On 1 December, 1984 the tunnel under the Grand Sasso was open to the public and from then onward this ancient but important artery transversing the Apennine Mountains has mainly served the local population living nearby. To highlight its new role as a touristic mecca, the Gran Sasso National Park administrators rebaptized the road "Strada maestra del Parco" (Grand Highway of the Gran Sasso National Park).
Over the years the canton buildings previously used by the road workers have been transformed one by one into forest ranger offices and tourist information centers. They serve as well equipped way stations for the many visitors who come to travel the area by car, on bicycle, or with a motorcycle.
Not far from the Gran Sasso and midway between L'Aquila and Teramo, lies a high plain. One end opens into the (Passo delle Capannelle) Capannelle Pass, a well known gathering point for tourists and people wanting to make excursions into the surrounding park areas.