National parks update

  • Tom Dell
  • December 17, 2015
  • Planning to visit a national park in late December?  Here’s an update on selected parks in the United States.  Be sure to get the latest conditions from your chosen park’s web site before leaving home.

    Western U.S.

    Death Valley

    • Scotty’s Castle remains closed indefinitely following a flash flood that occurred in October.


    • Mariposa Grove will be closed until 2017
    • The Tioga and Glacier Point roads are closed for the season
    • Expect park lodging to be full during the holiday week

    Sequoia and Kings Canyon

    • The parks’ web site has links showing the latest road conditions. Go to and click on “Current Conditions.”
    • SR 180 is closed 6 miles east of Grant Grove; this is a normal seasonal closure

    Joshua Tree

    • Campgrounds are expected to be full on weekends and during the holiday week.

    Grand Canyon

    • Snow is expected. Check the park’s web site for current conditions –
    • The Hermit Road west of the village is open to private vehicles until early spring
    • Exoect heavy visitation during the holiday week.

    Utah parks

    All five Utah national parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches) are open.  Most currently have snow on the ground, and more is expected in late December.  The Utah Department of Transportation has an excellent web site showing statewide road conditions:   Go to and click on “Road Conditions.”


    • The Zion Canyon shuttle’s season has ended, meaning you can drive your own vehicle on the scenic drive.

    Bryce Canyon

    • Some trails are closed due to dangerous conditions.
    • The park’s scenic drive may be closed beyond the turnoff to Bryce Point and Paria View.

    Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef  — no alerts in effect

    Rest of United States

    Great Smoky Mountains

    • The Newfound Gap road may close at night due to icy road conditions

    No other parks have alerts in effect.


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