Saturday, July 24, 2021
Saturday, July 24, 2021

National Parks reaching capacity limits by 9 a.m. Visitors turned away

A barrage of tourists has descended on the National Parks, particularly Utah’s Zion and Arches National Parks. The pandemic confinement has fueled the need to travel to top tourist destinations in a big way. Along with crowded campgrounds, the National Parks are experiencing crowding like never before. If you’re visiting during the park’s busiest times, summer afternoons, be prepared! You may want to take a rain check if looking for serenity and peace to experience these amazing natural wonders.

The parks are closing their gates when capacity numbers have been reached and not opening again until enough people have exited, sometimes not even until the next day. Arches often reaches their limit by 9:00 a.m. Waiting to get in can be several hours in a hot car.

Zion had over 80,000 more visitors in May of this year compared to May 2019. Arches had over 25,000 more.

Some people are calling for a reservation system. That begs the question, “Do we really want recreation.gov handling this crowding too?”

##RVT1007b

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Jay Ward
19 days ago

We used the reservation system this June for the Mt. Evans road in Colorado. It was a breeze. No trouble getting a reservation, our National Parks pass was honored, the fee was only $2 and we could enter the area for three days. Hate to see the necessity for this but the system is easy to use.

CeeCee
20 days ago

We visited GCNP south and north rims in May. We got to the south rim by 6:00 AM. It was getting crowded by 10. When we left at 2 PM, parking lots were full and about 200 cars were lined up to enter the park. North rim wasn’t as bad. As for Zion, you must buy shuttle tickets (sold only online) two weeks before the day you plan to visit, or try for tickets at 5:00 PM the day prior to visiting, to even enter the park. Forget about driving out there without shuttle tickets. Bryce has optional shuttles, which we recommend, but there are places you can drive your car that the shuttle doesn’t go.

John T
19 days ago
Reply to  CeeCee

The day I went, the North Rim was so quiet that they didn’t even man the entrance station.

KCP
20 days ago

Yes we want Recreation.gov handling it. Why wouldn’t we?? The parks are run by the government. Its their website…? We are in Colorado atm. Local areas are busy and visitors are again spending $ at local establishments. We used the reservation entry system for both Mt Evans and Rocky MNP. It was easy. They release a bunch of tickets 1 month in advance and then another bunch a couple days beforehand. Both locations were moderately busy but nothing like the crush and long traffic backups you would normally expect. It was just so wonderful to have a little bit of extra room to enjoy these scenic destinations. Buying the passes was super easy. It took only a modicum of planning. The camping & recreation world has changed (as this newsletter repeatedly covers). To expect to just show up and get into one of these parks “like the good ol’ days” is living in the past. The reservation system works and works well. Having 1st hand experience with it, we can’t recommend it enough.

g crawford
20 days ago

I live in the St George Utah area and I wish California would add Utah to their do not travel list. Sick of the California attitude.

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