Frequently asked questions
Parks Canada is monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely and will communicate regularly. Please visit our COVID-19 information page and social media channels frequently for information and updates.
Last updated November 26, 2020
Services and Access
Are day use visitor facilities open at national parks and national historic sites now that the summer season has ended?
With the end of the summer, visitor services at most national parks and national historic sites across the country have concluded for the season, but the grounds may be open for day use activities.
For national parks and national historic sites that do offer winter services, visitors should not expect the kind of experience that they have had in the past. Parks Canada continues to adapt to the COVID-19 situation and visitor access and services may be limited.
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. Visitors are asked to plan ahead by checking the website before they travel.
Are trails at national parks and historic sites open during the fall and winter?
Visitors are permitted to access some trails, day use areas, and green spaces at many national parks and national historic sites during the fall and winter.
Those who choose to access open trails must obey all signage and closures. They must also be conservative in their choices to avoid injury and minimize any need for emergency response. They must leave no trace and remove their garbage by using appropriate garbage containers or taking their waste home. We ask that visitors not leave behind used wipes, masks or other garbage and not dispose of their garbage in toilets and pit privies.
Visitors should be aware that some trails may be one-way directional or access may be limited.
Some trails at Parks Canada locations have remained closed for public safety, for the protection of ecological or cultural resources, because of human-wildlife interaction concerns, or limited search and rescue capacity.
Are national parks and national historic sites that would normally offer visitor services during the fall and winter open?
The network of protected places administered by Parks Canada is large and diverse. Visitor access and services vary across the country depending on local circumstances. Visitors should visit the Parks Canada website or contact the national park or national historic site directly to find out what services may be available.
Why will Parks Canada only be accepting reservations for the 2021 season in April, as opposed to January, when reservations are typically accepted?
Parks Canada continues to monitor and adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and has made the decision to open reservations for the 2021 visitor season in April, as opposed to January. Due to the uncertainty created by COVID-19, this will allow visitors to make their reservations closer to the date of travel and with more information to help plan their visit. It will also provide Parks Canada additional time to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and make any necessary changes to the campsites and experiences that can be reserved for the 2021 visitor season, helping to ensure visitors can experience Parks Canada administered places safely and reduce the number of reservations that may need to be cancelled due to COVID-19 measures. The reservation openings for different Parks Canada administered locations are spread throughout the month, to help spread visitor demand and provide an improved reservation experience.
Can I still book winter and early spring camping for 2021?
For the limited number of national parks that offer reservable camping throughout the winter months, visitors can already make reservations for camping until the end of March. In light of the delayed reservation opening for 2021, Parks Canada will open reservations for camping in April 2021 at these locations, on December 16, 2020.
Winter camping reservations are available at: Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks (backcountry only), La Mauricie National Park, Riding Mountain National Park, and Fundy National Park. This may vary due to COVID-19. In addition, on January 12, 2021, visitors will be able to reserve the oTENTik tents in Point Pelee National Park, in Ontario, for the spring bird migration.
Parks Canada is asking Canadians to be cautious and conservative in their use of Parks Canada administered places this winter, to observe travel restrictions, to respect the guidance of public health experts, and to make every effort to flatten the curve and keep one another safe.
Will I be able to camp without a reservation?
Parks Canada strongly recommends you have a reservation before you arrive at one of our campgrounds.
Will Parks Canada be honouring out of province camping reservations?
Parks Canada is honouring out of province/territory camping reservations. However, visitors must follow local and provincial or territorial travel restrictions, including requirements for self-isolation. Visitors 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 campgrounds, visitors must complete any requirements for self-isolation before arriving to camp at a national park. It is not possible to complete self-isolation periods at Parks Canada campgrounds.
If a quarantine or self-isolation period is required for people entering a province, will I be able to quarantine or self-isolate at a Parks Canada campground?
Visitors must follow local and provincial or territorial travel restrictions, including provincial/territorial requirements for self-isolation. Visitors to Parks Canada 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 campgrounds, visitors must complete any provincial or territorial requirements for self-isolation before arriving to camp at a Parks Canada place. It is not possible to complete self-isolation periods at Parks Canada campgrounds.
Health and Safety
What precautions will be put in place at Parks Canada places to ensure the health and safety of visitors?
The health and safety of visitors, employees, and all Canadians is of the utmost importance. Parks Canada will be following the advice of public health experts and implementing measures for cleaning, hygiene, and physical distancing at all places open for visitation.
Cleaning frequency will be increased and the recommended number of people permitted in a facility at the same time will be limited. Visitors will notice new signage reminding them of physical distancing recommendations and other health and safety protocols, including waiting outside facilities. In many places you will find plexiglass barriers and spacing aids to limit exposure, and to keep both visitors and Parks Canada employees safe.
In all indoor locations where two- meter distancing can’t be maintained and physical barriers such as plexiglass are not possible, Parks Canada employees will be wearing non-medical masks or face coverings.
Only those places where measures can be implemented to minimize healthy and safety risks will be open to the public. Some facilities and services will remain closed.
How should I prepare when I visit a Parks Canada place?
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. You should plan ahead by checking the website before you travel.
Parks Canada suggests the following before travelling to a Parks Canada place:
- Research local, provincial or territorial travel restrictions, including requirements for self-isolation;
- Local services in many communities may be limited and many services remain closed across the country. Visitors should ensure they have a place to stay reserved in advance before they travel;
- Prepare to be self-sufficient. Bring a trip kit that includes extra hygiene supplies such as hand sanitizer, soap, non-medical masks or face coverings, garbage bags and a table cloth. Bring your own water and food.
- Know your skill level - Visitors are responsible for their own safety and should be cautious when engaging in activities in order to avoid injury and/or getting lost to help minimize the demands placed on emergency response, search and rescue teams, and on the health care system.
Visitors have a shared responsibility in keeping themselves and others safe and are encouraged to take the necessary precautions to respect public heath recommendations including physical distancing, group size limits, wearing a mask or face covering and good hand hygiene measures.
Will I have to wear a mask when I’m in a visitor centre or national historic site and if so, will the masks be provided?
Visitors are encouraged to follow advice from public health experts and wear masks in public spaces where physical distancing may be difficult to maintain.
In provinces, territories or municipalities where facemasks are required to be worn indoors, visitors and employees will be expected to wear non-medical masks or face coverings. Visitors should be prepared to be self-sufficient when they visit and pack extra hygiene supplies such as hand sanitizer, and a mask if they are concerned about physical distancing.
Fees and Passes
Will Parks Canada be charging admission fees at this time?
Yes, Parks Canada will be charging admission fees.
The Agency is working to ensure that measures are in place to safely collect fees and protect the health of employees and visitors. Canadians are encouraged to plan ahead before they visit and check the Parks Canada website for more information.
Parks Canada may not be charging fees at some places where fee collection cannot be done while ensuring the safety of visitors and Parks Canada team members. Fees may not be collected at some places where there is a limited visitor offer and at many national historic sites where only the grounds or gardens are open.
Will people be refunded for passes?
For visitors who hold a Discovery Pass which was valid in March 2020, Parks Canada will automatically extend the end date of these Discovery Passes by 4 months. This covers the three-month suspension of visitor services, plus the gradual resumption of visitor services during the month of June.
For example, a Discovery Pass that would have originally expired March 2021 will now expire July 2021.
Can I currently buy an annual pass?Discovery Passes are available for sale here.
All Parks Canada consultations and formal engagement on management plans are suspended until further notice.
The health and safety of Canadians, visitors, and Parks Canada team members is of the utmost importance to the Agency. Parks Canada is following the advice of public health experts and implementing measures to support Canada’s efforts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and reduce risks to employees and visitors.
As a result, Parks Canada has also suspended all public consultations and formal engagement with stakeholders and Indigenous peoples on management plans until further notice.Management plans are developed through consultation and input from various people and organizations, including Indigenous peoples, local and regional residents, visitors, and the public.
The Agency is currently focusing its efforts on critical operations. There is, therefore, limited capacity to undertake full and meaningful management planning consultations at this time. Parks Canada also recognizes that the focus of the Canadian public, Indigenous partners and our stakeholders is on public health and safety and the economy.
Parks Canada is committed to resuming all management planning activities, including public consultations and formal engagement with stakeholders and Indigenous peoples, once operations return to normal and capacity allows.