These National Parks Are Requiring Reservations in 2022

Now's the time to start planning your summer adventures!

Walking Through a Window
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Summer might be a ways away, but if a national park trip is on your 2022 bucket list, there's no time like the present to start planning.

With national parks seeing unprecedented numbers in 2021 (Yellowstone, for instance, welcomed a record-breaking 1,080,767 recreation visitors in July), measures like timed-entry tickets are being put in place in an effort to mitigate crowds. For some travelers, these new protocols can make or break a trip.

"They’ve traveled thousands of miles, made tens of thousands of dollars in hotel and airfare and rental car reservations, only to see their vacation ruined because they can’t get that $2 ticket to see Glacier National Park,” Kevin Gartland, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce in Whitefish, Montana, said at a July Senate hearing.

So you can avoid a potentially frustrating—not to mention heartbreaking—pitfall, we've put together a list of national parks requiring permits or timed-entry tickets to enter either the whole park or a particular section or hike. (Note that timed tickets for roads and hikes do not include entry to the park itself). Be sure to print out the confirmation e-mail or receipt!

Acadia National Park

From mid-May to mid-October, Acadia National Park will require a timed vehicle reservation to drive Cadillac Summit Road, a 3-mile road that takes visitors up to Cadillac Mountain, the park's highest peak and a popular destination to watch the first sunrise in the U.S. Thirty percent of reservations will be released three months ahead of each date, while the rest will be made available two days prior to your trip, at 10 a.m. ET. Vehicle reservations can be made at Recreation.gov; although prices for the 2022 season are not yet available, they cost $6 in 2021.

Arches National Park

For the first time ever, Arches National Park is running a pilot timed-entry reservation system in 2022. From April 3 through Oct. 3, visitors to Arches National Park will need a $2 timed entry ticket—in addition to a photo ID and park entrance fee—to enter the park. Reservations are released on Recreation.gov in monthly blocks, three months in advance; for example, you can reserve a ticket for any date between May 1 and May 31 starting Feb. 1. Once you've made a reservation, you will receive a timed-entry ticket for entry between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., with a one-hour window to allow some flexibility.

“By implementing a temporary, timed-entry reservation system, our goal is to better spread visitation throughout the day to reduce traffic congestion and visitor crowding," said Arches National Park superintendent Patricia Trap in a statement. "We believe this will create a higher-quality experience while maximizing access for our visitors."

For last-minute trips, a limited number of reservations will also be made available for next-day entry at 6 p.m. MDT on Recreation.gov. Those with camping, backcountry, and other special use permits will not be required to reserve a timed-entry ticket.

Haleakalā National Park

Haleakalā National Park, home to Maui's highest peak, is a popular destination for sunrise viewing; as such, visitors entering the park between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. will need to book a vehicle reservation. Tickets can be purchased on Recreation.gov up to 60 days in advance, though a limited number of tickets are released two days before your trip. With your reservation, you can park in one of the four highest-elevation parking lots: Summit, Haleakalā Visitor Center, Kalahaku, and Leleiwi. Note that there is a $1 reservation fee.

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana
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Glacier National Park

For the second year in a row, Glacier National Park is running its pilot ticket system to mitigate congestion in certain sections of the park. From May 27 through September 11, visitors will be required to book a vehicle reservation to enter the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) at the West, Camas, and St. Mary entrances (the latter typically opens in late June). You must also have a separate ticket at the Polebridge Ranger Station to enter the North Fork area. Reservations are expected to be made available on Recreation.gov in early March; each ticket costs a $2 service fee.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is currently seeking approval to implement a timed-entry permit system for its third consecutive summer. According to local news outlet The Coloradoan, permits would be required for entry from May 27 through Oct. 10, though visitors without a reservation would likely be able to visit early morning or late afternoon without any issue. Should the proposal get passed, permits could be booked as soon as May 2.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is introducing a pilot ticketing system for day hikes in the Old Rag area—for treks on the Saddle, Ridge, and Ridge Access trails—between March 1 and Nov. 30. The park will add 800 tickets to Recreation.gov 30 days ahead of your planned trip date, and an additional 400 tickets five days in advance. Each hiker can book up to four tickets per visit; tickets will cost just $1 a person.

"The pilot project will allow the Park to evaluate a strategy for managing this highly popular hike in Shenandoah, with a goal of providing a high-quality visitor experience in an area of the Park that continues to see high visitation," said Shenandoah National Park superintendent Patrick Kenney in a statement.

amazing view of angels landing hike in zion national park, utah
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Zion National Park

While visitors to Zion National Park do not need a timed ticket to enter, those interested in hiking Angels Landing will need a permit as of April 1. To get a permit, you must pay $6 to enter either the seasonal or day-before lottery. The seasonal lottery will take place four times this year—January, April, July, and October—with the lottery windows open for about 20 days each and the permits issued on the 25th of the respective month. (For example, the winter lottery, which runs from Jan. 3 to Jan. 20, is for hike dates between April 1 and May 31; winners will be notified on Jan. 25.) The application covers up to six people, and winners will be charged an additional $3 per person registered.

For those entering the day-before lottery, you can enter between 12:01 a.m. and 3 p.m. MT on any given day starting March 31; permits will be issued at 4 p.m. for hikes taking place the following day.

Article Sources
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  1. National Park Service. "Yellowstone Visitation Statistics for July 2021." August 19, 2021.

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