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Some National Parks Will Require Entry Reservations This Summer — Here’s How to Get Them
By Jennifer Melroy
Planning on visiting a National Park in 2021? If you are, it can be a little confusing keeping up with how the parks are adjusting for summer 2021. Here is the current list of National Parks that have altered their operation plans and are requiring timed entry or reservations.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park’s vehicle reservation for Cadillac Summit Road isn’t a COVID measure but it is still something you should be aware of if visiting Acadia National Park.
These permits are required from May 26 to October 19 and are required from 2 hours before sunrise until sunset. Permits are released in two batches.
Advanced reservations are released 90 days in advance. A second batch of reservations are released two days in advance at 10 am ET.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is doing a timed entry for those wishing to enter and do a self-guided tour of the cave. You can either hike in the natural entrance or take the elevator down. These reservations open 30 days in advance.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park will require an entry pass to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road from May 28 to September 6 from 6 am to 5 pm. Entry passes are valid for 7 consecutive days.
The entry passes will be released in two batches – 60 days in advance and 2 days in advance. The 60-day-in-advance passes will go on sale on April 29, 2021, at 6 am MDT. On April 29 passes for May 28 to June 28 will go on sale. After that passes will be available in a rolling 60-day window. About 75% of passes will be released at this time.
The remaining passes will be released two days in advance. The time is a little unclear at the moment, but it is likely at 6 am MDT.
There is a $2 service fee per entry pass.
If you have a service reservation (such as lodging, boat tours, or horseback riding) along the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor between the West and St. Mary Entrance Stations, an entry pass is included for the duration of that reservation. Visitors arriving by foot or bicycle do NOT need an entry pass.
Entry passes are NOT required to access other park roads such as Many Glacier, Two Medicine or Bowman Lake.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is requiring timed entry permits from May 28 to October 31. Rocky Mountain has two timed entry zones – Bear Lake Corridor and the rest of the park excluding Bear Lake Corridor. Rocky Mountain timed entry passes will give you a two hour window to enter the park (or Beak Lake Corridor). These passes do NOT guarantee parking space. You will need a permit for every day you plan to visit the park.
The Bear Lake Corridor will require a timed entry pass from 5 am to 6 pm. These passes allow the holder to enter the Bear Lake Corridor and the park during their assigned time.
The rest of the park will require timed entry from 9 am to 3 pm. If camping in the park, an entry pass is included.
There is a $2 service fee per entry pass.
Permits will be released in two batches. Advanced Entry Permits are released on the first day of the month for the following month at 8 am MDT starting on May 1. May 28-31 permits will also be released on May 1.
A second block of tickets will be released the day before at 5 pm MDT.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park will be requiring day-use permits from May 21 to September 30. Each Yosemite day-use permit will be valid for 3 consecutive days. If you have a reservation for lodging, camping, or wilderness permits, a day-use pass is included for the duration of your reservation or 3 days (which ever is longer). Wilderness permits will be allowed entry the day before camping at the backpacker’s campground. If you have a reservation for Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) or with an authorized tour group, you do not need an additional reservation or permit.
Permits will be released in two batches and cost $2.
Permit release dates:
- May 21 – June 30, 2021 permits are released on April 21, 2021
- July 1 – July 31, 2021 permits are released on April 28, 2021
- August 1 – August 31, 2021 permits are released on May 5, 2021
- September 1 – September 30, 2021 permits are released on May 12, 2021
A second batch of permits will be released 7 days in advance.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is requiring a timed reservation to ride the Zion Shuttle into Zion Canyon. The Zion Shuttle provides access to Scenic Canyon Drive. Along the Scenic Canyon Drive are trailheads for popular trails such as Emerald Pools, Angel’s Landing and the Narrows. Everyone planning to ride the shuttle needs a ticket including people staying at the Zion Lodge or camping in the park.
There are three different Zion Shuttle ticket releases. Advanced tickets are released twice a month on the 16th and the last day of the month for the following month’s visits. These tickets are released at 9:00 am MT.
A second batch of tickets are released one day in advance at 5 pm MT. There are a limited number of walk-up space available tickets release every day between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.
If you can’t get a Zion Shuttle ticket, private shuttles are available or you can rent bicycles in Springdale.