With its gushing waterfalls, granite cliffs, and giant sequoia groves, Yosemite National Park has long been one of the most visited sites in the National Park system—2022 alone saw nearly 3.7 million visitors. However, after a summer of severe overcrowding, including overflowing parking lots and waits of up to four hours to enter the park, Yosemite officials have announced they’ll be bringing back a policy requiring reservations for entry during peak periods.
Yosemite introduced a reservation system in 2020 to address higher visitor numbers and public health concerns during the pandemic. The park removed the requirement in November 2022.
Here’s when Yosemite’s newly reinstated reservation system will be required in 2024.
Under the policy, travelers will have to make an advance reservation if they plan to enter the park (or even just drive through) from 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. on these dates:
- April 13 to June 30 (weekends and holidays only)
- July 1 to August 16 (daily)
- August 17 to October 27 (weekends and holidays only)
Similarly, advance reservations will also be mandatory during the famous “Firefall” event. (This natural phenomenon occurs each February where the setting sun hits Horsetail Fall at just the right angle, making the cascade appear to be ablaze.) Those dates are February 10–11, 17–19, and 24–25.
The 2024 reservation system “is built from extensive public feedback, data from three years of pilot reservation systems here in Yosemite, and lessons learned from other national parks,” Yosemite superintendent Cicely Muldoon said in a press release. “This pilot system will inform how we ensure an equitable and outstanding visitor experience while protecting Yosemite’s world class resources.”
Reservations will open for the year on January 5, 2024, at recreation.gov. Park officials plan on making additional reservations available one week prior to each entry date—meaning more reservations to enter the park on July 8 will be available online on July 1, for example. Travelers have the option of choosing a full-day admission pass or an afternoon pass that will start at noon. Each will cost $2 and will be valid for three days. It’s worth noting that in addition to these advance reservations to the national park, visitors will still need to pay the regular entrance fee ($35 for a private vehicle, $30 for a motorcycle, or $20 for a single person entering on foot or bicycle). Those entrance fees are waived on the six fee-free days in 2024, but reservations will still be required on those dates even during fee-free days.
There are some scenarios where travelers wouldn’t need an advance reservation, including if they’re on an organized tour, have lodging or campground reservations within the park, or are entering on public transit.
Yosemite will join seven other parks that required advanced reservations in 2023 and that are expected to carry the requirement into 2024. Typically, these advance reservation requirements only apply to certain busy periods and locations within a park. The National Park Service implements limitations to protect natural and cultural resources from overtourism and help spread visitors over larger areas.
These are the other parks with advance reservations:
- Acadia National Park in Maine (for Cadillac Summit Road)
- Arches National Park in Utah (entire park)
- Haleakalā National Park in Hawai‘i (for sunrise viewing at the summit)
- Glacier National Park in Montana (for Going-to-the-Sun Road, North Fork, and Many Glacier scenic drives)
- Olympic National Park in Washington (for Staircase Campground)
- Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado (entire park)
- Zion National Park in Utah (for Angels Landing Trail)