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Popular National Parks End Seasonal Reservations - Except For A Few Spots

The lengthy checklist of things to do in advance of a trip to one of America's national parks has just been whittled down because popular national parks end seasonal reservations. The National Park Service's busiest parks are no longer enforcing their seasonal reservation requirements now that summer's peak travel season has come to an end.

Author:Velma Battle
Reviewer:Michael Rachal
Oct 31, 2022
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The lengthy checklist of things to do in advance of a trip to one of America's national parks has just been whittled down because popular national parks end seasonal reservations.
The National Park Service's busiest parks are no longer enforcing their seasonal reservation requirements now that summer's peak travelseason has come to an end.
There is no longer a requirement for visitors to make reservations in order to enter Rocky Mountain National Park or to drive up Cadillac Summit Road in Acadia National Park; however, the road will close for the season on November 14.
In addition, the reservation requirements for Going-to-the-Sun Road in Arches National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Glacier National Park have been eliminated. Previously, these parks required visitors to have reservations.
Although reservations are required for many National Park Service activities, such as camping and boating, only a small fraction of the 423 sites that make up the National Park Service require them for entry.
The websites of specific parks may contain additional information, but Recreation.gov is the place to go for making most reservations. The cost of making a reservation is separate from any entrance fees that may be required by the parks.

Parks That Require Reservations

  • Haleakala National Park - At Haleakala National Park, visitors who wish to watch the sunrise from the park's highest point are required to make reservations year-round. Summit sunrise reservations cost $1 per vehicle.
  • Muir Woods National Monument - In order to lessen the amount of foot traffic and noise pollution in the old-growth redwood grove at Muir Woods National Monument, the park requires reservations for cars and shuttles throughout the entire year. Parking passes for standard vehicles can be purchased for $9. Guests who would rather take a shuttle from nearby Mill Valley at their own expense will be required to pay $3.50 per person aged 16 and older. You can make reservations on our website at gomuirwoods.com.
  • Shenandoah National Park - Shenandoah National Park is currently conducting a trial run of a ticketing system for day hikers in order to reduce the amount of foot traffic on Old Rag Mountain. The cost of reservations is $1 per person, and there is a daily limit of 800 guests.
  • Washington Monument - The reservation fee for the Washington Monument is currently $1 per person.
  • Angels Landing in Zion National Park - To hike up Angels Landing in Zion National Park, visitors will need to obtain a permit until at least February of next year. Hikers who want a chance at a permit must pay $6 to enter an online lottery and then pay an additional $3 per person if they win the permit.

Parks To Visit

Badlands National Park, Interior, South Dakota

For those looking for an easy park to visit, at least once there, Badlands has the advantage of being not only less crowded, but also well served by scenic drives that make seeing the park a breeze. If you have to choose just one, the Badlands Loop Road is a must-drive route.

White Sands National Park, Alamogordo, New Mexico

This park is more than just sand; it's a massive 275 square miles of white gypsum sand stacked in incredible dunes that you can surf down. There is so much sand that the park service has to plow the roads as if it were snow on occasion.

Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas

The source of the rivalry is not the hot water that comes from the ground. Hot Springs was designated for federal protection 40 years before Yellowstone. As a result, Hot Springs claims to be the world's first national park.
Yellowstone claims to be the first national park because it was the first place in the United States to be federally protected under the title "National Park." Yes, that's the kind of nerdy rivalry that parks are willing to engage in in order to be the best.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Carlsbad, New Mexico

The phrase "Carlsbad Caverns" is plural. There is more than one cavern. Or two. There are 119 caves in the park and 300 in the surrounding area. However, you must see at least one of them: Carlsbad Cavern, singular. The Big Room is its most notable feature. On steroids, that's an understatement.

Final Words

The very first national park in the United States does not require visitors to make reservations in order to enter. However, in order to participate in certain activities, such as fishing and horseback riding, visitors to Yellowstone are required to obtain the appropriate permits and make reservations in advance.
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Velma Battle

Velma Battle

Author
Travelling Expert
Michael Rachal

Michael Rachal

Reviewer
Travelling Expert
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