The Grand Canyon’s east entrance is open again — What you need to know before you visit

Apr 9, 2021

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The east entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is open again after being closed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The eastern entry point along with the scenic State Route 64 opened again to visitors on Thursday.

It had been closed due to pandemic restrictions by the Navajo Nation to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The decision to reopen the east gate was made after consulting with tribal leaders and other local officials who determined it was safe.

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“Over the past year, we have continued to coordinate with local Cameron Chapter and tribal officials from the Navajo Nation, as well as other stakeholders and business leaders on the east gate closure,” Park Superintendent Ed Keable said in a statement. “As vaccine rollouts continue, we recognize the need to normalize our operations and allow for visitors to have a drive-through option on Highway 64.”

If you’re planning to make a visit, be aware that some COVID-related restrictions remain in place at Desert View. Perhaps the most notable is the fact that the iconic Desert View Watchtower remains closed. You can still take in the breathtaking sight from the Navajo Point

(Photo by John Elk/Getty Images)

Related: The best times to visit The Grand Canyon

The 22-mile drive along SR 64, the “Desert View Drive,” provides a number of stunning vistas, including Duck on a Rock and Grandview Point. Parking is available at each viewpoint. However, no services — including food, gas, and the campground site — will be available at Desert View until further notice, due to lack of staffing. The closest place to find such services is about 30 miles away in Cameron.

Also, if you go, don’t forget your credit cards. No cash is being accepted for entry at the moment, but you can use the Your Pass Now and America the Beautiful passes. The South Rim section in Grand Canyon Village does have more available service options. You can learn more on the official Grand Canyon website.

Featured photo by Greg Meland/Getty Images.

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