Itinerary Updates

Thank you again for choosing a Parks Collecting itinerary. It’s designed to take the pain out of planning while still giving you choices to suit your own interests.

Each itinerary is designed so that you can use it this year, next year or whenever you get to the park. Plans change, but I don’t want you to have to buy this itinerary again if your plans do. This is why I created this itinerary to be ‘evergreen’.

However, I also want to make sure you have up-to-date information. The best way to do this is to list all of the major changes here. These don’t include temporary closures that can happen at a moment’s notice, depending on local conditions, but do include any significant changes that occur that might affect your trip. Be sure to always check the National Park Service official website for any last minute changes or updates.

Check here frequently as your trip gets closer.

Click on the national park you’re visiting:

Acadia National Park

Cadillac Mountain Reservations

RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED TO DRIVE TO THE CADILLAC MOUNTAIN SUMMIT May 22 – October 27, 2024. Read all about this here.

Vehicle reservations are on sale on a rolling basis.

30% of vehicle reservations are made available 90 days ahead of each date. The remaining 70% are released at 10:00AM ET two days in advance of each date.

I recommend trying to get one now and if you miss out, try again two days in advance of the date you want to go to Cadillac Mountain.

To make a reservation, you’ll need to create an account at Recreation.gov. Do this NOW so it is all set up well before you go to make the reservation.  This account can be used to permits, lotteries, campgrounds, guided hikes, etc. with the NPS at all the national parks. 

Check the reservation release schedule NOW and mark the exact date and time you need for your trip dates in your calendar. Try to get the time slot that’s on your itinerary.

MAKING YOUR RESERVATION:

  • login to your recreation.gov account at least 10 minutes before reservations can be made
  • search for ACADIA NATIONAL PARK VEHICLE RESERVATIONS
  • click on Cadillac Summit Road – Daytime (unless you plan on getting up early for the sunrise)
  • have a reliable digital clock.  When your clock strikes 10:00AM Eastern Time exactly, immediately click the date and time you need and press REQUEST TICKETS as fast as you possibly can!
  • when you have the date/time you need added to your cart, finish the checkout process. You have 15 minutes to do this before you lose your spot
  • check your email, print off the timed-entry ticket, and take the hard copy with you when you get to the park or take a screen shot and have it on your phone.

If you miss out, try again 2 days before, following the same process. 

Arches National Park

Timed Entry Reservations 

Arches National Park has a timed entry system from 7:00AM to 4:00PM daily, April 1 through October 31, 2024.  

Reservations will allow visitors to enter the park during a one-hour window. For example, a 7:00AM ticket will allow entry between 7:00AM and 7:59AM. 

You need to select a time – try to choose times around your itinerary. You’ll want the 7:00AM – 8:00AM or 8:00AM – 9:00AM time slot. If you miss out, you can get into the park before 7:00AM without needing a permit.

If you are planning to go there for two days, you’ll need to secure a separate timed entry reservation for both days.  

There is no length-of-stay requirement and you may stay in the park for the remainder of the day once you have entered. The only restriction is on the time of entry. You must enter and have your ticket validated within your reserved one-hour window. 

The park will release tickets first-come, first-served on Recreation.gov three (3) months in advance in monthly blocks. Check the NPS website for the exact schedule. 

A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase one day prior to entry at 7:00 PM MDT through Recreation.gov

Timed Entry Tickets will NOT be required

  • If you enter before 7:00AM – so you could get a very early start if you miss out on getting a reservation and still enter. If you miss out on a timed entry reservation and aren’t camping at Devil’s Garden, this would be my recommendation. In fact, getting there that early is a good idea anyway to snag a parking spot!
  • Are camping at Devil’s Garden Campground 
  • Have a permit or reservation for Fiery Furnace (so you won’t need one for Day 3) 
  • Ride a bicycle or hike into the park (hiking is not advisable because of the distances, but bicycles are an option)  
  • Have a backcountry or special use permit 

MAKING YOUR RESERVATION:

  • login to your recreation.gov account at least 10 minutes before reservations can be made (set this account up well in advance)
  • search for ARCHES NATIONAL PARK TIMED ENTRY
  • click 1-day Personal Vehicle Timed Entry
  • have a reliable digital clock.  When your clock strikes 8:00AM Mountain Time exactly, immediately click the date and time you need and press REQUEST TICKETS as fast as you possibly can! You can choose a second date as soon as you have reserved your first date. You can pay for both together after you’ve added the dates to your cart.
  • when you have the date/time(s) you need added to your cart, finish the checkout process. You have 15 minutes to do this before you lose your spot
  • check your email, print off the timed-entry ticket, and take the hard copy with you when you get to the park or take a screen shot and have it on your phone.

Visitor Center  

The Visitor Center is not currently showing movies

Fiery Furnace 

Fiery Furnace guided hikes are extremely popular. You can book them online – read more on the NPS website.

The Heat

Summer temperatures in Arches National Park can often exceed 100°F. To take this into account,   

  • get into the park as early as you can so you are starting in the coolest time of the day. Try to do as much of the itinerary as you can before it gets too hot.  
  • avoid the longer, more strenuous hikes in the afternoon when it’s hottest. 
  • consider taking a break in the afternoon then head back into the park in the late afternoon/ early evening to finish off your day. 
  • carry more water than you think you’ll need and drink often.
Bryce Canyon National Park

Shuttle

The free scenic shuttle tour out to Rainbow Point is not being offered in 2024, so unfortunately, this option is not available. You will need to drive your own vehicle there.

The regular shuttle will operate April 5 – October 20, 2024.

Navajo Loop Trail

The Wall Street side of the Navajo Loop Trail has been closed until further notice due to rockfall and retaining wall damage. The Two Bridges side of the Navajo Loop is still open, however, so you can hike this side of the Navajo Loop of you do the Queens Garden – Navajo Loop hike.

Grand Canyon National Park

Water

Tusayan Pueblo Museum

This is currently closed. You can go to Zuni Point instead (see option A for that day)

Desert View Watchtower

The steps to the top of the tower are now open when staffing allows, from 9 am to 5 pm. Capacity is 25 people in the tower at one time. At ticket system admits 25 people with a 20 minute time limit. 

  • Tickets are 1st come 1st serve and admission is free to the public.
  • You must be present to receive tickets, no tickets are held for future times.
  • No guided tours are available.

Shuttles

Check the NPS website for service schedules.

The Heat

Summer temperatures in Grand Canyon National Park can often exceed 100°F. To take this into account,   

  • Get into the park as early as you can so you are starting in the coolest time of the day. Try to do as much of the itinerary as you can before it gets too hot.  
  • Avoid the longer, more strenuous hikes in the afternoon when it’s hottest. 
  • Consider taking a break in the afternoon then head back into the park in the late afternoon/ early evening to finish off your day. 
  • Carry more water than you think you’ll need and drink often.
Grand Teton National Park

Moose-Wilson Road

The Moose-Wilson Road has undergone a major construction in the last two years. They are still finishing it off but the road is now open to through traffic with possible 20-minute delays.

Campground Reservations

All campgrounds in Grant Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway are made through the NPS website recreation.gov. You will not be able to make reservations through local campground call centers or websites.

All are reserved on a rolling basis 6 months out, so book exactly 6 months to the day the minute that reservations open to get a spot (they are all very popular, especially in summer).

A limited number of sites will be held back at the Colter Bay and Gros Ventre Campgrounds for reservation on a 14-day rolling basis.

Campground2024 Opening Date
Gros Ventre CampgroundApril 26
Jenny Lake CampgroundMay 6
Signal Mountain CampgroundMay 8
Colter Bay CampgroundMay 23
Colter Bay RV ParkMay 2
Colter Bay Tent VillageMay 24
Lizard Creek CampgroundJune 14
Headwaters Campground at Flagg RanchMay 10
Mount Rainier National Park

Timed Entry Reservations

Reservations will be needed to enter these sections between 7:00AM and 3:00PM:

  • Paradise Corridor from either the Nisqually Entrance via State Route 706 or Stevens Canyon Entrance via State Route 123 from May 24 to September 2, 2024.
  • Sunrise Corridor at the White River Entrance via State Route 410 from July 3 to September 2, 2024

You DO NOT need reservations if:

  • You enter before 7:00AM or after 3:00PM
  • You have a reservation for a lodge or campground in that area. If you do, you can enter after 1:00PM on the first day of your reservation and then throughout your stay.
  • You have a permit such as a wilderness or special use permit, in accordance with the terms on your permit.

How to get entry tickets/ make reservations

Tickets can be purchased on Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.

Tickets become available on the following schedule:

  • To enter Paradise May 24 – July 31 become available February 21, 2024
  • To enter Sunrise July 3 – July 31 become available April 1, 2024
  • To enter Paradise or Sunrise August 1 – September 2 become available May 1, 2024

Some additional spaces will also become the day before at 7:00PM Pacific Time.

Reservations are for a specific time and you will have a 2-hour window to enter the park (within two hours starting at the time of your reservation).

Cost of reservations

$2 per vehicle

Grove of the Patriarchs

The Grove of the Patriarchs is CLOSED to all public entry, due to flooding. Construction to replace the bridge is scheduled to begin summer 2027. The Grove of the Patriarchs parking lot and restrooms will have normal seasonal access, along with the Eastside and Silver Falls Trails. 

For OPTIONS A and B, park at the Grove of the Patriarchs parking but skip the hike. For OPTION C, skip the hike completely.

Olympic National Park

Spruce Railroad Trail

The trail is currently closed. For the 4-day itinerary, on Day 1 choose options A or C.

Hurricane Hill

The Visitor Center at Hurricane Hill was completely destroyed by fire in 2023, so there are no shops or restaurants there. The NPS has also limited the number of spaces available each day. The earlier you can get there, the better.

Lake Crescent Boat Cruises

The scenic boat cruise on Lake Crescent is not operating in 2024.

Yellowstone National Park

Roadworks 2024

There will be two major road improvement projects this year that will cause delays.  

  1. Lewis River Bridge (Nearly 10 miles north of the South Entrance on the South Entrance Road).  Expect up to 20-minute delays May-Oct.  In addition, nearby pullouts and the trail to Lewis River Falls will be closed during construction.
  2. Yellowstone River Bridge (Near Tower Junction along the Northeast Entrance Road). Expect up to 30-minute delays. Hiking trails in the area may temporarily close during the duration of the project. Visit the Backcountry Situation Report for details.

Accommodation Reservations

The reservation system for Yellowstone lodging booked through Yellowstone National Park Lodges operates on a 13-month prior rolling advance date.

Reservations open at 12:00AM (midnight) MST/ MDT online or 7:00AM MST/ MDT on the phone on the fifth of each month for the same month the following year.

So you can book on:
April 5, 2024 for stays any time April 1 – 30, 2025
May 5, 2024 for stays any time May 1 – 31, 2025
June 5, 2024 for stays any time June 1 – 30, 2025
July 5, 2024 for stays any time July 1 – 31, 2025
Etc.

This is for every month of the year; there aren’t separate windows for summer and winter stays. (Though not everything is open in winter, of course).

Swim Areas

The Boiling River Swim Area is closed until further notice.  The Firehole River Swim Area is open. Check the NPS website for current conditions.

Museum of the National Park Ranger

The Museum of the National Park Ranger is slated to be open July 2- August in 2024, but double check their website, as this does sometimes change. For visits outside these dates, either spend longer at Norris Basin or in Mammoth Hot Springs. Or take the short hike to Beryl Spring (located before Artists Paintpots). 

Hiking Trail Closures

In the Canyon area, Uncle Tom’s Trail is closed (and has been for several years).  Do the Red Rock Point Trail instead. 

Observation Point is also closed due to safety concerns about the stone steps.  Skip this. 

Road Closures

For the most up-to-date information about temporary road closures in the park, visit the park roads web page.

Campgrounds

Norris Campground, Pebble Creek Campground and Tower Fall Campground will be closed in 2024. Mammoth Campground was closed for the 2023-2024 winter season but will reopen in 2024 (dates TBD).  Check the NPS website for updates.

Dining

Many dining options inside the park have changed hours, openings and reservations.  Check here

Zion National Park

Toxic Cyanobacteria

This toxic bacteria is sometimes found in the Virgin River and the streams of Zion National Park. This includes The Narrows. The hike is still open but do NOT submerge your head or filter drinking water from any streams or hike if you have open cuts or sores.

The Narrows

Remember that The Narrows is closed if there is danger of flash flooding or when  flow rate of above 150 cfs. This often happens in spring because of the snow melt, so check with the NPS before setting out.

The Heat

Summer temperatures in Zion National Park can often exceed 100°F. To take this into account,   

  • Get into the park as early as you can so you are starting in the coolest time of the day. Try to do as much of the itinerary as you can before it gets too hot.  
  • Avoid the longer, more strenuous hikes n the afternoon when it’s hottest. 
  • Consider taking a break in the afternoon then head back into the park in the late afternoon/ early evening to finish off your day. 
  • Carry more water than you think you’ll need and drink often.

Access to Emerald Pools Trails

In May 2023, park engineers found that the bridge over the Virgin River near Zion Lodge (Shuttle Stop #5) was shifting on its foundation and so they have closed the bridge (it’s still closed in 2024). This is the main access to the Emerald Pools trails. Since you cannot cross the river at Zion Lodge, to reach Emerald Pools, you need to either:

  • hike out and back on the Kayenta Trail from the Grotto (Shuttle Stop #6); or
  • access the Emerald Pools Trails from the Court of the Patriarchs (Shuttle Stop #4).