Memorial Day Travel?
Posted in: Outdoor adventures, Travel on May 18, 2020.
Memorial Day in 2020
Things are looking up here in Southern Utah. And things are getting back to normal. We’ve been lucky that the recent outbreak of coronavirus has had a minimal impact of us. Some Utah residents and out-of-state visitors are thinking about Memorial Day – which is just a week away – and they’re wondering if any kind of travel is possible. So let’s do a quick recap of what’s open in Southern Utah, where you might want to go, and how you can stay safe and protect others during this time. (Also, this might go without saying, but yes, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch are open right now. Just in case you were wondering.)
We recently updated the list of which national parks are open. You can see the details here. But here’s the quick version:
- Arches and Canyonlands are closed for Memorial Day. They will begin phased reopening on the 29th.
- Bryce Canyon has almost entirely reopened at this point.
- Some areas of Captiol Reef are accessible for day use.
- And Zion also has certain sections and trails that are open.
So you can hang out in some of the national parks. Which is great! But there are also a couple of other cool spots in Southern Utah that you might want to check out. These are either completely open, or mostly open right now:
- Cedar Breaks National Monument. It’s like a mini Bryce Canyon! Located at the top of Cedar Canyon, this area of hoodoos has some great trails. And it’s mostly unvisited.
- Hovenweep National Monument is the place to go if you’re into Native American archeological history. It’s located near the Colorado border.
- Natural Bridges National Monument has some amazing geological wonders, some cool history, and some great trails.
- Goblin Valley State Park. More hoodoos to play with! This park is very popular, with good reason, so grab your day passes here and now.
- Dead Horse Point State Park is one of our favorite state parks. It’s basically like Canyonlands National Park, or even the Grand Canyon, but with fewer people. It’s also just about the only place near Moab that’s open right now.
A Quick Road Trip Suggestion
Here’s a thought for an awesome weekend trip. Drive down to Southern Utah on Thursday or Friday. Play around in Goblin Valley. Take the dive to Natural Bridges, hike around have a blast. Then on your way back do the Burr Trail in Capitol Reef’s Waterpocket Fold. And home again on Monday evening!
Travel Precautions You Should Take
First things first. If you, or your family, or any member of your traveling party is feeling unwell, it’s best to delay any travel plans. You don’t want to get super-sick on the road, and you don’t want to spread any infection to anyone else. So if you’re exhibiting symptoms – fever, coughing, shortness of breath, or anything on the official CDC list – please stay home and get well soon.
But, assuming that you and your family are all feeling healthy, there are still a couple of other common-sense practices that can help keep everyone safe. You’ve probably seen this before, but just in case, here’s a quick list of dos and don’ts:
- Travel with groups of 10 or less and stay 6 feet apart from other people. Do not crowd together.
- If a particular trailhead is full, find another trail to hike. Some of the parks have capacity limitations for certain areas. Please respect these and don’t try to sneak in.
- If a location asks for you to wear a mask, please be respectful and wear a mask. Some grocery stores in Southern Utah have adopted this policy.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or do so into your elbow. Dispose of the tissue and wash your hands again.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Have a Good One!
However you spend this Memorial Day, on the road or at home, we hope you’re able to have a great day and to be in touch with those who matter most to you. And don’t worry if you can’t make it to Southern Utah this year, the national parks will still be here when this is all over.