It's already looking like 2022 is going to be yet another record-setting year at Yosemite National Park. As we've seen for the past two pandemic summers, the park recently announced it will curb overcrowding by requiring reservations to enter during peak hours from May 20 through September 30, 2022.

If you plan to enter the park between peak hours (6am to 4pm) between May 20 and September 30, you will need an entrance reservation. The reservation is good for three consecutive days after the date for entry into the park. 

Reservations can be made through starting March 23. Reservations are not needed if you have a permit for the wilderness or Half Dome, have a reservation stay overnight in the park, arrive by public transit or on a permitted commercial tour. 

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Autumn in Yosemite Valley
The stunning sunset is the nightly attraction at Yosemite's Glacier Point © George Rose / Getty Images

Yosemite's new challenges for 2022

In 2020 and 2021, the park managed the influx of visitors wanting to get outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic by implementing a reservation system. This year, along with the challenge of managing the crowds of visitors wishing to visit the park, the park has the added complication of multiple construction projects.

Fueled by funding from the Great American Outdoors Act, the park has undertaken projects to “repair roads, trails, campgrounds, visitor facilities and utility systems" which may have some impact on visitors. Some areas of the park, Like Tuolumne Meadows Campground and Crane Flat Campground, will be closed. Other projects may impact traffic in the park. 

“A visit to Yosemite should be about enjoying the beautiful granite-lined landscape, not sitting in gridlock,” said Cicely Muldoon, Yosemite National Park Superintendent in announcing the return of the reservation system. “Yosemite visitors deserve a high-quality experience in this magnificent place. Our goal with the peak hours system is to ease overcrowding during the busiest times this summer while still offering access for all.”   

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The Yosemite Valley Overlook with summer crowds
The reservation system helps with overcrowding issues that can affect sustainability at Yosemite © photosbyjim / Getty

Do I need a reservation for Yosemite? 

Anyone planning to visit the park between May 20 and September 30 and enter between the hours of 6am and 4pm will need a reservation in addition to paying the park entrance fee or showing an America the Beautiful parks pass. 

If you have wilderness or Half Dome permits, have reservations for an overnight stay at a lodge or campground in the park, or plan to enter the park by YARTS public transit or are on a permitted commercial tour, you do not need a reservation.

You also do not need a reservation if you plan to enter the park outside peak hours, so before 6am or after 4pm, or before May 20 or after September 30.    

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How to get a reservation at Yosemite National Park

To get a reservation, you’ll need to register for an account with Reservations go quickly, so be sure to create your account in advance of March 24. 

Yosemite will offer tickets in two batches. The first and largest batch of reservations —70% of the total reservations available — will go up for grabs on March 23 at 8am Pacific.

The park will then release the second batch of remaining tickets seven days prior to the entry date at 8am Pacific.

The reservation covers one vehicle and its occupants. It is valid for three days including the day of admittance. The reservation costs $2 and you will also need to show a photo ID upon arrival as well as pay the park entrance fee. 

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Safety recommendations and restrictions during a pandemic can change rapidly. Lonely Planet recommends that travelers always check with local authorities for up-to-date guidance before traveling during Covid-19.

This article was first published Feb 17, 2022 and updated Feb 17, 2022.

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