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National Park Reservations: These Parks Require Reservations in 2024

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Want to know what national parks require reservations this year? Here are the areas requiring national park reservations this year.

A waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is free to enter year-round, no permit or reservations required.

Heading to a national park or two this summer? We highly recommend it! We’ve been to parks from Acadia in Maine to Yosemite in California, Big Bend in Texas to Denali in Alaska and have loved every experience! But our national parks have seen an explosion of visitors in the last few years, and that means they’ve also experienced a lot more negative and compounded impact over a short period of time.

Some parks’ solution? Require reservations to control how many visitors can enter the park on any given day. So when visiting some of the country’s most popular parks, it’s important to be aware of which ones require reservations to enter (or to hike certain trails) and plan accordingly.

Also important to note: Reservations still require you to pay the park entrance fee or have an America the Beautiful (National Parks) pass. What’s more, you can’t make reservations at the gate. In all cases, you have to book online at

National Park Reservations Required to Enter

The Windows at Arches National Park at sunset.
Arches National Park at sunset. Doesn’t Mother Nature look stunning in gold?

Arches National Park

You’ll have to make a timed entry reservation to get into Arches in Utah between 7 am to 4 pm between April 1 to October 31. The goal: to help manage traffic and improve visitor experiences (and anyone who’s been to Arches in the summer knows what a pain traffic and parking can be).

The park will release tickets first-come, first-served on in monthly blocks 3 months in advance (for example, tickets for August will be available for purchase starting May 1, tickets for September will be available June 1). A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase one day in advance at 7 pm MST. These will likely sell out quickly, so waiting isn’t the safest bet. Timed entry tickets require a $2 reservation processing fee.

Read more about timed reservations at Arches National Park here.

Couple posing on frozen Bear Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Walking on frozen Bear Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

If you’re visiting from May 24 through October 20, you’ll need a timed entry reservation to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado (other dates don’t require reservations). There will be two different permits available: One for the Bear Lake Road Corridor, which includes the entire corridor, as well as access to the rest of the park (good from 5 am to 6 pm) and another for the rest of the park, not including access to the Bear Lake Road Corridor (this one is good from 9 am to 2 pm). Timed entry permits will allow park visitors to enter Rocky Mountain National Park within a two-hour window with no set time for departure.

Reservations open up in rounds starting May 1 for the following month and then reservations will open again every month through the summer on the 1st for the following month and any remaining permits for that month. Some reservations will be held and made available on the day prior to a visit, but these often sell out in minutes. All reservations are timed entires, which means you must enter during the two-hour window you registered for.

Find out more about making reservations at Rocky Mountain National Park here.

Sunset in Yosemite National Park. National park reservations required to enter the park this summer.
Sunset in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park

Heading to California? Reservation are complicated this year for Yosemite National Park! For summer visits, anyway. Here are the dates and restrictions:

  • February 10 – 25: A reservation is required 24 hours per day on Saturdays, Sundays, and on Monday, February 19 (due to the popularity of the famous Firefall when Horsetail Falls lights up and appears to be on fire).
  • April 13 – June 30: A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and on holidays (May 27 and June 19).
  • July 1 – August 16: A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm every day.
  • August 17 – October 27: A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and on holidays (September 2 and October 14).

Timed reservations become available on on January 5 for all arrival dates (April 13–October 27) then 7 days in advance. Reservations available one week in advance will be a combination of reservations valid for full days or reservations valid for arrival only during peak hours. A reservation is good for 3 days.

They’ll go fast, so be ready!

Learn more about reservations at Yosemite National Park here.

Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park. National park reservations required to drive Going-To-The-Sun Road in summer.
Hiking on trails along Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park

If you plan to visit via the West Entrance between May 24 through September 8 or to Many Glacier from July 1 through September 8, you’ll need a vehicle reservation if you want to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road or pretty much any road in Glacier in Montana past any main entrance gate. And yes, we highly recommend driving this incredibly scenic stretch of road. It’s stupid gorgeous. But keep in mind that each separate section of park road (including North Fork–May 26 through September 10– and Many Glacier and Two Medicine–July 1 through September 10) require separate reservations, so if you want to visit more than one area of the park, you’ll have to get a few.

A portion of available vehicle reservations will be released 120 days in advance. The remaining reservations will be released at 8 am MST 24 hours in advance (e.g., reservations for July 1 are available on June 30). Reservations are valid for three consecutive days for Going-to-the-Sun Road and 1 day for the other areas and have a processing fee of $2. Alternatively, you can opt to take the free Going-To-The-Sun Road shuttle service if you didn’t get a reservation and cyclists don’t need a reservation, so if you want to ride the challenging route, go nuts.

Find out more about making reservations for Glacier National Park here.

National Park Reservations Required For Certain Activities

A man looks out over the mountains toward the ocean from the top of Cadillac Summit in Acadia National Park.
A view from the top of Cadillac Summit in Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park

Located in Maine, Acadia doesn’t require reservations for park entry (even though it’s one of the top 10 most visited national parks), but from May 22 through October 27, you need reservations to drive a vehicle up Cadillac Summit Road. The road is closed in the winter.

Vehicle reservation sales are tentatively set to open on a rolling basis 90 days in advance. Thirty percent are made available 90 days ahead of each date and the remaining 70% are released at 10:00 am two days ahead.

Alternatively, you can park elsewhere and hike up to Cadillac Summit, which we have done and is well worth it.

Find out more about reservations at Acadia National Park here.

Haleakala National Park

While you don’t need reservations to visit Haleakala National Park in Hawaii, you do if you want to catch the sunrise. Because it’s such a popular activity and the fact that there’s limited parking, sunrise viewing at the summit requires a reservation for each vehicle entering the park before sunrise (3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.).

Reservations are available on a rolling basis up to 60 days in advance, so the sooner you book, the better. But be advised: Tickets are limited to one per customer every three days, so don’t expect to book one every morning of your trip.

Learn more about making sunrise reservations at Haleakala National Park here.

A woman standing on top of a rock in front of the valley beside Shenandoah National Park.
Hiking in Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park

From March 1 to November 30, visitors to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park who want to hike on extremely popular Old Rag Mountain, including the Saddle, Ridge, and Ridge Access trails, need an Old Rag day-use ticket, which must be reserved in advance. Each Old Rag day-use ticket will cost $1.00 and is only good for one hiker, so you’ll need one for everyone in your group.

According to the park website, 800 tickets will be available for every day. 400 will be released 30 days in advance of the reservation date, and the remaining 400 will be released 5 days in advance of each date, released daily at 10:00 a.m. if there are any remaining tickets after that, they will be available to purchase day-of.

Get more details about making Old Rag Mountain reservations at Shenandoah National Park here.

Hiking Angel's Landing during winter in Zion National Park. National park reservations required to hike in summer.
Hiking Angel’s Landing during winter in Zion National Park.

Zion National Park

While you don’t need a permit or reservation to enter Zion National Park in Utah, you will need one for specific popular hikes and areas, including stunning Angel’s Landing year-round and wilderness permits for Left Fork (The Subway) and Virgin River Narrows (plus other wilderness trails).

Wilderness permits start at $15 for 1-2 people plus a $5 reservation fee and must be obtained in-person at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Wilderness Desk.

Angel’s Landing permits are awarded by lottery and you can enter in advance (see the schedule here). You can apply for a seasonal permit on before your trip and pick 7 days and times you prefer to hike, then pay $6 to apply (the fee covers an application for up to 6 people). You’ll then pay $3 for each person you registered if your name is drawn. Alternatively, you can apply for a permit in the Day Before Lottery the day before your planned hike. You can do so every day between 12:01 am and 3:00 pm Mountain Time. The cost is the same ($6 application fee, $3 per person), and you’ll be notified by 4:00 pm Mountain time the day you applied if your name was drawn.

Find out more about Zion National Park reservations and permits here.

Tips for Making Reservations at National Parks

  • Typically, visitors with camping, lodging, or backcountry permits or reservations are exempt from making a separate entry reservation. Check the fine print for the park you’re visiting, but consider reserving a campsite or cabin if you missed the reservation window.
  • Schedule a tour with a park-approved operator and you may not need a reservation for park entry.
  • Print or download your permit to show to park staff. We recommend saving a screenshot to your photo folder for easy viewing.
  • Often, you can visit without a reservation outside of peak times, like before 6:00am or after 3:00pm. Check individual park websites to make sure that’s the case.
  • Tribal members are frequently admitted for free without a reservation (it’s literally the very least the government could do since many national parks are on stolen land).
  • Don’t forget your America The Beautiful National Parks Pass. It’s worth it if you’ll visit more than 3+ parks this year.
  • Make reservations and most permit requests at
  • You’ll still need reservations, but consider visiting on a fee-free day this year. Find fee-free dates here.

Hopefully that helps you plan your National Park adventures this summer! Good luck, have fun exploring, make those national park reservations as far in advance as you can manage, and wander on!