In order to manage expected high volumes of visitors this summer, there are several US national parks that will require reservations.  Here are all of the US national parks that have reservations requirements, entry permits or mandatory shuttle tickets this summer.  Plus, some insider tips for how to get national park reservations. 

No time right now to discover which national parks require reservations or entry permits this summer?  Pin It and save it for later: 

Which National Parks Require Reservations
US National Parks You Need a Reservation For

Please note this post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at zero cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full Disclosure for more information. If you have any questions, please contact me.

FREE DOWNLOAD
Subscribe to regular updates with tips for planning, travel inspiration and trip ideas and get instant access to the free PDF of this
Guide to Which National Parks Require Reservations

Glacier National Park 

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a breathtaking mix of mirror-like lakes, towering mountains and stunning glacier-carved valleys.   

It has one of the most famous scenic drives in US national parks, the Going to The Sun Road.  This road is an absolute must-do in the park.  Consequently, it is extremely popular and gets very crowded.  In recent years, entry to it has often been closed for several hours a day due to the high volume of visitors.   

To help alleviate this congestion and minimize crowding, the park has limited the number of people who can enter the Going to The Sun Road each day this season. 

Here is a summary of the reservation system for Glacier National Park, but for full details, read my detailed Guide to the Glacier National Park Ticketed Entry System

Type of entry tickets/ reservations

Access to the Going to the Sun Road between 6:00 am and 5:00 pm. 

Period reservations are needed for

Access between May 28 and September 6, 2021. 

How to get entry tickets/ make reservations

1) 75% of the tickets are released at 8:00 am Mountain Time each morning 60 days in advance  

2) 25% of the tickets are released at 8:00 am Mountain Time two days in advance 

Entry tickets are only available online at the NPS reservation system.  They will not be available at park entrance stations, visitor centers or park offices. 

Cost of tickets/ reservations

$2 per vehicle 


Yosemite National Park 

Yosemite National Park

Due to its proximity to major urban centers such as San Francisco, and its truly breathtaking scenery, Yosemite National Park is one of the country’s most popular parks.  People flock to the park to enjoy its towering granite peaks, beautiful lakes, stunning waterfalls and even sandy river beaches.   

To help reduce crowding, the park will limit the number of people who can visit the park for the day. 

Here is a summary of the reservation system for Yosemite National Park, but for full details, read my detailed Guide to the Yosemite National Park Ticketed Entry System. 

Type of entry tickets/ reservations

Access to the national park as a day visitor between 5:00am and 11:00pm.  

Period reservations are needed for

Access between May 21 and September 30, 2021. 

How to get entry tickets/ make reservations 

1) Most tickets go on sale at 8:00 am Pacific Time between April 21 and May 12 (see my detailed post for exact release dates) 

2) A limited number of tickets go on sale seven days in advance 

Entry tickets are only available online at the NPS reservation system.  They will not be available at park entrance stations, visitor centers or park offices. 

Cost of tickets/ reservations

$2 per vehicle 


Rocky Mountain National Park 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is another of the most popular national parks in the US.  With towering mountain peaks, dozens of stunning lakes, endless vistas and thundering waterfalls, it is an ideal place to get out into nature.  However, plenty of people have the same idea, and the park gets extremely crowded in the summer, with parking lots full by early morning and shuttle buses often crammed.   

In order to thin out the crowds this summer, the park has introduced a timed entry system

Here is a summary of the reservation system for Rocky Mountain National Park, but for full details, read my detailed Guide to the Rocky Mountain National Park Timed Entry System

Type of entry tickets/ reservations 

Timed entry to the national park as a day visitor.  

1)  Access to the whole of the park, including the main Bear Lake Road corridor between 5:00am and 6:00pm. 

2) Access to most of the park but excluding the main Bear Lake Road corridor between 9:00am and 3:00pm.  

Period reservations are needed for 

Access between May 28 and October 11, 2021.  

How to get timed entry tickets/ make reservations 

1) 75% of the tickets are sold at 8:00 am Mountain Time approximately 30 days in advance 

2) 25% of the tickets are sold at 5:00 pm Mountain Time the day before arrival 

Entry tickets are only available online at the NPS reservation system.  They will not be available at park entrance stations, visitor centers or park offices. 

Cost of tickets/ reservations

$2 per vehicle 


Zion National Park 

Zion National Park

UPDATE: As of 05/28/21, the reservation system for Zion National Park’s shuttle service has been discontinued. If you already have a shuttle ticket, you will be given priority for the time slot on your ticket; however, tickets are not necessary. Just show up and hop on the next available shuttle whenever you want. It is free.


Acadia National Park 

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is one of the most popular national parks on the east coast.  The park has miles of rocky shoreline, bays dotted with islands and plenty of wooded peaks to hike. 

The highest peak in the park is Cadillac Mountain.  The views from the top of the mountain over the surrounding seas, islands and forests are stunning.  For several months a year, this is the point at which you can see the earliest sunrise in the country.  Throughout the year, it is a popular place to see the sunrise and enjoy the views throughout the day. 

It is possible to hike to the summit, but there is also a road.  A very popular road.  In order to prevent overcrowding, there is now a timed entry system to access the road (the rest of the park is reservation-free, however, though a park entrance fee applies). 

Here is a summary of the reservation system for Acadia National Park, but for full details, read my detailed Guide to the Acadia Cadillac Mountain Reservation System.  

Type of entry tickets/ reservations 

Vehicle access to Cadillac Summit Road, which goes to the top of Cadillac Mountain.  

1) Sunrise reservations are required for entry in a two-hour window starting between 3:30 am and 5:00 am depending on the month. 

2) Daytime reservations are required for entry in a 30-minute window between 6:30 am and 8:00 pm, varying depending on the month. 

Period reservations are needed for 

Access between May 26 and October 19, 2021. 

How to get entry tickets/ make reservations 

1) 30% of the tickets are released at 10:00 am Eastern Time 90 days in advance of each date.  

2) 70% of the tickets are sold at 10:00 am Eastern Time two days in advance of each date. 

Entry tickets are only available online at the NPS reservation system.   

Cost of reservations

$6 per vehicle 


Haleakala National Park

Haleakala Sunrise

Haleakala National Park has the highest peak in Maui.  After watching the sunrise here, Mark Twain wrote “It was the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed, and I think the memory of it will remain with me always.” Sunrises have been popular ever since, and to control crowding, the national park has had a reservation system for the sunrise at the summit in place for several years now.

Type of entry tickets/ reservations

Access to the summit entering between 3:00 am and 7:00 am. 

Sunrise occurs (Standard Hawaiian Time) at:

January 1: 6:56 am
January 15: 6:58 am
February 1: 6:55 am
February 15: 6:48 am
March 1: 6:39 am
March 15: 6:27 am
April 1: 6:12 am
April 15: 6:00 am
May 1: 5:50 am
May 15: 5:42 am
June 1: 5:38 am
June 15: 5:38 am
July 1: 5:41 am
July 15: 5:46 am
August 1: 5:52 am
August 15: 5:57 am
September 1: 6:02 am
September 15: 6:0 6am
October 1: 6:10 am
October 15: 6:14 am
November 1: 6:20 am
November 15: 6:28 am
December 1: 6:38 am
December 15: 6:47 am

Note that the summit is about 30 minutes from the park entrance.

This is an entry ticket and not a parking ticket per se. However, the number of tickets issued for each morning matches the number of parking spaces available, so you will get a parking space. There are four parking lots and you will need to park in whichever one you are directed to by a ranger.

Period reservations are needed for

Access all year round

How to get entry tickets/ make reservations

1) Most tickets tickets are released at 7:00 am Standard Hawaiian Time each morning 60 days in advance  

2) The remainder of the tickets are released at 7:00 am Standard Hawaiian Time two days in advance 

Entry tickets are only available online at the NPS reservation system.  They will not be available at park entrance stations, visitor centers or park offices. 

Cost of tickets/ reservations

$1 per vehicle. There is a limit of one reservation per vehicle every three days.


Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods

Muir Woods is home to towering redwoods. It’s close to San Francisco, and therefore very convenient to visit for many people, but if you plan to drive, you should be aware of the reservation requirements.

Type of entry tickets/ reservations

Reservations are required for all car parking.

Period reservations are needed for

Access all year round

How to get entry tickets/ make reservations

You can reserve a parking space online here.

Cost of tickets/ reservations

  • $8.50 standard vehicle
  • $30.00 medium vehicle
  • $45.00 large vehicle

Note that this does not include the $15.00 per person park entrance fee, which is extra.


Tips For Making Reservations at National Parks 

All of these reservations will be extremely popular and will most likely book out in minutes, if not seconds.  Here are some tips to help you get the reservations you want. 

1.  You need to have an account set up on the NPS reservation system in advance.  I strongly recommend creating your account well in advance.  You can do this right now!  You only need to do it once, so if you have previously made a reservation at a national park for a campground or guided hike, for example, you will already have an account.  If you have an account, make sure you remember your login details.

2. Be logged in to your account before the time the tickets go on sale and proceed through as much of the reservation system as possible, so you are just a click away when the tickets go on sale.  Have your credit card handy.  You will have 15 minutes after clicking Book Now to enter all your information and finalize the booking.

3. If you want multiple days/ reservations, be logged in under different browsers on and/or different computers.   

4. If you are traveling with other people, have them be logged into their own accounts and try to reserve at the same time.  Be aware, though, that all of the special entry reservations are non-refundable.  If that is OK with you, you can all try and then if you manage to get more than one, cancel the extra times (you won’t get your money back, but by cancelling, you will make that space available for someone else, so if you do this, it is very important to cancel any unused reservations). 

5. Have a reliable digital clock that shows the exact correct time and at EXACTLY the time the reservations become available, enter the final required information and click Add to Cart. Don’t hesitate or stop to check anything. Those few seconds may make the difference.

6. You now have 15 minutes to enter your payment information and complete your order.

6. If you miss out, try again 15 minutes after the release time.  The system times out for uncompleted bookings then and additional spaces can become available. 

6. If you miss out on advance reservations, check if there is another release a day or two beforehand.  This is the case for some of the parks, and this gives you another chance.  Note, however, that the majority of tickets are sold further in advance, so don’t rely on the last-minute releases. 

7. Have a Plan B in case you miss out.  There are usually plenty of awesome things to do in the areas surrounding the national parks that are usually less crowded.

8. If you get tickets, make sure you take them with you (plus ID).  Do not rely on having cell service, as it is spotty in many of the parks.  Print it out (the reservations page; not the receipt) or take a screen shot that you can show on your phone without needing cell service or WiFi. 


Good luck and enjoy the national parks this summer!  

Do you have any other tips for getting tickets for US national parks?  I’d love to hear them.  Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.    

FREE DOWNLOAD
Subscribe to regular updates with tips for planning, travel inspiration and trip ideas and get instant access to the free PDF of this
Guide to Which National Parks Require Reservations

If you found this post helpful, please share the love and Pin it to your US National Parks board!  

US National Parks You Need a Reservation For
Which National Parks Require Reservations
WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR PLANNING PROCESS?

Are you just starting to think about taking a national parks trip? Get Inspiration
Are you starting to plan a trip to a national park? Read my National Parks Guides
Do you want an itinerary to help plan your trip? Check out my Detailed Itineraries
Are you ready to book your trip? Use these Planning and Booking Resources

About the Author 

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents.  He has visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.

He has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.

Read more…


Parks Collecting is a participant in the Amazon.com Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.