In these uncertain times, it has been increasingly difficult to balance personal safety with the desire to travel and explore the world. Many families have found creative ways to have fun within the confines of their homes while limiting activities that require time outside. But what if there was a way to roam the great outdoors while still maintaining safety guidelines that help prevent the spread of coronavirus? Fortunately, there is! With its countless national parks, the United States offers plenty of destinations that have enough space to social distance while pursuing adventure. Here are three remote National Parks you can visit safely during COVID-19.
North Cascades National Park, Minnesota
The widely-popular Rocky Mountains host more than four million visitors a year. In comparison, North Cascades National Park receives 30,000 annual visitors, making it the perfect place for peace and calm. During the summer, temperatures can range (on average) from the low-70’s to the mid-90’s. In winter, heavy snow falls, blanketing the mountain tops and dropping the average temperature to the low teens. This Minnesota national park provides rare views of more than 300 glaciers, ranking it as the second most glaciated location in the US, only topped by Alaska.
On your visit, you can explore the 684,000 acres of backcountry by hiking, camping, boating, or fishing. The scenic North Cascades Highway offers several spots to pull off and check out the breathtaking panoramic views. To ensure safety, the park has closed certain campgrounds, boat ramps, and its indoor visitor center. But most attractions remain open to the public, sans entry fee.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
Give quarantine a whole new meaning by hiding yourself in this pleasantly remote southwestern national park. Black Canyon surrounds the Gunnison River in Montrose, Colorado, where the mountains are high and the air is crisp. Embark on a mountainous getaway where you can marvel at the steepest of canyons and challenge your skills with the park’s rugged terrain. Experienced adventurers will have a blast trekking through the picturesque inner canyons of this vast park, while families of all ages can partake in trout fishing, animal sightings and astronomical wonders. You can also view the breathtaking sights by car, using any of the three scenic drives. To accommodate the newest coronavirus guidelines, rangers have moved their information desks outdoors where they now greet visitors and issue park permits. Admission starts as low as $15 per pedestrian (or bike), or you can take advantage of Black Canyon’s annual pass for $45.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Secluded and obscure, this little known national park is a hidden gem. Nevada’s Great Basin National Park will make you feel like you are on an island all your own. The silence is serene, time moves a bit slower, and the solitude is refreshing. Besides the natural light and clean air, the main attraction here is the bristlecone groves and ancient trees that have been around for thousands of years. If you love being outdoors and want to escape the threat of the current pandemic, you’ve arrived at the ideal location. Great Basin National Park claims “one of the last true dark skies in America”, and offers caves tours, and five developed campgrounds. Visitors can rest assured that the park is prioritizing safety by adhering to Nevada’s phased reopening plan.
Planning a weekend escape to free your mind of life’s current realities can provide a much needed mental reset. The great outdoors, combined with some care-free fun, can provide a timely reminder of a world that is still filled with joy and adventure. Check out these three remote national parks to find a low-risk destination to explore with your family