As most people are well aware at this point, the vast majority of the parks within the national park system are closed due to the government shutdown. A few states have worked with the government and they have decided to reopened a few parks with state funds. It’s important to note that just because a state has decided to reopen some parks within their state, that doesn’t mean that all of the national parks sites within their state are open. The number of sites open is still only a small percentage of the 401 sites that make up the national park system. Below is the current list of sites that are currently open, along with the dates that they are scheduled to remain open:
Grand Canyon National Park (currently scheduled to be open from October 12 to 18)
Rocky Mountain National Park (currently scheduled to be open from October 11 to 20)
Statue of Liberty National Monument (currently scheduled to be open from October 12 to 18)
North Carolina / Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (currently scheduled to be open from October 16 to 20)
Mount Rushmore National Memorial (currently scheduled to be open from October 14 to 23)
All Utah parks are currently scheduled to be open from October 11 – 20
Arches National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Natural Bridges National Monument
Zion National Park
If you decide to drive the full length of the road within Bryce Canyon National Park (which you most definitely should do) you will ultimately end up at 9115 feet above sea level at Rainbow Point. Rainbow Point is the focal area of the parking area, but be sure not to miss Yovimpa Point which is to the right of the parking lot when you first enter.
Even on a clear day in winter, Rainbow Point can be quite cold due to the elevation, and especially if the wind happens to be blowing that day, so be sure to dress warm. The overlook gives a wonderful view of Bryce canyon from the far end and makes the drive out there well worthwhile. Here are a few photos I took on a recent trip out there:
Yovimpa Point is an overlook at Bryce Canyon National Park that visitors often miss. Most people take the 15 mile road within Bryce Canyon to the end and see the signs for Rainbow Point. They immediately head straight for Rainbow Point as this is the main focal of the parking area.
There is, however, a short path that begins on the right side as you first enter the parking area (the reason that so many people miss it) which leads to Yovimpa Point. The walk is short on a paved path, so it is definitely worth making the effort to see it since you are already in the area. Yovimpa Point gives a view of Bryce Canyon on the opposite side from most of the other canyon overlooks. Here are a few photos from my recent trip there:
I am a firm believer that technology has an important role to play in our National Parks. While the parks themselves may be wild and rugged, technology can certainly solve some of the issues that occur when people want to visit these off the beaten track destinations.
One of the things that I love about traveling to National Parks is when I find a simple technological concept in use that makes perfect sense. On a recent trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, I noticed that all the trash cans weren’t simply regular garbage cans, but solar powered trash compactor cans:
It’s such a simple idea that makes a whole lot of sense. The compactor means that the trash can doesn’t need to be emptied as often (freeing up extra time for park staff to do other things), there is no additional electricity being used (since they are solar) and they keep the park cleaner (since it is an enclosed system, birds and other wildlife can’t get into the trash can). I hope that I end up seeing more of these, and other similar simple concepts that make sense, in other National Parks I visit.