Yosemite National Park will not require reservations to visit in 2023, which is good news for travelers and tour operators who have been frustrated with a reservations system that doesn't enable them to make bookings far in advance.
Reservations have been required of drivers entering the park by car between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. from May 20 to Sept. 30 since the summer of 2020.
Yosemite introduced the reservation system in 2020 to manage an increase in travelers who were choosing outdoor activities due to the pandemic. A number of national parks implemented a res system to manage increased visitor volume and curb overtourism.
However, the short booking window has been a thorn in the side of tour operators who book groups months in advance. The website technology also is geared for individual travelers and not groups.
The Yosemite Maricopa County Tourism Board said the national park's decision to suspend use of the reservation system next year is a welcome one that will help make trip planning easier.
"This decision will help our visitors, especially those from other states & countries who tend to plan their once-in-a-lifetime vacations to Yosemite about a year in advance," said Jonathan Farrington, CEO and executive director of the YMCTB. "For our friends who live closer to the region, this allows them to be more spontaneous with their plans to visit."
Yosemite officials said work to redesign its approach to visitor management will begin in December. It also plans to seek out the public's input on how to improve the visitor experience while protecting Yosemite's natural and cultural resources.
Entrance fees remain in effect.