You're going to need a face mask if you're visiting one of these National Parks

Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone
The recent spike in Covid cases has a number of National Parks reinstating their mask mandates for visitors (Image credit: Westend61)

The pandemic has changed the way we live – and travel – with more people than ever heading into the great outdoors where the crowds are thin and the air is fresh. Family gatherings have moved from community centers out into parks and family vacations are increasingly taking place in National Parks rather than theme parks. 

If you’re one of the lucky millions of people heading to a National Park this summer, you might have been thinking more about how many T-shirts to pack and whether you need hiking boots or trail running shoes than bringing a face mask. After all, unless you’re staying at a lodge, you’re going to be eating, sleeping and recreating outdoors most of the time, only venturing indoors for the odd gift shop purchase or public restroom stop. But with the Omicron strain behind the rise in Covid cases and reinfections this summer, several of the most popular National Parks have reinstated their mask mandates when you’re indoors. 

Half Dome in Yosemite with wildflowers in the foreground

Several of the most popular National Parks have reinstated their mask mandates when you’re indoors (Image credit: Ezra Shaw / Staff)

If you’re visiting any of the following National Parks this summer, be sure to pack a face mask for everyone in your party as you’ll have to wear it any time you’re indoors or on public transportation, regardless of your vaccination status:

Mask mandates do vary from park to park, so be sure to check the regulations where you’re going ahead of time, or ask a friendly park ranger at the entrance gate. 

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.