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CajunAlum Tiger Fan
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Road trip - western US under these conditions?
We are looking into flying out West (SLC probably because flights are cheap) and taking a 2 week road trip bouncing around National Parks, grand canyon, etc. in mid July.

Question for the board: Is it still worthwhile under these conditions? The governor of Arizona is shutting everything down and the mask issue is getting absurd in several states, but will it really affect the great outdoors?

Opinions?


baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
12383 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
quote:


Question for the board: Is it still worthwhile under these conditions? The governor of Arizona is shutting everything down and the mask issue is getting absurd in several states, but will it really affect the great outdoors?

Opinions?


Its definitely going to effect the National Parks. First off, I think a lot of people have this same idea. Do you have lodging lined up? I wouldn't wing your lodging, many places out west it can be 60 miles until the next hotel.

Would I do it if I could? Absolutely, just be flexible and not locked into a plan. There's a lot of places such as small towns that rely on tourism dollars and they are not going to be shut down if they can help it. There's no other means for them to make money.

Look into Wilderness areas for example, they will most likely still be open and there's over 100 million acres to explore. It won't be the same as the National Parks, but you can get out and explore.

For example Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, there's the NP and then there's a lot more to do outside of them.


speckledawg
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2313 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
Flew into SLC and have been in Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone the last few days and it's been great. There's some mask and occupancy rules in place, but not a big deal at most stops. It is a bit weird seeing some people hiking alone and wearing a mask, but doesn't make a difference to me.


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CajunAlum Tiger Fan
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The Great State of Louisiana
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re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
quote:

Its definitely going to effect the National Parks. First off, I think a lot of people have this same idea. Do you have lodging lined up? I wouldn't wing your lodging, many places out west it can be 60 miles until the next hotel.

Would I do it if I could? Absolutely, just be flexible and not locked into a plan. There's a lot of places such as small towns that rely on tourism dollars and they are not going to be shut down if they can help it. There's no other means for them to make money.


That's what we are thinking. We are pretty flexible and don't really care about accommodations in the parks specifically. We can always find a place to crash in each area. As long as the parks and areas are open to visitors, I think we can have a good time. We did this 5 years ago - CO/UT/WY/SD and it was a great trip, so we'd like to go a little more SW this time around.


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kingbob
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Member since Nov 2010
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re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
A lot of parks are closed fully or partially. You may not be allowed in to Yosemite or Yellowstone without a reservation. I know for a fact that Glacier is closed. Travel is tough right now with so much not open.


8thyearsenior
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re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
quote:

I know for a fact that Glacier is closed


East entrances are closed so no car access to Many Glacier and Two Medicine, rest of the park is open.


JonTheTigerFan
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re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
We are at Yosemite this week. They aren’t operating at max capacity. Lots of facilities are closed and California mandates masks in public. Some places everyone has a mask on but some places the people seem like they couldn’t care less and nobody is wearing one. Had to go online and get a reservation but we did that over a month ago. Not sure they would have any right now being a holiday week.


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canyon critter
Montana
Member since Feb 2019
676 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
quote:

East entrances are closed so no car access to Many Glacier and Two Medicine, rest of the park is open.


Cut Bank and St Mary are also closed. Road should open to Logan Pass from West next week, but the furthest they’re going to have the road open is most likely Rising Sun.


iwantacooler
Member since Aug 2017
480 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
Utah mighty five, sand dunes, black canyon, and Mesa verde were all open last week. Some services are limited such as visitor centers closed, but there are rangers at each one outside the center to answer questions. Gift shops open at each one. Zion has the shuttles up and running now, but you can’t just show up. They’ve removed a lot of seats on them and you must get a ticket ahead of time. Most restaurants in the park are take out only, but a couple could sit inside and eat. Most everywhere we stopped in Utah had very little restrictions as far as masks and dining in go, Colorado was more strict.
We had no issues finding hotels anywhere we went and most had lowered their prices. We booked our lodging inside the parks ahead of time since they are always hard to get, but often times would book a room at a hotel 10 minutes before we pulled in the parking lot. I agree that normally this wouldn’t be the best strategy for Moab, Springdale, and Bryce, but I researched before we left and saw how occupancy was down and that rooms would not be an issue. This may have changed since last week so do your research before you go. Attendance at the parks were low and there was no lines to get in any of them, no issue finding parking in them (except Zion which is always a problem I understand), and all of the rangers I talked to mentioned how attendance was down.
Again, all of this was a week ago but with cases on the rise this could change by the time you go.
This post was edited on 6/30 at 11:37 am


CajunAlum Tiger Fan
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re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
quote:

iwantacooler


Thanks!


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TimeOutdoors
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re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
Honestly, if it was me, instead of exploring multiple areas, I would just plan a long backpacking trip through one area and really explore it. Pretty easy to find packages online but these are pretty good, but pretty expensive. Nat Geo Expeditions
This post was edited on 6/30 at 1:59 pm


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Lima Whiskey
Virginia Fan
Member since Apr 2013
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re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
Don’t engage in uninformed speculation and pass it off as fact.

Especially right now. It’s irresponsible.

quote:

Yellowstone without a reservation. I know for a fact that Glacier is closed.


There is no such thing as reservation for entering Yellowstone.

The park is either open or closed. And it’s open.

Glacier is open, but the Tribes have blocked access to the eastern half of the park. Largely because they can, and they’re using the virus as an excuse to be jerks.
This post was edited on 6/30 at 12:56 pm


kingbob
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Sorrento, LA
Member since Nov 2010
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re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
I went on the Yosemite site 2 weeks ago and it said you had to have a reservation for lodging to be allowed in.


Bunsbert Montcroff
Arizona Fan
Phoenix AZ
Member since Jan 2008
5008 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
the south rim of the grand canyon is open, but things like visitor centers and museums are closed. i think the shuttle busses are still offline too. el tovar (the hotel at the south rim) is open but i don't know if reservations will be available. pretty sure that the trails are still open too.

the north rim is only open for day use, meaning you can't stay overnight. this isn't because of covid but because of a huge fire that was just contained.

that said, you aren't required to wear a mask on the trails or while out exercising in arizona. and if you're not planning on visiting a bar or gym or water park in arizona you should be okay.

best of luck. we are leaving arizona in mid july and hoping that idaho lets us in


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Lima Whiskey
Virginia Fan
Member since Apr 2013
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re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
quote:

I went on the Yosemite site 2 weeks ago and it said you had to have a reservation for lodging to be allowed in.



Yellowstone simply has the standard entry fee. There is some lodging inside, but it’s reduced due to staffing shortages.

Most visitors are staying outside the park, in one of the gateway communities.


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baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
12383 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
quote:

all of the rangers I talked to mentioned how attendance was down.


You know, I never considered the lack of Asians' visitors' and other foreigners. I would assume most national parks would have an increased amount of Americans? If not, that would be very suprising to me? Are Californians in general still too scared to travel?

There's not a lot of vacation options right now, I'd be curious to know any other reasons the attendance is down?


iwantacooler
Member since Aug 2017
480 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
I don’t recall seeing a single Asian that I pegged as not being Asian american. Usually they are everywhere and are very noticeable. I did see a lot of California license plates, but some of those may have been rentals. Most license plates were fairly local (CA, NM, UT, CO).


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jkylejohnson
LSU Fan
Alexandria
Member since Dec 2016
5260 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
Me and Mrs jkyle are heading to Washington state on the 10th of July to make our rounds at the national parks (Olympic, Rainier, n Cascades). Gonna also spend a couple days on orcas island off the coast. From what I've been told everything is open. I know they have mandated masks (indoors/outdoors) and there will be some restrictions but I'm not sweating it too much. We have white water rafting booked near darrington, wa on the Sauk river and they are still open.


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Crow Pie
New Orleans Saints Fan
Nuero ICU - Tulane Medical Center
Member since Feb 2010
20604 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
quote:

Cut Bank and St Mary are also closed. Road should open to Logan Pass from West next week, but the furthest they’re going to have the road open is most likely Rising Sun.
I made reservations for a St Mary tiny house last week for August (before the Blackfeet announced the closing of the roads in the East) but I have not heard from the park about cancellations yet . I was/am hoping they open the road and I can get there from the west...


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Mit Knoblauch
Texas A&M Fan
Hollywood, Kalifornia
Member since Jun 2020
8 posts

re: Road trip - western US under these conditions?
quote:

Are Californians in general still too scared to travel?
I work for a Bay Area company and YES, many of the folks in the Bay are all-in on the Rona.

A lot of folks from SoCal are slipping out and sneaking over to Vegas, etc.

Two weeks ago, I drove through SD, WY, UT, NV, CA.
Hotels are available for cheap and gas prices are pretty low.

Finding a place to stop and use the bathroom was difficult. So, look for truck stops if you want to be certain you can use the can.


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