The Grand Canyon reopening will happen in phases with the first preview of how operations will work over the long weekend.
Parts of the Grand Canyon reopened over the long weekend as tourists flocked to the national park.
Park officials said the South Rim entrance will only be open from 6-10 a.m. through Monday of the Memorial Day weekend.
Grand Canyon National Park's South Rim South Entrance will only be open May 15-18 for incoming traffic from 6-10 a.m. with limited day use access to:
- The viewpoints at Pipe Creek Vista, Twin Overlooks, Duck on a Rock, Thor's Hammer, No Name Point and Navajo Point along East Desert View Drive. Vehicles will be directed to turn around at Navajo Point.
- The picnic areas east of Yaki Road, Thor's Hammer and Buggeln Picnic area.
- The restroom facilities located by the South Entrance Grand Canyon National Park sign, picnic area east of Yaki Road, and Buggeln picnic area.
With public health in mind, the following facilities and areas remain closed to visitors at this time:
- South Rim's east entrance and Desert View area.
- The Rim Trail, Greenway Trail system, inner canyon and all hiking trails.
- Grand Canyon Village.
- Center Road west from the South Entrance Road intersection; South Entrance Road north of Desert View Drive intersection; Yaki Point Road, Rowe Well Road and the USFS 310 Road.
- The Colorado River, North Rim and Tuweep area.
Visitors were told to bring food, water and hand sanitizer. There are no overnight accommodations available. Some restrooms along with portable ones were available.
The Grand Canyon had been closed since April 1, one of the last big national parks to shut down completely to visitors. At the time, health officials in Coconino County said keeping the park open put employees, residents and tourists at risk.
“This initial reopening phase will increase access to our public lands in a responsible way by offering the main feature of the park for the public, the view of the canyon, while reducing the potential exposure of COVID-19 to our nearly 2,500 residents,” said Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Ed Keable.
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited.
The additional access planned for visitors over Memorial Day weekend, which includes extending entrance station hours and access to more roads, hiking trails and viewpoints are only available from May 15th -18th.
As a reminder, visitors driving on U.S. Route 89 between Flagstaff or northern Arizona and Cameron will be travelling through the Navajo Nation, which requires face masks to be worn at public facilities and businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Also, the neighboring Havasupai reservation remains closed for tourism, and details for operational updates can be found on their website.
The parks gets about 6 million visitors a year, most of whom go to the South Rim. Those entrance gates were open Friday, and tourists were allowed in free. Visitors were blocked from entering at the East Rim entrance to limit travel through the Navajo Nation, where coronavirus has hit residents hard.
When Will The Grand Canyon Reopen?
Although the National Park granted limited access to the South Rim over the Memorial Day weekend, further announcements on reopening dates have not been set.