National Parks Like Yosemite & Arches Will Limit Visitors Soon, so Start Planning Your Trip

The recent COVID-19 surge has led officials to limit the number of guests in certain parks.

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When COVID-19 changed which activities were considered safe (being outside) and which were not (being inside crowded spaces), national parks experienced a boost in popularity. However, along with that popularity came increased traffic, which led to new issues that park officials needed to navigate. To protect guests and wildlife, many parks instituted reservation requirements to limit the number of people in the park at any given time.

As the pandemic continued to progress and peak seasons came and went, many parks' reservation requirements ended. But as the Washington Post reports, some national parks are reinstating ticketing and reservation systems to prevent overcrowding.

Rocky Mountain National Park will be implementing a timed entry system between May 27 and October 10, 2022. Visitors will need to make reservations in advance. The park is also considering raising daily passes from $25 to $30 in order to "improve and maintain high-quality visitor services," according to the Denver Post. Arches National Park also implemented timed entry reservations on January 3, 2022, for all visitors who plan to enter the park between April and October 2022.

Other parks, like Yosemite National Park, will have a lottery to apply for overnight stays. Shenandoah National Park is piloting a day-hike ticketing system, which could go into effect in March. Starting April 1, Zion National Park will require permits for hikers who plan on traversing Angels Landing through a lottery system that will be open between January 3 and 20, and additional periods later this year.

As the year continues, it is likely that other national parks, forests, and other federal and state recreation areas will be introducing new entry requirements to safely handle the high volume of visitors. Visit recreation.gov to check the entry requirements before your next outdoor adventure.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.