Outdoor adventures and nature pursuits have gained in popularity in the US due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in national parks seeing a boom in visitation numbers.
As a result, several parks are implementing ticketed entry systems for day visitors to facilitate social distancing and prevent overcrowding. Visitors should bear in mind that most tickets will have to be purchased in advance. Here are the details of the requirements from some of the country’s popular parks.
Acadia National Park
The popularity of Acadia National Park in New England means that it is one of the most frequented sites in the country. Visitors can enjoy watching the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain, which gives amazing views over the Atlantic, but vehicle reservations will be required for access from 26 May through October 19. There are two options, the first of which is a two-hour “sunrise” reservation, with the time frame changing from 3.30am to 5.30am as daybreak times alters.
There is also a daytime reservation with a 30-minute entry window, with 30% of entry slots being released 90 days in advance and the remainder two days prior to each date. Reservations cost $6 and do not include park entry fees. Tickets are available online here.
Sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park © OGphoto/Getty Images
Glacier National Park
Glacier is one of the most spectacular national parks and is located in the Rocky Mountains. It is implementing a ticketed vehicle entry system from 28 May to 6 September for its historic Going-to-the-Sun Road, the 50-mile, vista-laden strip of asphalt, which offers drivers access to some of the most astounding sights in the Rockies.
A $2 entry reservation ticket must be purchased by day visitors entering by car or motorcycle via Camas Road, St Mary or West Glacier between 6am and 5pm, in addition to park entry fees. The tickets are valid for seven days, and 75% of the reservations will be available 60 days in advance from 29 April, with the remaining 25% available here two days in advance.
Visitors can drive on the Going-to-the-Sun Road © Loki1100/Getty Images
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park in California is famous for its spectacular waterfalls and massive granite rock formations, notably El Capitan and Half Dome. It is implementing a ticketed system for day visitors entering by private vehicle from 21 May through 30 September. Each $2 permit is valid for three days between the hours of 5am and 11pm and doesn’t include park entrance fees. Initial ticket sales open on 21 April here, and a limited number of reservations will become available seven days before the desired entry date.
The El Capitan rock formation at Yosemite National Park is spectacular © Andy Kennelly/Getty Images
Rocky Mountain National Park
The crown jewel of Colorado’s national parks, Rocky Mountain National Park is hugely popular. To avoid overcrowding, it is introducing a two-tiered permit system from 28 May to 11 October. The regular day reservations are for entry between 9am and 3pm, and they exclude access to the busy Bear Lake Road. Permits for the Bear Lake Road Corridor allow for entry between 5am and 6pm. The $2 day entry permits will go on sale on 1 May, and the park will sell 75% of permits in advance and the remainder at 5pm on the day prior to entry.
Bear Lake is a popular attraction at Rocky Mountain National Park © cvm/Shutterstock
Further information can be found on Recreation.gov’s website here.
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