Yosemite National Park Visitors Won’t Need Reservations in 2023

by Amy Myers
Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

For the past three summers, Yosemite, along with several other national parks, has implemented a reservation system for accessing the wildest and most beautiful corners of our country. However, according to a recent update from the California-based park, visitors won’t need to save their spot any longer.

In 2020 and 2021, the purpose of the reservations was to maintain safe social distancing while also preserving the park’s natural resources during heavy use. This past summer, Yosemite underwent quite a few repairs to its attractions and amenities. Now that most of the work is complete, officials feel comfortable lifting the reservation system altogether.

“Reservations will not be required to visit Yosemite National Park during the summer of 2023,” the park announced on Instagram. “Reservations were required in the summers of 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and in summer 2022 when numerous key visitor attractions were closed for critical infrastructure repairs.”

“Yosemite has been grappling with congestion—even gridlock—for decades. We want to build from the lessons learned from the last three summers of managed access,” the park stated. “Look for an announcement in December, when we’ll start seeking your help to design an approach that provides a great visitor experience while protecting Yosemite’s natural and cultural resources.”

Yosemite National Park Visitors Aren’t Too Excited About the Elimination of Reservations

For some national park visitors, this might mean less planning and coordination to visit Yosemite and its famed attractions. But from the response received on social media, it appears that the majority of folks are actually in favor of a permanent reservation system.

In the comments of Yosemite’s update, visitors encouraged officials to consider keeping the new system.

“Please consider reservations. I live nearby and visit a lot. It has been such a better experience. I’ve seen so much less bad behavior with reservations such as drone usage, littering, and walking off trail,” one Yosemite National Park fanatic wrote, garnering 143 likes for their take.

Likewise, another recent visitor wrote, “The traffic this past Saturday was awful. Wish you would keep the reservations year round, it seemed to dramatically decrease the congestion and [makes] for a better experience in the park.”

Seventy others agreed with this person’s thoughts.

There were some commenters sitting on the other side of the fence that voiced their opinions, too. In general, the message was that national parks should be accessible without restriction.

“Everyone should be able just to up and go and enjoy the national park when they want, not ‘plan’ a trip months out,” one person wrote. “Now irresponsible visitors ruined that liberty. Too many restrictions.”