

Mesa Verde National Park is still open, but the Visitor and Research Center, Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, and Spruce Tree Terrace Cafe will be closed until further notice. Tours scheduled for the month of April have also been cancelled. The Mesa Top and Cliff Palace Loops will remain open. pending weather. Park Point, Cedar Tree Tower, and the Far View Sites will also be available. For the latest updates and closure, visit facebook.com/mesaverdenps.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Sun rises over Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado. Photo Credit: dschnarrs (iStock).

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is open, but the visitor center will be closed until further notice. The astronomy program scheduled for Saturday, March 2, has also been cancelled. For the latest updates and closures, please visit facebook.com/blackcanyonnps/.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods, Photo Credit: tonda (iStock).
Garden of the Gods, Photo Credit: tonda (iStock).

Garden of the Gods will open to the public, but the Visitor & Nature Center is temporarily suspending operations and postponing all programming. For the latest updates, please visit gardenofgods.com.

Nearby, the Manitou Incline has been closed indefinitely due to sanitary concerns.

High-risk populations, including the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, are urged to take extra caution and follow Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19. This includes social distancing, washing hands often for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and most importantly, staying at home if you feel sick or experiencing mild symptoms.

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