Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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Do you find National Parks to be busier than they ever were before?

We’ve seen the numbers. We know America’s beautiful National Parks are being swarmed with tourists. For the past two years, we, as a country, have been pretty country-bound. With COVID travel restrictions, there hasn’t been much room to plan trips to Europe or other parts of the world. That’s slowly changing, but what’s not changing are the crowds in our National Parks.

Have you been to a National Park recently? If so, do you think they’re busier than they ever were before? Did you notice a dramatic difference in crowds?

After you vote in today’s poll please leave a comment and explain your answer. We’re curious to hear what you have to say, and what your experience was like. We know the time of year and time of day play a big part in crowds too.

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Candelario Medina
6 months ago

Went to Yosemite national park last year. Crowds were okay but the bathrooms at the shopping center were filthy. My wife said it was the dirtiest bathroom she has ever seen.

Deborah Mason
6 months ago

When your need a reservation just to drive into one of the national parks that tells the story. Our last home & workplace, Rocky Mountain NP, started reserving 2-how entry windows. Glacier NP, near where we are now started reserving entry days last year & will continue it this year. Nuff said.

KellyR
6 months ago

Fortunately I was able to visit parks and the surrounding areas in the 50s, 60s, and 70s without crowds or reservations – fantastic memories. With what I read here and see in videos, there is no way that I want to fight crowds and to have to look over them to see the beauty that evidently is now as crowded and impersonal as New York City. People should be able to visit our parks, but today they are not seeing what I was able to enjoy.

Rick
6 months ago

All the bus loads of Chinese and European tourists don’t help matters.

Michael Galvin, PhD
6 months ago

More evidence of the overpopulation crisis.
When I drove to Yosemite to backpack in 1964 never thought about a permit. We just parked and set off backpacking.
Since then, they have made a Lot More people and no more Yosemite with the inevitable result.

Dennis G.
6 months ago

Will have to admit, Yellowstone in 2021 was super busy the first week of June. The crowds were closer to what you would have expected in mid July.

Bob Weinfurt
6 months ago

Can;t say because I haven’t been to one in a few years.

Roy Davis
6 months ago

Considering we’ve been RVing more than 50 years, we’ve definitely seen National Parks getting more and more crowded. Over the past few years it has been happening expeditiously. We’ve discovered the joy of the lesser known parks. They are beautiful in their own way and a whole lot less crowded. We stayed in the Smokey Mountain many years ago but we wouldn’t even try today. It is the most visited NP in the US.

The Lazy Q
6 months ago

I guess I was lucky to have grown up out west. Had the good fortune to visit the Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and California national parks on a regular basis. Even two trips to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons . Experience was unforgettable, relaxed, peaceful and calming. Last went to Yellowstone in September of 2019 had a good time but some of the parking lots were full and we were unable to stop especially at the falls, but the side routes were unbelievable.
Nowadays we do not camp near any major attractions, don’t follow the crowds and if there is something we want to see we will drive to it then return to our out of the way campsite.
Starting next year we will be able to camp opposite the weekenders which hoping to return our camping experience to nice and peaceful Sunday through Thursday, leaving Friday morning.

Tommy Molnar
6 months ago

I couldn’t answer this quiz because we now stay as far away from NP’s as possible. We visited most of the ones we wanted to see YEARS ago. No need to wade into that mass of humanity now. I’m too old and no longer have the patience it requires.

Gene Bjerke
6 months ago

The last National Park we went to was Everglades during the off season. Lots of room, and few bugs.

Laurie
6 months ago

I hate when people say “it’s so easy, just make reservations.” …It’s kinda a pain to make reservations, plus it takes the spontaneity out of it. How do I know where I want to go a year from now, or if I even can make it. Oh how I miss the good ol days!

Don
6 months ago

They certainly are MUCH more crowded than ever before. Partly pandemic related, I suspect, but also just because there are more OF us than ever before. We’ve run into the reservation system with timed entries recently, and I have to say that while I hated the idea, it is doing a good job of keeping the crowds under control. Well done, NPS!

Sue H.
6 months ago

Just spent 3 days near and in Carlsbad Caverns and yes it was busy with spring break families but the reservation system keeps the numbers manageable and a one day reservation for a tour of the caverns was good for 3 days. That meant for us as older folks, 70+, one day we could take the elevator down, walk the big room trail and take the elevator up, two days later we returned with the same ticket, they changed the time to close to when we arrived and we walked down to the cave through the natural entrance. Folks were respectful and whispered or spoke quietly on the trails. Seems like the reservation systems are a savior to the overcrowding at the National Parks.

Kit Frost
6 months ago

I visit our national parks frequently, Canyonlands, Zion, Yellowstone, Glacier. Yes, there are crowds like never before, especially at Zion, but I find my way to the quieter side of the parks, I avoid Angels Landing and the Narrows and enjoy solitude where I find it (if I tell you where, then I can expect crowds!). Try hiking a bit later in the day, try getting on and off the shuttle and enjoy a walk to the next shuttle stop. Avoid early morning and weekends, park and walk when you can; bike too. I visited Zion in November and February, there is NO off season, but you can find solace in our parks if you want to go that extra mile (literally, as lots of folks only like the 1st mile)

Ed K
6 months ago

Depends if you are just visiting or trying to get a camp site.

Mike
6 months ago

We were at Yellowstone, Tetons, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Petrified forest, Arches, Canyonlands and Mesa Verde September and October of 2021. Only issues we had were at Arches where they limit the number of people and at Yellowstone, where parking was very limited at several of the more popular attractions mostly in the afternoon. Just make your reservations early (a year to 11 months in advance) and get an early start in the parks. Try to avoid the summer peak. Make the best of it. Complaining about it isn’t going to help.

jim R
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike

I agree. I went to Canyonlands, Dead Horse SP and Mesa Verde in October and they were not crowded. On the other hand I drove past Arches on a Friday morning around 10am and the cars were backed up two abreast from the gate to the highway a quarter mile back. What was interesting is that at some of the sites in the BLM, like the Needles Overlook and Canyon of the Ancients, I was the only person there.

Joe Allen
6 months ago

After you spend some time in a National Park, you come to realize that people are pigs! No, I didn’t stutter! PIGS! They care nothing of themselves or the ecology. Their graffiti and trash are everywhere. And this isn’t just the younger generation. We saw this especially in Yellowstone NP and I am sure it is everywhere else as well. I was walking into the general store there at Old Faithful last year and a lady in front of me had a wrapper and just dropped it on the ground. I picked it up and asked her if she meant to do this. Hopefully, I embarrassed her enough that she will think twice about doing this again! Wake Up people, this stuff just doesn’t disappear!

Gary Broughton
6 months ago

Spent 18 summers in Jackson Hole and traveled up to Yellowstone about 4 times per summer. In June, July and August we didn’t go because it was too crowded. Lots of Asian tours then more RVs. Didn’t go in 2020 but in 2021 it was overflowing with people and they didn’t care about anyone else. Trashy people had hit Yellowstone and the Tetons. A lot of these people were hurrying to make a National park every day. No RV etiquette from new RVers.