Entry to Arches National Park and some parts of Zion National Park will require reservations this summer as a way to combat congestion in the Utah national parks.
These pilot programs will help the parks deal with their large increase in visitors over the past few years as well as provide data for the parks’ future use.
Arches: Timed entry
Arches National Park will require a timed entry ticket for each vehicle entering the park April 3 through Oct. 3 between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“Arches is implementing a temporary, pilot timed entry system to help manage traffic and congestion in the park,” park rangers said in a video about the change. “We encourage you to plan ahead and be prepared well before your visit.”
More than 1 million visitors visit the eastern Utah park each year. Arches is most crowded from March to October with the most visits in May, June and September.
Park rangers have had to delay entries to the park for 3–5 hours almost every day for the past few months because of parking congestion.
Arches park rangers said they hope the program will help them make a better experience for everyone as they gauge the optimal number of people to have in the park. They will record data during this period and use that to plan future park regulations.
The tickets are available in monthly blocks three months in advance. Next-day tickets will also go live at 6 p.m. each day.
Zion: Seasonal lottery
Hikers wanting to visit Angels Landing at Zion National Park this summer between June 1 and Aug. 31 will need to enter a seasonal lottery for a permit.
The deadline to apply for the lottery is April 20. There will also be a day-before lottery open every day from 12:01 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Permits will not be required for the hike to Scout Lookout, to enter the park or to ride the park shuttle.
Angels Landing is a popular challenge because of its beautiful views and because segments of its trail are only a few feet wide with thousand-foot drop-offs on either side.
“We’re doing this to help improve visitor experiences in the park while protecting park resources,” Zion said on their facebook page. “We’ve heard your feedback about traffic on the way to Angels Landing, and we want to make your visit to Zion memorable for all the right reasons — not because of crowding and congestion on the trail!”
This pilot program is part of a long-term plan to provide data on how Zion can best fulfill its visitors’ needs.
Zion National Park surpassed 5 million visitors for the first time ever in 2021.