National parks, hiking trails, campgrounds, and other popular outdoor recreation areas that have been shut down by COVID-19 are finally starting to reopen in Colorado for summer recreation. While reopenings may inspire excitement to get back into the mountains, Coloradans are still being encouraged to recreate within 10 miles of their homes during the state’s “safer-at-home” order. Here’s a look at what outdoor recreation areas are open and closed around the state.

Editor’s Note: All open/closure status is subject to change. Check with an official source for the most up-to-date information prior to planning your trip. Additional closures and restrictions not included on this list may also be in place.

Openings

1. Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorful spring sunset over Trail Ridge Road, winding along a steep ridge, with snow-capped peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO. Photo Credit: SeanXu (iStock).

Rocky Mountain National Park is set to start reopening with increased access to the park on May 27— the day after the state’s “safer-at-home” order is currently set to lift.. The first phase of reopening will launch on Wednesday, May 27, with the issuing of wilderness camping permits and shuttle operations resuming within the Bear Lake Road corridor. During the second phase of reopening on June 4, portions of Moraine Park and Glacier Basin Campgrounds will partially reopen.

For more details, please visit www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/conditions.htm#covid19.

2. 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 also beginning to increase recreational access with the reopening of South Rim Drive, North Rim, Inner Canyon Routes (permits required), and Red Rock Canyon (permits required). Facilities that remain closed within the park include South Rim and North Rim Campgrounds and the Elk Creek and South Rim Visitor Centers.

Nearby, Curecanti National Recreation Area has also reopened access to the following:

  • Blue Mesa Reservoir for boating and on-shore recreation
  • Elk Creek Boat Ramp and Inspection Station 5:30 am to 9 pm daily
  • Lake Fork Boat Ramp and Inspection Station 5:30 am to 9 pm daily
  • Iola Boat Ramp and Inspection Station 6 am to 4 pm daily
  • Boat-In dispersed camping at least 1/2 mile from developed areas including roads
  • Gunnison River from Riverway to Blue Mesa Reservoir with extreme caution advised for changing water conditions, strainers, and other hazards.

It’s also important to note that Gunnison County is currently under public health orders that restricts travel to “essential” needs only. Visitors to the mountain county are also prohibited.

3. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Photo Credit: Cheri Alguire (iStock).

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is scheduled to reopen this summer.  Phase 1 of reopening will kick off on Wednesday, June 3 with the reopening the main park road, the Dunes parking area, dune field, Medano Pass Primitive Road (if road conditions allow), picnic areas, and established campsites (first-come, first-served). Trails located within the park will also reopen including Mosca Pass, Montville Nature, Sand Sheet Loop, Wellington Ditch, Dunes Overlook, Sand Ramp, Medano Lake, and Music Pass.

The following facilities will remain closed until further notice: visitor center, South Ramada group picnic site, Pinon Flats campground, and overnight backcountry access in the National Park, which includes the dune field and sites along the Sand Ramp Trail. For more information, please visit www.nps.gov/grsa.

4. Hanging Lake

Hanging lake, Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. Photo Credit: Donyanedomam (iStock).

The Hanging Lake Trail is scheduled to reopen to hikers on Monday, June 1. Anyone who wants to visit will needs a permit. For more information, please visit www.visitglenwood.com/hanginglake.

5. Roads over the Uncompahgre Plateau

Roads across the Uncompahgre Plateau, including 90 Road, Dave Wood Road, Divide Road, Transfer Road, and 25 Mesa Road, are now reopen after the clearing of snow. It’s important to mention that while dispersed camping options are now available, they may be limited due to snow still present in higher elevations. For more information about camping, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/main/gmug.

6. State Park Campgrounds

Colorado state park campgrounds are beginning to reopen after nearly two months of being closed due to the virus outbreak. The following amenities remain closed: visitors centers, park offices, cabins, yurts, tipis, group facilities, and other reservable day-use facilities.

Campsites must be reserved. For more details, please visit www.cpwshop.com. For more information on CPW’s response to COVID-19, please visit cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/COVID-19-Response.aspx.

Closings

Many of the state’s key attractions including outdoor recreation areas, ski resorts, restaurants and bars, arts and cultural facilities, entertainment venues, and sports arenas remain temporarily closed to further contain the spread of COVID-19.

1. Manitou Incline

All 2,768 steps of the Manitou Incline remains closed. Located in Manitou Springs, at the base of Barr Trail, the popular hiking trail gains over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile.

2. Barr Camp

Caretakers Ashley and Nathan Miller sit outside the main cabin at Barr Camp. Photo Credit: Stacie Scott, The Gazette

Barr Camp is currently closed. When open, the high altitude camp provides a resting point for hikers passing through to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak. Construction on the summit is also forcing hikers and trail runners to use an alternative route, tacking on nearly another mile to the 12-mile journey.

3. Clear Creek

All water activities on Clear Creek in Jefferson County and Golden (Vanover Park) have been suspended until further notice. If you violate this order, you could be charged with a class 2 petty offense and a fine of up to $100.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Right now is not the time to explore in Colorado due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please plan to chase these adventures after the crisis has passed and the state’s ‘safer-at-home‘ order has been lifted. Travel to other towns and the mountains is strongly discouraged. Entry into the backcountry is also ill-advised. During the outbreak, you should continue to stay close to home and avoid risky outdoor activities that could potentially strain first responders and search and rescue teams. Always follow official state and county orders as well as social distancing guidelines.

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