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Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

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Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

Hello travelers,

If you are worried about the impact of the US Government shutdown on your National Parks vacation, then please read this thread, as well as the thread titled "Possible Government shut down of Grand Canyon Park soon????", which is also a "sticky" at the top of the Arizona forum. Please do NOT post a new thread related to the shutdown or parks closure, if at all possible.

You may certainly add your comments to these two threads and ask more questions; we're simply trying to keep the number of individual Grand Canyon/NP closure threads to a minimum, and the relevant information all in one place. Thanks for your help!

In addition, we on the Arizona forum are very sorry if the government shutdown has affected you, and we do hope that everyone still has a great vacation, regardless! If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know.

Walnut Canyon National Monument
Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Canyons, National Parks
Wupatki National Monument
Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, National Parks, Volcanoes
Petrified Forest National Park
Deserts, National Parks, Parks
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
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1. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

I have tried to C&P (from various other threads) all of the relevant information to the gov't shutdown, including links, suggestions of alternate itineraries, and things to do. (And for the sake of my sanity, I haven't included the names of everyone who wrote each post. Hope that's ok!)

If anyone wants to add something or ask a question, please feel free to do so!

REGARDING THE GRAND CANYON ITSELF:

Q: Are any National Parks open?

A: No, they are all closed:

doi.gov/shutdown/fy2014/upload/NPS-FAQ.pdf

Q: Are roads through the National Parks open?

A: While the national parks are closed, roads that serve as thruways (such as state highways) will remain open. All other NP roads will be closed.

The South Rim Visitor's area is officially "closed" but AZ-64 that goes through it, connecting Tusayan and Cameron, is open. The turnoffs to the viewpoints will be blocked and I would also assume that the roadside parking lots will also be blocked off but, even so, there are several spots where you can see into the Canyon from the edge of the road. If you were to drive through the park, you would be able to get a few glimpses of the Canyon.

Interestingly, as I drove north today I made a point to turn off on 64. Within 100 yards or less there was a sign that said 64 was open but the Grand Canyon was closed. I didn't drive any further because I thought they meant that 64 was open for the locals up to the park. But no further. Now I wish I had driven further.

A primary function of park employees is to make sure people do not over run the back country. Without staff, they rely on ticketing cars that stop. Just keep driving and you'll be okay. Park at a trail head, and you might end up with an expensive hike.

Re: RESERVATIONS WITHIN THE GCNP:

Xanterra is the concessionaire that manages the lodges. They do have a statement on their main website which effectively says that there's little they can do except to do what they're told to do by the Park Service. It also says they will make notifications via email. If you received a confirmation from them by email, that's where I would expect any further notifications.

Xanterra WILL provide everyone with a refund of their deposit, according to their website.

Q: What if I have a backpacking permit for mid-October, and the GC re-opens? Will my permit still be valid?

A: According to the emails some people have received, the answer is yes:

Due to a Congressional impasse on the 2014 government appropriations bill, the federal government has shut down all non-essential services. As a result Grand Canyon National Park, like all national parks, is closed to visitors at this time and most of us are on furlough. Activities that start on dates after the shutdown begins, including those for which a permit has been issued, will not be allowed. This includes backpacking trips. It is currently unknown what the process will be concerning permit fees and deposits. When the park re-opens backpacking trips will resume as scheduled. Please contact us at that time for assistance.

Sincerely,

Ranger SULLIVAN

Permits Program Manager

Re: RAFTING:

NPS did announce that Lee's Ferry will close as of noon today and there would be no launches after that, commercial or private.

ALTERNATE GC PLANS:

To all who have GC plans and are uncertain at the moment, my advice is to keep your GC reservations for now, but have a contingency plan in place, including hotel options - or at least start thinking about other plans. As mentioned, there are alternatives (maybe not as "grand" as the GC, of course), but there are still lots of things to do and see in Northern Arizona.

This is also a good thread to read:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143028-i157-k6858…

Another option would be able to book a helicopter flight from Tusayan. These are commercial tours that fly over the Canyon and they're operating. Check Papillon and Maverick for tours.

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2. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

ALTERNATE TOWNS NOT TOO FAR FROM THE GC:

Page, AZ – definitely visit Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, where you CAN see part of the Grand Canyon!

Williams, AZ

Flagstaff, AZ

Sedona, AZ

And a bit further are:

Winslow, AZ

Jerome, AZ

Prescott, AZ

ALTERNATE STATE PARKS

arizonaguide.com/places-to-visit/arizona-sta…

http://azstateparks.com/

http://parks.nv.gov/

http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/

Another suggestion for the adventure hounds out there. I noticed in the contingency plan that they're going to continue allowing commercial concessions on BLM lands, as long as BLM facilities/personnel aren't needed. So I gave Zion Adventures in Springdale a call and they confirmed that their canyoneering tours are still running. These take place outside of Zion. So, here's your chance to rappel down a slot canyon!

zionadventures.com/zion-park-tours/…

Valley of Fire State Park:

parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/

Kodachrome Basin State Park (has camping and big Grosvenor Arch several miles away by car and mud road) next to Bryce,

Angel's Landing trail in Zion not to be missed, sorry, just a bad luck if it's closed. I'd try to sneak in anyway, just longer walk/hike.

ALTERNATE NATIVE AMERICAN DESTINATIONS

http://navajonationparks.org/

Antelope Canyon

Monument Valley

Canyon de Chelly (Yes, this is a Nat’l Monument, but it’s also on Native American land, not Federal land, and so it’s still open.)

http://canyondechellytours.com/

Havasupai Reservation, including Havasu Falls (Note that this requires advance planning and a strenuous 10 mile hike in. Please see the Top Questions on the Grand Canyon forum for more info.)

Grand Canyon West (not usually recommended, but may be an option. See the Top Questions on the GC forum for more info).

ALTERNATE DESTINATIONS CLOSER TO LAS VEGAS:

Grand Canyon West (not usually recommended, but may be an option. See the Top Questions on the GC forum for more info).

Red Rock Canyon

Valley of Fire State Park:

parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/

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3. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

ALTERNATE CAMPING AREAS:

There are lots of camping options available in Arizona, so if you had reservations to camp at the bottom of the Canyon, consider these areas in Northern Arizona. Do be aware of the weather, though, as Northern AZ will be colder this time of year than the bottom of the GC. Sedona and Camp Verde are good options. Try www.reserveamerica.com to book a campsite.

For example, here's a list of Oak Creek Canyon campgrounds and other sites near Sedona for anyone needing alternatives; some of the individual sites are first come, first served, in case you aren't able to reserve in advance:

http://www.reserveamerica.com/unifSearch.do;jsessionid=38BFFF2EF6CDE424CD747BE2C028263F.web10-ny

As of right now, you can still reserve a camping site using the website www.reserveamerica.com, and the camps are still open. Also, do be aware that Pine Flat and Cave Spring campgrounds will be colder at night than Manzanita, due to their higher elevation up in Oak Creek Canyon.

There’s also Fort Tuthill just outside of Flagstaff; again, be aware of the colder nighttime temperatures, but it’s also a beautiful place to camp.

There is a nice campground near Winslow AZ at Homolovi State Park, where you can see a number of ancient Hopi sites. Plus close to the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow. You can enjoy the desert from there~! Also the Hopi Mesas will be open, check with http://www.hopiculturalcenter.com/

OTHER INFO AND SUGGESTIONS:

I drove through Page today (Oct 1). Virtually everything was open there. The only place we couldn't get to was Wahweep Overlook. Now I'm in Kanab. The town is BOOMING, albeit with many unhappy tourists who had planned to be in Zion tonight. I expect that Sedona is experiencing a similar boom from those who are unable to enjoy the GCNP as planned. Flagstaff is probably bustling too. Now is a perfect time to go and do those RT66 stops that I often discourage in favor of the GCNP. Visit Winslow. Know that all of the Native American parks and historic monuments and attractions are open for business. These include Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Antelope Canyons, Havasu and yes, even a place that I always discourage, grandcanyonwest and the rip off sky walk.

My point is that there are plenty of options, in northern AZ as well as UT. Call and book reservations in Jerome and Prescott and Wickenburg. Head up to the White Mountains.

I expect that the plans we have at Escalante this week will only be impacted in a minor way as BLM lands are all reported to be open and accessible.

There’s also plenty to see and do in Southern Arizona and the White Mountains and in Eastern Arizona: Tucson, Tombstone, Bisbee, Mt. Lemmon, Kartchner Caverns, Payson, Pinetop, Show Low, etc.

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4. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

There are also many other cities and towns around Arizona that are great to visit. If anyone has any questions on alternate destinations, please feel free to ask. Happy travels!

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5. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

Oops, I missed adding a bit of info in the "state parks" section, so I'll just copy it here:

The road thru Sunset Crater and Wupatki national monuments is open. All of the restrooms, trails and viewpoints at national parks and monuments are CLOSED.

Utah 24 runs through Capitol Reef, so that should still be open. Just saw that the road through Zion is open, but that long vehicles or RV's won't be allowed to use it because they can't access the tunnel without the escort.

And from Esty, a recent compilation:

Options you have in Arizona and southern Utah (or elsewhere of course) are myriad very attractive state parks and parks on tribal land. Around Page that would be Antelope Canyon, then there's Monument Valley, or Canyon de Chelly, to name just a few. the latter two absolutely top notch destinations. There are many notable State parks along UT SR 12, Goblin, Kodachrome, etc, and outside Moab there's the Dead Horse Point SP, which gives you the same views Canyonlands, its next door big neighbor, as well as many trails Outside Phoenix there's the Lost Dutchman State Park which leads you along or into the Superstitions , etc ... there's no dearth of possibilities: there are myriad options, and of course, as stated above, some of the parks have 'normal' highways running across them (Zion, Capitol Reef).

Thanks to everyone who contributed info!

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6. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

Hummingbird, thank you SO MUCH for consolidating all this information!

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7. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

Bump

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8. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

Anywhere between Payson and Pinetop/Lakeside and beyond would make great alternatives. Are the Chiricahuas state or national? For water sports look at Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City.

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9. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

AZ64 will be closed starting 10/2. From ADOT website:

State Route 64 : Closures

Description closed

Location On State Route 64, EW-bound from mile post 241.73, at GRAND CANYON to mile post 268.0, 0.60 miles West of Desert View

Duration from Wed, 2 Oct 2013 2:38 PM Until Further Notice

Public Notes Grand Canyon Park Closed until further notice. SR-64 to Tusayan is opened.

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10. Re: Worried about Nat' Park closures? Please READ this FIRST!

>> AZ64 will be closed starting 10/2.

UGH... I'm so bummed to hear this