Last updated May 2021

Preparing to visit

What does Parks Canada recommend visitors do before visiting?

Visitors should always plan ahead by checking the Parks Canada website before they travel. The website provides detailed information on what locations are open, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit, and what services will be available.

While access and services at some national historic sites and national parks may remain suspended in 2021, most places will be open and welcoming visitors with adjustments to access and services. Please note that changes to services or even closures may happen quickly as the situation with Covid-19 changes. Visitors should always confirm if the place you plan to visit is open before you travel.

Parks Canada recommends downloading or printing maps and other visitor information ahead of time and purchasing a Parks Canada Discovery Pass online.

It is important that visitors treat the places they visit respectfully by removing their garbage and following the direction of Parks Canada staff. Visitors must also keep in mind that weather or other conditions can change quickly in outdoor settings. It is important to choose activities conservatively and stay within the bounds of personal knowledge and limitations.

What is the best way to avoid crowds at Parks Canada administered places?

Parks Canada administered places are found near hundreds of communities across the country. Parks Canada suggests staying close to home and exploring national historic sites, parks and marine conservation areas that are in or near your community.

Parks Canada always recommends checking out our “Hidden gems.” These are lesser-known or less crowded Parks Canada favourites where visitors can have some incredible experiences.

We also recommend planning your visit during less busy times – weekdays tend to be less busy than weekends. If you can travel in the spring and fall, the shoulder seasons are good options for smaller crowds and great weather.

Does Parks Canada have any recommendations about what visitors should bring?

Visitors should be prepared to be self-sufficient when they visit and pack a kit that includes extra hygiene supplies such as hand sanitizer, soap, masks or face coverings, garbage bags and a tablecloth. Visitors should be prepared to bring their own water and food.

Also, visitors should remember that local services in many communities will depend on provincial or territorial restrictions implemented by the local health authority. Services may continue to remain limited in 2021 depending on local realities.

Services and Access

Will all of the day use visitor facilities at all Parks Canada administered places be open in 2021?

Parks Canada operates a wide variety of federal protected places across Canada.

Parks Canada continues to adapt to the COVID-19 situation and visitor access and services may continue to be limited at certain locations in 2021. There may be different measures in place for limiting the spread of COVID-19 in different jurisdictions. This means that visitor access and services may vary across the country.

Visitors are asked to plan ahead by checking the website before they travel.

Will trails at Parks Canada administered places open?

Visitors should be aware that access to trails, day-use areas, and green spaces may be limited. Some trails may be limited to one-way traffic.

Some trails at Parks Canada locations may remain closed for public safety, for the protection of ecological or cultural resources, because of human-wildlife interaction concerns, or limited search and rescue capacity.

Will there be any restrictions or partial closures at national historic sites?

Some national historic sites may have closed areas, rooms or buildings for health and public safety reasons. In areas where physical distancing and enhanced hygiene measures cannot be ensured, areas, buildings or rooms may remain closed.

The Parks Canada website provides detailed information on what locations are open, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit and what services may be available.

Camping and roofed accommodations

Will Parks Canada open all campgrounds in all national parks in 2021?

Parks Canada is following the advice of public health experts and is implementing measures to support Canada’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Parks Canada will be applying public health authority guidance which will determine what is offered.

Please visit the Parks Canada website for a complete list of national parks where there will be camping and what health and safety measures will be in place. It is recommended visitors make a reservation in advance.

Will roofed accommodations such as oTENTiks, yurts and rustic cabins open in 2021?

Some roofed accommodations such as yurts and oTENTiks will open this year; however, visitors should confirm before they leave home. It is recommended visitors make a reservation in advance.

The Parks Canada website provides detailed information on what locations are open, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit and what services may be available.

Will all facilities such as showers, washrooms, communal kitchen shelters and playgrounds be open?

Access to communal kitchen shelters will differ from place to place based on resources available to maintain and clean these facilities. The Parks Canada website provides detailed information on what locations are open, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit and what services may be available.

Campers should come prepared with their own cooking equipment and cleaning supplies. Visitors should be prepared to be self-sufficient when they visit and pack extra hygiene supplies.

If a self-isolation period is required for people entering a province/territory, will visitors be able to quarantine or self-isolate at a Parks Canada location?

Visitors must follow local and provincial or territorial travel restrictions, including provincial/territorial requirements for self-isolation. Visitors to Parks Canada administered places must be aware of any travel restrictions or requirements and plan well in advance.

Due to the nature of shared and common spaces at Parks Canada locations, visitors must complete any provincial or territorial requirements for self-isolation before visiting a Parks Canada place. It is not possible to complete self-isolation periods at Parks Canada locations. This includes both front-country as well as wilderness and backcountry areas. Visitors may transit through a national park if they have not yet met their self-isolation requirements, but may not remain in the park.

Health and Safety

How will Parks Canada ensure the safety of visitors and employees?

Parks Canada has implemented a number of changes to visitor services and access to help reduce transmission of COVID-19. In many places, visitors will find new measures in place to keep them and Parks Canada employees safe. For example, transparent shields and spacing aids to limit exposure, are in place in many locations.

In all indoor locations where two metres distancing can’t be maintained and transparent shields are not possible, Parks Canada employees will be wearing masks or face coverings. Only those places where measures can be implemented to minimize health and safety risks are open to the public.

Visitors have a shared responsibility in keeping themselves and others safe and are encouraged to take the necessary precautions to respect public health recommendations including physical distancing, wearing a mask or face covering, and maintaining good hand hygiene. Visitors should also be conservative in their choices of activities and ensure that they remove their garbage and are respectful of others, including Parks Canada team members.

Will Parks Canada be making visitors and employees wear masks in jurisdictions that require them indoors?

The health and safety of visitors and employees is of the utmost importance and Parks Canada is following the advice, guidance, and requirements of public health authorities and experts.

In provinces, territories or municipalities where facemasks are required to be worn indoors, visitors and employees will be expected to wear masks or face coverings.

Are there any exceptions for children and people who have health issues?

As specified in guidance from health authorities, children under the age of two or visitors who have health conditions are not required to wear a mask or face covering. In these circumstances, visitors will be permitted to be within the indoor public space without a mask or face covering, but should continue to practice physical distancing and other hygiene measures.

Fees and Passes

If Parks Canada closes a campground or roofed accommodations because of COVID-19 restrictions, will visitors get a refund?

Should Parks Canada need to cancel a reservation due to COVID-19, the reservation holder would be reimbursed in full, and no cancellation fees would be charged.

Will visitors who have to cancel because of travel restrictions get priority for later in the summer or for 2022?

Parks Canada continues to monitor the situation and will provide updates on reservations for 2022 as information becomes available. All individuals who need to cancel their reservations due to travel restrictions will be reimbursed in full. Parks Canada is not able to grant reservation holders priority for reservations later in the year or in 2022.

Parks Canada will continue to comply with the direction of regional health authorities, which may result in unavoidable changes to our services to visitors.