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We’ve all seen the headlines. America’s national parks are becoming more and more crowded, with no end in sight. Many parks are frequently at capacity, closing their gates when lots and trails fill each day.
Some of the country’s most popular ones are increasingly choosing a new solution: day-use reservations and timed-entry tickets aimed at cutting traffic and preserving the fragile landscapes these parks were designed to protect. In 2022, four more parks have begun or expanded their ticketing systems, and many have renewed what was already in place.
Below, you’ll find a no-nonsense breakdown of when, where, and how to get these coveted reservations. In all cases, these tickets do not include other park entrance fees and do not apply to visitors with camping, lodging, or commercial tour bookings.
Glacier National Park
Glacier debuted its first-ever ticketing system for its famed Going to the Sun Road last spring, and the park has opted to renew and expand the day-use permitting rules for 2022’s high season. From May 27 to September 11, one ticket per vehicle will be required to access GTS Road from the West Entrance, St. Mary’s Entrance (starting late June, when the road reopens), and the new Camas Entrance. The park has also added a second ticketed entry option for its Polebridge Ranger Station to visit the North Fork area.
Tickets will cost $2 and be made available on Recreation.gov up to 60 days in advance on a rolling window. Beginning May 26, the park will also release a limited number of reservations two days in advance at 8 A.M. MDT.
Arches National Park
To alleviate crowding (the park often closed its gates at 8 A.M. last summer due to capacity issues), Arches is introducing a temporary, pilot timed entry system from April 3 to October 3 in 2022. These new ticketed admission rules will apply to all day-use visitors entering the gate between 6 A.M. and 5 P.M. during the aforementioned dates.
Timed entry tickets are being released three months out in one month blocks (with limited last-minute tickets dropping one day in advance at 6 P.M. MT) and are available for $2 at Recreation.gov. They do not include park-entrance fees. Travelers with camping, commercial trip, or Fiery Furnace reservations will not need this additional vehicle pass.
Zion National Park
After years of cringe-worthy photos and community town halls, Zion announced a pilot permit program to hike its cliff-edge Angels Landing Trail in 2022. Beginning April 1, all hikers wanting to ascend this famous route at any time of year will need to enter a permit lottery (up to three months in advance or as late as one day before the trip) and choose one of three time windows: pre-9 A.M., 9 A.M. to 12 P.M., or after 12 P.M. Times listed refer to when a hike begins at the Grotto.
Permits cost $3 per person plus a $6, nonrefundable application fee, and hikers may apply for a group size of up to six people on Recreation.gov. The park’s required shuttle system will also restart in February.
Shenandoah National Park
Another of the Park Service’s most popular trails, the steep scramble to the summit of Shenandoah’s Old Rag Mountain, will launch a pilot ticketing program in 2022, intended to protect the surrounding environment and increase safety. The program will run from March through November, with tickets expected to cost a $1 processing fee per reservation. Eight-hundred permits will be available each day, according to the park’s superintendent.
The first batch of tickets go on sale on February 1 and may be purchased up to 30 days in advance of a planned hike, with the second half of Old Rag tix being released five days before each date, on a rolling basis. Arrive early; a reservation does not guarantee parking, and the lot fills quickly.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Similar to last year’s timed-entry system, Rocky Mountain will require each vehicle carry a special pass to enter the park between May 27 and October 10, 2022. Visitors may choose between “park access with Bear Lake Road” (tickets required from 5 A.M. to 6 P.M.) or simply “park access with no Bear Lake Road” (tickets required from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.). These passes will allow travelers to enter the park in two-hour windows to help stagger traffic.
The first round of reservations will become available on May 2 at 10 A.M. MDT ($2 processing fee on Recreation.gov). Twenty-five to 30 percent of tickets will be held for last-minute guests and released at 5 P.M. MDT the day prior, all season long.
Acadia National Park
After a successful run in 2021, Acadia renewed its vehicle reservations for popular Cadillac Summit Road. This year’s dates span from May 25 through October 22, and visitors have two types of tickets to choose from: sunrise or daytime.
The tickets cost $6 per vehicle and will be available on Recreation.gov. The park plans to release 30 percent of reservations 90 days in advance, with the remaining 70 percent released at 10 A.M. EST two days ahead.
Haleakala National Park
One of the OG ticketed sunrise entries is in Maui’s Haleakala National Park, and this year will be reminiscent of years past, with reservations required to enter the park between 3 A.M. and 7 A.M. The reservation fee is $1, and visitors can snag these coveted admissions on Recreation.gov up to 60 days in advance of their trip. A portion of reservations are also held for last-minute hopefuls and made available two days in advance.