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Yosemite National Park Will Start Requiring Reservations Again This Summer

Fortunately, there are more reservations up for grabs this time around.

Editor’s Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. As of April 2021, official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk, though safety precautions are still required. Should you need to travel, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC’s latest guidance as well as local requirements/protocols/restrictions for both your destination and home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed nearly every facet of life, including the way we experience nature. In response to COVID-19, national parks have implemented a number of ever-changing restrictions to ensure that everyone stays safe. At Yosemite National Park, that's meant requiring people to make reservations during high-traffic times of the year.

Last June, after months of full closure, Yosemite figured out a way it could responsibly reopen for visitors: It would open to 50% capacity on a reservation-only basis. Of course, since entry was limited, reservations were difficult to snag and required advance planning. After Halloween, the reservation policy was dismantled. Then, during February's Firefall, it was briefly reinstated to prevent overcrowding.

With summer tourism season around the corner, Yosemite has decided that it will once again require reservations for anyone hoping to enjoy the park during the warm months. Starting Friday, May 21, you will need to nab a day-use reservation—good for one vehicle for three days—in order to enter the park. The policy will remain in effect until September 30, if everything goes according to plan.

Fortunately, while the reservation system may make this summer feel eerily similar to 2020, you'll be happy to know that more people will be accommodated this time around. Last year, only 247 campsites were open; this year, more than 580 campsites will be open. Last year, capacity was capped at 50%; this year, the capacity will fluctuate between 50 and 90% depending on what's happening with COVID.

MORE: National Park Service Launches New App to Serve as Your One-Stop Guide

How to Make a Reservation

If you're hoping to get into Yosemite this summer, you'll need to visit recreation.gov ahead of the visit to make a reservation. The first group of reservations will be made available on Wednesday, April 21 at 8am PT sharp, at which time people can reserve a slot for dates between May 21 and June 30.

Additional batches of reservations for the summer season will be released periodically in the coming weeks and months. To view the full schedule, visit the day-use reservation page.

h/t Matador Network

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.
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