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U.S. National Parks Requiring Reservations or Entry Tickets in 2024

Updated: January 21, 2024, to reflect national parks requiring reservations in 2024.


Are you planning a national park adventure in 2024? A number of U.S. national parks are requiring reservations or timed-entry tickets in order to visit. Keep reading to find out which national parks require entry reservations in 2024, so you can plan ahead and be prepared!


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Table of Contents:

Why do U.S. National Parks Require Entry Reservations & Tickets?

National parks in the United States have seen record levels of visitation during recent years. According to the National Park Service, there were 312 million recreation visits to National Park Service sites in 2022. This includes major national parks, and other sites like national monuments and recreation areas that are managed by the National Park Service. 

Such high levels of visitation not only put a strain on park infrastructure, but have also led to harmful ecological impacts. To help mitigate the impacts of overcrowding, the National Park Service has begun implementing entry reservation and ticket systems in popular parks.

Entry reservation and ticket systems limit the number of visitors who may enter the park during a certain period of time. Some national parks require an entry ticket or reservation to access the entire park, while others only require reservations for certain areas.

Planning ahead and being prepared is always important when hiking and enjoying outdoor adventures. While national park vacations can be an incredibly rewarding way to connect with nature, visiting popular national parks often involves a little extra planning and preparation than the average vacation.

This post will help you navigate the entry reservation and ticket systems that are in place for 8 major U.S. national parks in 2024. I also include a bonus location in Colorado that you won’t want to miss!

Women jumping over a red rocky underneath an arch in the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park.
Arches National Park

The Two Types of National Park Entry Reservations & Tickets:

Daily entry. National parks with a daily entry reservation or ticket system allow you to enter the park at any time during the day of your reservation.

Timed entry. National parks with timed entry reservation systems assign you a specific window of time when you have to enter the park.

Important note: Any fee required for an entry reservation or ticket is above and beyond the standard national park fee. I always recommend purchasing an annual America the Beautiful pass if you plan on visiting more than one or two national park (and other federal recreation area) sites. The pass is $80. Seniors, veterans, and folks with disabilities can also get lifetime access passes.

Arches National Park. Sandstone rock formations growing out of the ground with snow covered mountains in the background.
Arches National Park

Pros & Cons of National Park Entry Reservations & Tickets

Pros: 

  • Placing a quota on the number of reservations issued limits the number of national park visitors leading to fewer crowds a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
  • For some people, fully planning a trip out months in advance can provide peace of mind.

Cons:

  • National parks requiring reservations means you typically have to plan your trip months in advance, which means you can’t plan spontaneous trips to these national parks (although you can always try your luck at getting a last-minute reservations or tickets where applicable). This mainly impacts locals who recreate in the parks frequently.
  • You have to pay an extra fee. National park vacations are becoming increasingly expensive, and while the additional reservation fees are minimal, getting nickel and dimed can add up over time. Plus the fees don’t even go back to the national parks or the National Park Service!

Don’t like the idea of having to make a reservation to visit a national park ahead of time? No worries! Only 8 of the 63 major U.S. national parks have entry reservation systems, so you have plenty of other options to choose from. You can also plan your trip around visiting national forests or BLM land, which typically see fewer visitors than national parks and have fewer regulations (exceptions apply, including one that I share as a bonus below).

Woman wearing a long-sleeve black top stands in front of mountains and an alpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park

What if I have lodging/campground/guiding reservations or a special use permit?

All of the national parks requiring entry reservations or tickets in 2024 have exceptions to the reservation requirements. Generally, if you have any type of lodging or campground reservation within a reservation area, then your reservation will serve as your entry ticket or reservation. Similar rules apply if you’ve hired a guiding service, have a special use permit, or a backcountry permit.


List of U.S. National Parks Requiring Entry Reservations in 2024

Here is the list of major U.S. national parks requiring entry reservations or tickets in 2024:

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park will require vehicle reservations in order to drive up Cadillac Summit Road during peak season in 2024. Cadillac Summit Road overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the most popular areas of the park, particularly at sunrise.

Due to the area’s popularity, entry tickets are required all day, unlike some of the other parks which allow for early and after hours access. There are separate tickets for daytime and sunrise access. Entry reservations are not required for other areas of Acadia National Park!

Acadia National Park Reservation Information

Cost: $6

Dates: 2024 dates TBA

Hours: All day

When Tickets are Released: From May 24-June 30 reservations are available at 10am (ET) 2 days in advance of the reservation date. The National Park Service may close the road for paving during this time and vehicle reservations will not be available if it is. From July 1-October 22, 30% of the vehicle reservations will be available 90 days prior to the reservation date. The remaining 70% will be released at 10am 2 days in advance of the reservation date. *NOTE: This information reflects 2023 dates. Exact 2024 dates TBA.*

Where to Get Tickets

Daytime

Sunrise

Arches National Park

Home to some of the most well-known hikes in Southern Utah, Arches National Park requires a timed entry ticket for the entire park between April 1-October 31, 2024 between the hours of 7am-4pm MST. This is a timed entry reservation system, which means your ticket will give you a 1-hour window to enter the park. Once you’ve entered the park during your 1-hour window you’re free to leave and reenter the park.

A timed entry ticket is not required if you enter before 7am or after 4pm. You also don’t need a ticket if you already have campground reservations inside of Arches, a Fiery Furnace permit, are on a commercial tour, or have a special use permit.

Tickets are released on a rolling basis in monthly blocks, 3 months in advance at 8am MST/MDT. This means that tickets for April go on sale in January, May in February, June in March, and so on and so forth. Limited numbers of tickets also become available the night before at 7pm MST.

Arches National Park Reservation Information

Cost: $2/ticket

Dates: April 1-October 31, 2024

Hours: 7am-4pm MT

When Tickets are Released: In monthly blocks on the first of the month (except January, which releases on the 2nd), 3 months in advance at 8am MST. Ex. Tickets for the entire month of September go on sale June 1st at 8am. A limited number of tickets become available the night before at 7pm MST.

Get Tickets Here

Red rock sandstone arches with a cloudy blue sky in the background. Double Arch in Arches National Park.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park has the most complex national park vehicle reservation system in 2024. Vehicle entry reservations are required in the following areas of Glacier National Park: Going-to-the-Sun Road (from the west), North Fork valley, and Many Glacier valley. Reservations are NOT required for Two Medicine valley this year.

Because there are so many different areas of Glacier National Park that require a vehicle reservation, it’s extra important to plan your trip well in advance. If you want to visit 2 different areas of the park on the same day you need to secure vehicle reservations for each area.

The Glacier National Park vehicle reservation system is a daily entry system, which means you can enter your reservation area anytime between 6am-3pm MT. Going-to-the-Sun Road reservations provide you with 3 full days of access.

Glacier National Park Reservation Information

Cost: $2

Dates: Going-to-the-Sun Road (from the west) & North Fork: May 24-September 8, 2024; Many Glacier: July 1-September 8, 2024

Hours: 6am-3pm MT

When Tickets are Released: The first block of tickets gets released 120 days in advance starting January 25, 2024. A second block of tickets will be released at 7pm MST the night before the entry date.

Get Tickets Here

Sunrise in Glacier National Park. A mountain illuminated by a pink alpenglow towers over a lake that reflects the mountain.
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Great Smokey Mountains National Park

An entrance fee is not required to visit Great Smokey Mountains National Park, however a parking tag is required if you want to park anywhere in the park for more than 15 minutes. Parking tags are not required on national park fee-free days.

Great Smokey Mountains National Park Reservation Information

Cost:

  • Daily – $5
  • Weekly – $15
  • Annual – $40

Dates: Year-round

Hours: All day

Get Parking Tags Here

Haleakala National Park

If you’re visiting Maui and want to catch the sunrise from Haleakala Summit you need to have a parking reservation. This is the only national park entry reservation system that runs year-round (because let’s be honest, Hawaii doesn’t have an off-season).

Having a reservation for Haleakala Summit ensures that you will be able to get a parking spot at one of the 4 sunrise viewing locations. The reservation system helps prevent traffic, overcrowding, and a potentially frustrating early-morning experience from full parking lots!

Haleakala National Park Reservation Information

Cost: $1

Dates: Year-round

Hours: 3am-7am HST

When Tickets are Released: Reservations are available in 2 blocks. One 60 days in advance and one 2 days in advance. Reservations open at 7am HST.

Get Tickets Here

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is a launching a NEW timed-entry reservation system in 2024. Reservations will be required for 2 areas of the park: the Paradise Corridor (if coming from the southwest or southeast) and the Sunrise Corridor (if coming from the northeast).

The aim of the timed-entry program is to cut down on some of the heavy traffic and congestion the park sees during the summer. Like in other parks, if you have a permit or reservation inside of the Paradise Corridor or Sunrise Corridor, you don’t need an additional timed-entry permit.

Mount Rainier National Park Reservation Information

Cost: $2

Dates:

Paradise Corridor: May 24-September 2, 2024

Sunrise Corridor: July 3-September 2, 2024

Hours

Paradise Corridor: 7am-3pm

Sunrise Corridor: 7am-3pm

When Tickets are Released:

Paradise Corridor:

Released: February 21, 2024Dates: May 24 – June 30, 2024
Released: April 1, 2024Dates: July 1 – July 31, 2024
Released: May 1, 2024Dates: August 1 – September 2, 2024

Sunrise Corridor:

Released: April 1, 2024Dates: July 3 – July 31, 2024
Released: May 1, 2024Dates: August 1 – September 2, 2024

Get Tickets Here

Woman in a strappy sports bra and leggings looks out at Mount Rainier.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park requires a timed entry reservation for the entire park between May 22-October 15, 2024. There are two options available. A timed entry reservation that provides access to Bear Lake Corridor and a reservation that excludes Bear Lake Corridor. You can choose which you would like when you make your reservation, but keep in mind that including Bear Lake Corridor is more popular and sells out faster.

Your timed entry reservation for Rocky Mountain National Park gives you a 2-hour window to enter the park. Once you’ve entered the park during your reservation window you are free to leave and reenter the park throughout the rest of the day.

You need a timed entry reservation even if you don’t go through one of the main entrance gates for Rocky Mountain National Park. In that situation the National Park Service asks that you print and display your reservation on your dashboard and be ready to show it to a ranger upon request.

Rocky Mountain National Park Reservation Information

Cost: $2

Dates: May 22-October 15, 2024 (Bear Lake Corridor reservations required through October 20, 2024)

Hours

Including the Bear Lake Corridor: 5am-6pm MDT

Excluding the Bear Lake Corridor: 9am-2pm MDT

When Tickets are Released: Starting in May, reservations are released in blocks on the first of the month, a month in advance at 10am MDT. Ex. On June 1, reservations for the entire month of July will become available.

Get Tickets Here

A woman wearing a purple zip up carrying a red water botle stands on a log bridge over a creek in front of mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is the latest national park requiring reservations in 2024. If you’re planning to visit Yosemite for Firefall in February, or between mid-April and October, you may need to make reservations in advance to enter the park.

The Yosemite National Park reservation system is somewhat unique (and a tad bit confusing). Reservations are only required for the February dates if you arrive at Yosemite for the first day of your trip on one of those dates. Otherwise, your park entrance fee is good for 7 days (including annual and lifetime passes). You can enter the park for the first day of your trip during the week when reservations aren’t required, and be able to reenter that weekend without a reservation.

Reservations are required during peak season from April-October. There are 2 types of vehicle reservations available: a full-day reservation and an afternoon reservation. Unlike the February reservations, beginning your trip during on a day that does not require a reservation does NOT get you access to Yosemite during peak reservation windows (you can still enter the park before 5am or after 4pm).

Yosemite Reservation Information

Cost: $2

Dates:

  • February 10–11
  • February 17–19
  • February 24–25 
  • April 13 through June 30A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and on holidays (May 27 and June 19).
  • July 1 through August 16A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm every day.
  • August 17 through October 27A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (September 2 and October 14).

Hours: 5am-4pm on certain days from April-October

When Tickets are Released:

February Dates: 50% of tickets were released on December 1, 2023. The remaining 50% of tickets will be released 2 days in advance.

April-October: Reservations for all dates are available on January 5, 2024. Additional reservations will be released 7 days in advance.

Get Tickets Here

A pink sunset at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, which requires reservations in 2024.

Keep in mind that this list only includes national parks that require reservations just to enter the park. This does not include information about permits for specific hikes like Angels Landing in Zion or Half Dome in Yosemite. It also doesn’t cover backcountry permits. 

Every national park manages its backcountry permit system differently. The best resource for information is going to the official nps.gov website for the park or rec.gov, which typically has more up to date information about permit lotteries and reservations.

Bonus Reservation System to Be Aware Of:

Maroon Bells Recreation Area

Located in Aspen, the iconic Maroon Bells are the most photographed mountains in Colorado. The best place to view the Maroon Bells is from Maroon Lake in the Maroon Bells Recreation Area. The Maroon Bells Recreation Area is also the gateway to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, where you can find some of the most scenic hiking trails in Colorado. The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness has a separate permit system for backpacking.

The U.S. Forest Service put a vehicle reservation system in place due to the world-renowned popularity of the Bells and limited parking infrastructure. The Maroon Bells Recreation Area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, while the parking reservation and shuttle system is managed by the Aspen Chamber of Commerce.

There are 4 different types of parking reservations available for the Maroon Bells Recreation Area:

  • Day Use Parking: 12am-4:30pm MST (you must arrive prior to 8am from May 26-October 22, 2024)
  • Evening Parking: 5pm-12am MST
  • 24-hour Parking: Midnight-midnight (you must arrive prior to 8am from May 26-October 22, 2024)
  • Overnight Parking: 2-nights (6am-6pm, 60 hours) (you must arrive prior to 8am from May 26-October 22, 2024)

If you aren’t able to get a parking reservation you can also take the shuttle from Aspen Highlands. You can make reservations for the shuttle on the same site, so it’s easy to pivot if things are sold out!

Permits to backpack in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness have their own system.

Maroon Bells Recreation Area Reservation Information

Cost: $10

Dates: May 15-October 31, 2024

Hours: All day

When Tickets are Released:

Where to Get Tickets:

Day Use Parking

Evening Parking

24-Hour Parking

Maroon Bells in Colorado. Red mountains with snow covered patches tower above an evergreen forest and blue lake with yellow wildflowers in the grassy foreground.

Want to plan a national park vacation with no entry reservations required? Check out this 3-day itinerary for North Cascades National Park. It’s one of the least-visited national parks in the U.S.!

Want to skip the reservation? Hire a guide!

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