News Release

Capitol Reef National Park to increase recreational access to the North and South Districts

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Date: May 2, 2020
Contact: Sue Fritzke, 435-425-4100

Torrey, UT – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Capitol Reef National Park is increasing recreational access. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning May 5, 2020, Capitol Reef National Park (NP) will reopen access to:

  • Day use in the South District (Waterpocket Fold), and overnight stays in Cedar Mesa campground.
  • Day use in the North District (Cathedral Valley) and overnight stays in Cathedral Valley campground.
  • Non-trailhead Pullouts along Highway 24 for scenic viewing.

With public health in mind, the following facilities and areas remain closed:

  • Scenic Drive, and all trailheads, trails, and canyoneering routes accessed from Highway 24 and Scenic Drive.
  • Overnight use other than at Cedar Mesa and Cathedral Valley campgrounds.
  • The visitor center, Gifford House, and Fruita campground.

“We are pleased to begin reopening the park to our communities and visitors, and hope this helps our local businesses re-open their operations with assurance that the park is moving towards phased re-opening access. We appreciate the coordination with county representatives, the Central Utah Public Health Department, and the state of Utah in developing our resumption of operations steps. We look forward to seeing you in the broad expanses of the northern and southern portions of this spectacular park” said Sue Fritzke, Superintendent.

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Capitol Reef National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and opened operations will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.


The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and we will take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.   


Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on





About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.

Last updated: May 8, 2020

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HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775


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