As Covid-19 cases soared during the pandemic and places shut down, more people ventured outside and took to the great outdoors. National parks became a popular (and less risky) travel choice but the increased demand has bore new rules for visiting national parks.
With more people, trafficking the parks, especially during the peak summertime season, parks officials are putting in new rules to mitigate attendance and protect the parks.
Some parks, like Montana’s Glacier National Park, are resuming timed ticket systems this summer and adding additional entrances. Glacier National Park is also introducing a reservation system to enjoy its famed viewpoints on the Going-to-the-Sun Road between May 26 and September 10. Tickets go on sale on February 1st.
Outside of the ticketed systems, additional entrances, and slotted reservations, some parks are also introducing vehicle reservations. To use Montana as an example, again, vehicle reservations will be opened up in booking windows by using a block-release system. This means that on a certain day, a chunk of reservations will open up. For instance, on Feb. 1, reservations for May 26 through June 30 will open up. A small portion of reservations will be available on a rolling basis at 8 am, 24 hours in advance.
Montana isn’t the only one implementing reservation systems. See a full list here.
Our tips for National Park visits
Plan ahead and figure out when and which park you want to visit. Go to their official website to get up to date on any new visitor rules they may have including shortened trip length, vehicle reservations, new entrances, and more.
Set calendar reminders for when the booking windows open up. That way you don’t miss your chance to take in the views.
Consider going off-peak season to avoid the crowds.