Summer is just around the corner and it's already shaping up to be another busy travel year - especially when it comes to road-tripping and visiting national parks.
In response to the increased tourism, many destinations have implemented national park reservations systems for 2022.
While it's important to protect fragile ecosystems and wildlife (not to mention give visitors the best possible experience!), gone are the days of deciding to hike your favorite national park on a whim.
This year, you'll need a permit or reservation at many popular national parks — in addition to an America the Beautiful annual pass — whether it's for a specific hiking trail or even to enter the park.
National Park Reservations Guide
Regardless of which park(s) you want to visit, they each have very different reservations systems. Here's a guide to everything you need to know for 2022!
Considered one of the pioneers of the national park reservations system, Haleakala on Maui has been requiring reservations since 2017.
Specifically, permits are required to access the mountain during sunrise, because watching the sun come up above the cloudline from the 10,023-foot summit is a wildly popular bucket list experience.
Psst...did you know Hawaii has mountains this big? Haleakala isn't even close to the biggest! Hawaii's other national park, Hawaii Volcanoes, is home to Mauna Loa, which looms nearly 14,000 feet above sea level!
In order to access Haleakala National Park between 3:00-7:00 AM every single day of the year, visitors must have a reservation. Special note: If you're unable to secure a sunrise permit, visit for sunset!
Sunrise reservations are released on a rolling 60-day basis at 7:00 AM HST, with a small number being released two days prior.
Bottom line: Reservations required 365 days a year to enter the park between 3:00-7:00 AM; released on a 60-day rolling basis.
More information: Haleakala National Park reservations for sunrise
Like Glacier, Rocky Mountain National Park had successful results in 2021 with its first year requiring reservations.
This year, while all visitors are required to have national park reservations during peak times between May 27 and October 10, RMNP will have a unique system. There are two reservation options: one that gives visitors access to the entire park and one that excludes the popular Bear Lake Corridor.
Timed-entry permits for all-park access are required from 5:00 AM - 6:00 PM and non-Bear Lake Corridor permits are required from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM.
RMNP will release an initial batch of entry permits, for visits between May 27 - June 30, on May 2 at 10:00 AM MDT. Beyond that, reservations will be released on the 1st of the month for the following calendar month. For example, August reservations will be released on July 1st.
The park also plans to release 25-30% of reservations one day in advance at 5:00 PM MDT.
Bottom line: Reservations required from May 27 - October 10; two options: all-park access and everything except Bear Lake Corridor. Reservations released on the 1st of the month the previous calendar month.
More information: Rocky Mountain National Park reservations
One of the most popular destinations on the east coast (and one of the best places to leaf-peep in the fall!) will require national park reservations for the first time in 2022.
More specifically, from March 1 through November 30, Shenandoah will require ambitious hikers to have a day-use permit to access Old Rag, one of the park's most iconic features. National park reservations are not required in any other parts of Shenandoah.
There are 800 total Old Rag permits issued each day at 10:00 AM EST. 400 are released on a rolling 30-day period and 400 are released five days in advance.
Bottom line: Day-use tickets required for hiking Old Rag from March 1 to November 30; issued 30 days or 1 day in advance.
More information: Old Rag day-use tickets
While hikers and climbers have long needed permits to hike the renowned Half Dome Cables Route, Yosemite now also requires national park reservations to simply enter the park at peak times.
Visitors will be required to have a reservation between 6:00 AM and 4:00 PM, from May 20 to September 30.
This reservation system sounds similar to other parks; however, Yosemite's is unlike any other.
70% of ALL the season's reservations were released on March 23. Note: at the time of publication, at least a couple hundred reservations were still available for all days.
The remaining 30% of Yosemite's reservations will be released seven days in advance throughout the season.
Bottom line: Reservations required to enter the park between 6:00 AM and 4:00 PM between May 20 and September 30. Reservations available March 23 and then again on a seven-day rolling basis.
More information: Yosemite National Park reservations
As of April 1, all hikers wishing to summit fearsome Angels Landing in Zion National Park will be required to obtain a permit — forever.
Angels Landing permits are issued on a lottery basis, with two separate options: a seasonal lottery and a day-before lottery.
The seasonal lottery is open for one 20-day timeframe each quarter. For example, it will be open April 1 - 20 for people to apply for permits from June 1 through August 31.
The seasonal lottery also allows people to choose timeslots: pre-9:00 AM, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, and after 12:00 PM).
Zion's day-before lottery is open from 12:01 AM to 3:00 PM and permit winners are notified at 4:00 PM for the following day.
Bottom line: Reservations required for Angels Landing only, beginning April 1. Permits can be obtained for 20 days each quarter, or again the afternoon prior.
More information: Angels Landing hiking permits
So which national park reservations are you making this year? We're so excited to hear about your plans!
While you're making those plans, don't overlook souvenirs. The Wander Club's Travel Tokens and national park keychains are the perfect way to commemorate a trip (and they work great to kickstart trip-planning and inspire wanderlust, too!)!