Soon you’ll have to make a reservation to get into Arches National Park
MOAB, Utah — Starting at the beginning of 2022, Arches National Park plans to start using a reservation system to get into the park.
It’s not necessarily forever. The program, launching in April, will be a testing time to see if it helps reduce all the traffic the park is often plagued by.
“By implementing a temporary, timed-entry reservation system, our goal is to better spread visitation throughout the day to reduce traffic congestion and visitor crowding,” said park superintendent Patricia Trap. “We believe this will create a higher-quality experience while maximizing access for our visitors.”
How the reservation system works
The requirement will start on April 3 and go until Oct. 3. The reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis at starting at 8 a.m. MT on Jan. 3, 2022. Reservation opportunities will be posted three months ahead of time. You can make your reservation here.
Once you make a reservation, you’ll receive a timed entry ticket. The ticket gives you a one-hour time slot for entry into the park, between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. There’s no limit on how many hours you can spend in the park, simply the time you can enter it. The park will offer validations, too, so you can leave and come back in the same day.
The number of reservations will be restricted, you can’t get them after 6 p.m. before the day you want to get in the park, and you can’t make a reservation at the park gates. You can make the reservations only, or by phone.
If you’re camping, going into the backcountry, hiking Fiery Furnace, or have a special use permit, concessions contract or a commercial authorization, you won’t need the reservation either.
The reasoning behind the reservation system
Arches National Park saw a 66% increase in visitors between 2009 to 2019. In the real numbers, that went from 996,312 people visiting in 2009, to 1,659,702 visiting in 2019.
The growing popularity of the red rocks and unusual arches has led to lots of traffic backups and overcrowding in the park. It’s impacted the safety, the experience, and the park’s resources.
The solution came out of virtual meetings held by the park back in September, where public comment was included. There was also a 30-day comment period.
And it wasn’t just from that meeting. Calls for a short-term reservation requirement had been going on for the better half of 2021. Arches National Park anticipates the new system will protect the park and provide a better and safer experience for guests.
“Additionally, we will use data gathered from this pilot to adapt and improve this system throughout the season, as well as to inform our future responses going forward,” Trap said.