The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns resulted in millions of stir-crazy Americans getting out of their houses the first chance they got and actually spending quality time outdoors, including at national parks.
But the sudden influx of visitors at the nation's most historic natural sites caused a huge strain on the entire National Park infrastructure. The requirement of reservations soon became the new norm in order to handle the record-breaking traffic.
Some parks have decided to drop their reservation requirements, but some have decided to the new system maybe should have been in place a long time ago.
YOSEMITE, CALIFORNIA - JULY 11: Late afternoon view of the Yosemite National Park and Merced River in Yosemite, Calif., on Monday, July 11, 2022. The sky begins to clear after dense smoke from the Washburn Fire covered the valley earlier Monday. (Pho
Of the 63 major National Parks in the U.S., nine are requiring some type of reservation on top of entrance fees in 2023.
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
2. Arches National Park, Utah
3. Glacier National Park, Montana
4. Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
5. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
6. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
7. Yosemite National Park, California
8. Zion National Park, Utah
9. Muir Woods National Monument, California
Visits to national parks across the U.S. have been trending up in recent years. Utah’s Zion National Park set new visitor records in 2021 as tourism bounced back from the shutdowns imposed during the early days of the pandemic.
A record number of visitors flocked to Yellowstone National Park last year despite fewer hotel rooms and campsites being available because of the coronavirus pandemic and construction projects.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.