‘Grappling with Gridlock’: Yosemite Unveils Brand-New Reservation System to Reduce Congestion in 2024

In an effort to enhance the visitor experience and manage congestion, Yosemite National Park has introduced a pilot program called “Peak Hours Plus” for 2024. This system will require reservations for park entry on select days between April 13 and October 27, 2024, for vehicles entering the park between 5 am and 4 pm.

“Yosemite has been grappling with congestion ? even gridlock ? for decades,” said the National Park Service in a statement. “We want to build from the lessons learned from the last three summer of managed access. We are currently developing the Visitor Access Management Plan in order to design an approach that provides a great visitor experience while protecting Yosemite’s natural and cultural resources.”

Here’s what you need to know about the reservation system:

  • Reservation Requirements: Reservations are mandatory for vehicles entering the park between 5 am and 4 pm on specific dates. The reservation requirements vary by season:
    • April 13 through June 30: Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (May 27 and June 19).
    • July 1 through August 16: Daily.
    • August 17 through October 27: Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (September 2 and October 14).
  • Types of Reservations: Visitors can choose from two reservation types:
    • Full-day reservations (5 am to 4 pm).
    • Afternoon entry reservations (valid for park entry any time after 12 pm). Both reservation types are valid for up to three consecutive days, including the arrival date.
  • Exemptions: Certain visitors are exempt from the reservation requirement, including those with in-park lodging or campground reservations, wilderness or Half Dome permits, and visitors entering via YARTS buses or permitted commercial tours.
  • Reservation Release Date: Reservations for all arrival dates (April 13 to October 27) will be released on January 5, 2024, starting at 8 am (PST). Reservations will be available until they are sold out. Afternoon entry reservations and additional full-day reservations will be released one week in advance.
  • Important Note: If you plan to visit after peak hours, do not arrive before 4 pm, as vehicles blocking roads will be cited.

This temporary reservation system aims to improve traffic flow and provide a better visitor experience in one of California’s most iconic national parks. It builds upon the 2022 “Peak Hours” system and includes more reservations for afternoon entries. Yosemite National Park is actively experimenting with various strategies as part of the Visitor Access Management Plan.

For more information and to make reservations, visit recreation.gov/timed-entry. Additional details are available at go.nps.gov/reserve and information about the Visitor Access Management Plan can be found at go.nps.gov/vamp. Enjoy your visit to Yosemite National Park while helping to protect its natural beauty.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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