Yosemite Will Require a Reservation During Peak Summer Hours This Year
Travelers headed to Yosemite National Park this summer will once again need a reservation to enter as the park brings back the crowd control feature it has used in the past.
Starting May 20, the California park will require visitors to have a reservation to enter during peak hours between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., seven days a week, according to the National Park Service. The decision was made to reduce congestion in the popular park.
Travelers will be able to make a reservation on recreation.gov starting at 8 a.m. on March 23.
"A visit to Yosemite should be about enjoying the beautiful granite-lined landscape, not sitting in gridlock," Yosemite National Park Superintendent Cicely Muldoon said in a statement. "Yosemite visitors deserve a high-quality experience in this magnificent place. Our goal with the peak hours system is to ease overcrowding during the busiest times this summer while still offering access for all."
The reservation system will be in place through Sept. 30 with each reservation being valid for one vehicle (and the occupants of that vehicle) for three days. Annual and lifetime pass holders will also need reservations.
Parkgoers who visit outside of peak hours (before 6 a.m. or after 4 p.m.) won't need a reservation and will instead need to pay the park entrance fee, according to the NPS. Admission will be valid for three days outside of peak hours.
"Yosemite's visitation affects our gateway communities in so many ways," Muldoon added. "We are grateful for the helping hand our community partners have extended to make this system work better for all."
The park first implemented a day-use reservation system when it reopened in June 2020 following a closure due to COVID-19 before suspending the system in November. The park then brought the reservations back in May 2021 before again eliminating them in October.
Yosemite also tested out a lottery system for summer reservations at one of its most popular campgrounds which ended earlier this month. Generally, it's a good idea to book a national park vacation in advance since finding a National Park Service campground can sometimes require booking a spot three or four months before your trip.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.