National Park Seasonal Reservations Ending Except For These Few

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Sprague Lake at Rocky Mountain National ParkPhoto credit: Nelson Sirlin / Shutterstock.com

Reservation requirements have ended this season for some of the National Park System’s busiest parks. This means you are no longer required to have a reservation to enter.

With the busy summer travel season over, reservations are no longer required at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). Reservation requirements have also been recently lifted at Arches National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Glacier National Park.

Timed Entry Permit System

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the busiest national parks, third in the country in 2019 with over 4.6 million visitors. Having that amount of people means crowding and congestion, which has led to increased negative impacts on visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experience, and operational capacity.

The park piloted different timed entry permit reservation systems between 2020 and 2022. They were in effect from May 27 through October 10, 2022. During this time, reservations were available in 2-hour blocks. Permit holders were to enter the park during their reserved time window. This applied to all areas of RMNP, including Wild Basin, Lily Lake, Lumpy Ridge, and Longs Peak.

Reservations are booked through www.recreation.gov. For details on the 2023 summer season, you’re asked to check back in January 2023.

National Parks With Reservations

There are other national parks that require reservations. They include:

Acadia National Park, Maine

Visitors will be able to choose one of two types of tickets: sunrise or daytime. Sunrise reservations will have a 2-hour entry window while daytime reservations have a 30-minute entry window. Both cost $6 in addition to the park’s entry fee.

Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii

Reservations, which cost $1 per vehicle in addition to the park’s entry fee, become available 60 days in advance and are only good for 1 day. A limited number of reservations are held for last-minute visitors and become available 2 days in advance.

Muir Woods National Monument, California

The park uses its own reservation system at gomuirwoods.com. You can use that system to make a reservation to visit Muir Woods as well as make a parking reservation.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

The reservations, which cost $1 in addition to the park entrance fee, will be required for hikers who want to use trails in the Old Rag area from March 1 through November 30. The tickets will be available starting February 1 at 10 a.m., and they can be purchased 30 days in advance for 1-day-only access. Only 800 tickets will be available for each day. Of that number, 400 will be released 30 days in advance and the remaining 400 will be released 5 days in advance.

Zion National Park, Utah

The park will use a lottery system to distribute permits. There are two types of online lotteries, and both cost $6 to enter. Groups who do win the lottery will also be charged $3 per hiker.

Acadia, Arches, Glacier, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, and Yellowstone National Parks all set visitor records for attendance last year. The increase in attendance and traffic means more crowds, more traffic, and a lack of parking. Having these reservation systems at some of the busiest parks allows for control of crowds to make the experience better for everyone and to preserve the parks.

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