Yosemite National Park is scrapping reservations next year

A woman holding a Polaroid camera while hiking next to a lake in Yosemite
(Image credit: Jordan Siemens)

Yosemite is ending its visitor reservation system next year, meaning you'll no longer need to book a timeslot to visit the park during the summer months. The system was introduced in 2020 to help control visitor numbers and enable social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic, and was renewed in 2021 and 2022 as the park underwent critical repairs.

Anyone wanting to visit the park between May and September required a ticket to enter during peak times. Reservations had to be bought online in advance; if you arrived at Yosemite without one, you weren't able to buy one on site,

Now, as Backpacker reports, the National Park Service (NPS) has decided it's time for that to end. In a tweet, the NPS said Yosemite had long suffered from congestion and gridlock, and there were lessons to be learned from the last three years of "managed success".

The announcement has been met with a mixed response. Some visitors appreciate that they'll no longer have to compete for a coveted ticket and will be able to visit spontaneously, whereas others say they will miss the peace and quiet of the last three years.

"Glad to hear this," said Nima Wicks of Boulder, California. "Some of us have very unpredictable schedules and getting to go on a trip cannot be planned months in advance sometimes. Reservations also disappear in minutes when they are released online. Looking forward to new and creative ways to limit congestion though.

"Had a great experience with the reservation system," said climber and hiker Travis K. "Minimal traffic, on the roads or trails. Keep something like it. Nothing is worse than seeing our national parks turned into parking wars."

The NPS does still urge you to make a reservation if you're planning to stay overnight to ensure you're not left without a place to sleep. You can book lodging through the NPS website up to a year in advance. The park is also keeping its entry fee of $35 per vehicle, which is valid for seven consecutive days.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.