2024 Guide to US National Parks: Reservation Requirements


National Parks  Requiring Reservations in 2024 

Recently, many famous National Parks are introducing reservation systems with set times starting in 2024, asking visitors to plan their excursion in advance. Reserving visits to US National Parks was introduced to limit overcrowding at some of the country's most visited sites. The good news is that reservations are usually free, though they do involve an online processing fee on the government website.

In 2023, the superintendent of Arches National Park, Brendan Bray, conducted a trial period to assess the impact of reservations and visitor feedback; many appreciated the scheduled arrival time and, above all, the reduction of overcrowding in the park, which is why the reservation system will continue this year. While reserving visits to US National Parks may complicate trip organization, it offers the chance to enjoy some of the United States' most famous landscapes more peacefully.

More precise planning will be necessary: in addition to making a reservation, in many cases, you must present identification at the entrance, or access may be denied.

Here is the list of National Parks that will require reservations for 2024.

Arches National Park (Utah)

To explore Arches National Park between April 1 and October 31, 2024, from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, an online reservation will be mandatory. You need to visit the website, select the date and time, and pay a reservation fee of 2 USD per vehicle; in addition, the previously mentioned processing fee must be paid. Reservations will be released monthly, allowing park access for one hour.
This procedure does not include the entrance fee, which will be paid on-site or via the America the Beautiful pass.

Glacier National Park (Montana)

Continuing the list of US National Parks with mandatory reservations is Glacier, introducing the procedure starting May 24, 2024. The west side is the most crowded, so reservations will be required to visit these three areas of the Park:
  • Going-to-the-Sun Road
  • North Fork
  • Many Glacier Valley (starting from July 1)

This year another novelty will be introduced: vehicle reservations will only be valid for one day instead of three, to avoid visitor congestion. However, park users can still access Apgar Village services (lodging, camping, boat rentals...) freely with their car.
As in other parks, online reservations are free, except for a processing fee of 2 USD.

Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

Rocky Mountain National Park has also planned the introduction of a reservation system starting May 24, 2024. As with the other parks mentioned, the reservation will be free apart from a 2 USD fee. However, there will be two different options depending on the park areas you wish to visit:
  • Access to the entire park and Bear Lake Road from 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM until October 20.
  • Access to the park, excluding Bear Lake Road, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM until October 15.
Approximately 40% of the permits will be available only from 5:00 PM the day before.

Yosemite National Park (California)

The list of US National Parks requiring mandatory reservations continues. Starting this year, Yosemite National Park will introduce the "Peak Hours Plus" program to optimize visitor flow. Vehicle reservations will be required, as always at a cost of 2 USD, during the following periods:
  • Weekends from February 10 to 25,
  • February 19 (Presidents’ Day),
  • Weekends from April 13 to June 30 (5:00 AM-4:00 PM),
  • Every day from July 1 to August 16 (5:00 AM-4:00 PM),
  • Weekends from August 17 to October 27 (5:00 AM-4:00 PM).

Visitors can reserve entry in two different modes: one valid for the entire day and another for park access starting at noon.

Zion National Park (Utah)

The new US National Parks reservation system varies by location. For example, to access the famous Angels Landing trail at Zion National Park, a reservation via an online lottery introduced as of January 1 is required.

The lottery only applies to this trail, while the rest of the park is freely accessible with just the entrance ticket.

To enter the lottery, you must visit the park's official website and fill out a form with personal information, the date, and time of the visit. Winners will be named about two months in advance. The lottery registration costs 6 USD (non-refundable), and if you win, an additional 3 USD per person is automatically charged.

You can request a refund of these last 3 USD only if you cancel the hike at least 48 hours in advance. If you don't win or decide to visit the park on short notice, you can try the "Day-before Lottery" under the same conditions.

It is strongly advised not to attempt to enter Angels Landing without the required authorization. You risk a fine of up to 5000 USD and even six months in jail.
US National Parks offer some of the best experiences in the country and are ideal destinations for those who appreciate extraordinary landscapes and pristine natural environments.

Despite the new rules complicating access (requiring more planning), they contribute to preserving the environment and making the experience more enjoyable, avoiding overcrowding.


Before concluding, it should be added that the list of US National Parks requiring mandatory reservations may expand, so it's advisable to stay informed through official sources. 

Rocky Mountain - Arches - Yosemite - PHOTO GALLERY 









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