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Contact: Canyonlands Information Line, (435) 719-2313
Contact: Arches Information Line, (435) 719-2299
MOAB, UT – Over 1.8 million visitors recreated in the national parks of Southeast Utah last year. While 2020’s annual visitation totals were lower than 2019’s, three of the four parks set new visitation records for the months of October, November, and December.
Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments temporarily closed to visitation for part of Spring 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Campgrounds did not resume full operation until June. These temporary closures, combined with a generally observed decrease in air travel, resulted in reduced annual visitation totals at all four parks:
|Park||2019 Visitation||2020 Visitation|
|Arches National Park||1,659,702||1,238,083|
|Canyonlands National Park||733,996||493,914|
|Hovenweep National Monument||35,399||19,856|
|Natural Bridges National Monument||88,090||52,542|
Despite the slow spring, mid-summer visitation sharply climbed back up as over one and half million people sought refuge from the pandemic in Southeast Utah’s red rock trails, overlooks, and open spaces. By fall, visitation started breaking new records: at Canyonlands National Park, recreational visits spiked 30% up in October, 67% up for November, and 76% higher in December 2020 compared to the same months of 2019. Arches National Park and Natural Bridges National Monument experienced similar busy trends last autumn.
“This past year has reminded us how important national parks and public lands are to overall wellbeing,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “Throughout the country, national parks provided close-to-home opportunities for people to spend much needed time outdoors for their physical and psychological health.”
Southeast Utah Group parks are now gearing up for spring and anticipating busy days ahead. To protect the health of those who live in, work in, and visit America’s national parks, face masks are now required in all NPS buildings and facilities. Masks are also required outdoors on federally managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, parking lots, and campground common areas. Additional public health measures remain in effect, and visitors should check each park’s website for details on operations before visiting:
- Alerts & Conditions - Canyonlands National Park
- Alerts & Conditions - Arches National Park
- Alerts & Conditions - Hovenweep National Monument
- Alerts & Conditions – Natural Bridges National Monument
For a closer look at national park visitation summaries and detailed statistics for individual parks, visit the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics website. You can also find visitation charts and graphics on the NPS Social Science web page.
Last updated: March 4, 2021