To combat long-standing problems with summer congestion, Yosemite National Park will introduce a peak-time reservation system from May 20 through September 30.
The reservations, which incur a $2 non-refundable fee, will be available beginning at 8:00 am on March 23 via entertainment.gov. Each reservation is valid for three days.
The move announced today means visitors will need a reservation to enter the park between the hours of 6am and 4pm, seven days a week. The requirement includes annual and life pass holders and is in addition to the $35 per car entry fee, which is also valid for three days while the reservation system is in effect. (Otherwise it’s good for seven days.)
However, anyone booking lodging, campgrounds or vacation rentals within the park will automatically be placed in the rush-hour reservation system, the National Park Service said. The same applies to visitors with wilderness and Half Dome permits and to visitors entering the park on Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) buses or commercial tours.
Visitors entering the park during off-peak hours don’t need to make a reservation, park officials said, and those visitors are allowed to stay in the park during peak hours.
Also this year, according to the Park Service statement, projects to improve infrastructure will require the closure of several parking areas and a change in traffic management in some areas. Most notably, Glacier Point Road, Tuolumne Meadows Campground, Crane Flat Campground, and other locations will be closed year-round.
Per Park Service’s plans, 70% of reservations for all dates May 20th – September 30th will be available on March 23rd on entertainment.gov. The remaining 30% will be made available continuously seven days prior to the arrival date. (In other words, some reservations for August 30 become available on August 23.)
The park has published an FAQ page with details about the new program.
Park officials said the strategy builds on lessons learned in 2020 and 2021, when the park introduced summer reservation requirements to reduce congestion. Though reservation requirements coincided with pandemic measures in those years, Yosemite’s struggles with summer crowding date back decades.
The park attracted 3.3 million visitors in 2021, NPS statistics show, making Yosemite the 21st busiest park in the system and the busiest in California. (The busiest in the country: Blue Ridge Parkway, where rangers counted 15.9 million visitors as they routed through Virginia and North Carolina.)
The National Parks Conservation Assn. expressed his support for the move from Yosemite in a prepared statement by his Sierra Nevada program manager, Mark Rose.
“As overcrowding issues have worsened in recent years, reservation systems have proven very effective in combating the endless traffic, overcrowded hiking trails, and long lines at facilities that plague overcrowded national parks,” said Rose. “We’re excited that the reservation system will return to Yosemite this summer to ensure visitors have the best possible experience while protecting the park from the damage that overcrowding can bring.”
https://www.latimes.com/travel/story/2022-02-16/yosemite-will-require-reservations-for-peak-hour-summer-entrance Do you want to go to Yosemite this summer? Reservations open March 23rd