2023 National Park Timed Entries and Lotteries

[This blog post will be continuously updated with new information. Last Updated Jan 4, 2023]

As more and more national parks institute timed entries, reservations and lotteries, planning your national park trip requires more advance planning than ever. I have yet to see all this information in one place, which inspired me to do it! To compile it, I visited each national park website in addition to relying on my own experience visiting 35 of the 63 parks. I’ve also linked up the relevant Recreation.gov site for tickets. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know!

Angel’s Landing at Zion is the latest hike to become permitted starting April 3, 2022. Overcrowding here has been drawing criticism for a long time due to the treacherous chain section

I’ve split the information into four parts:

  1. Parks that require lotteries or timed entries for either the entire park or its most popular activities. Arches, Glacier and Rocky Mountain will continue to require timed entries in the summer of 2023, while Yosemite will only require it for the Horsetail Falls Firefall in February.
  2. Parks with popular lodging that requires lottery, waitlist or competitive advance reservation
  3. Parks that require special transportation due to their locations
  4. Parks with other special considerations before you visit

Park: Acadia
What: sunrise at Cadillac Mountain
When: mid-May to mid-Oct 2023
Reserve: 90 days in advance for 30% of the capacity; 10 am 2 days ahead for the remaining 70% https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/400000

Park: Arches
What: timed entry for the entire park
When: April 1 to Oct 31, 2023
Reserve: each month opens 3 months in advance. April tickets open on Jan 10, 2023 at 8 am MST at https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10088426

Park: Arches
What: Fiery Furnace tours
When: always
Reserve: 7 to 2 days in advance. Info at https://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/fiery-furnace-permit.htm; tickets at https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/234668/ticket/10087108

Park: Black Canyon of the Gunnison
What: Inner Canyon wilderness
When: always
Reserve: in person, at the South Rim visitor center and North Rim ranger station
https://www.nps.gov/blca/planyourvisit/innercanyon.htm

Park: Carlsbad Caverns
What: Caverns
When: always
Reserve: 30 days before the date desired https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/234637/ticket/10086811

Park: Congaree
What: Synchronous Fireflies Viewing Event (see also Great Smoky Mountains)
When: May/June
Reserve: TBA, usually starting end of March at www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/300008

Park: Crater Lake
What: boat tours of the lake
When: July-mid September
Reserve: TBA at https://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/boat-and-trolley-tours.htm

Park: Gateway Arch
What: tram ride to the top of the arch
When: always
Reserve: typically 30 days before the date desired https://www.gatewayarch.com/#

Park: Glacier
What: In 2023, a vehicle reservation is required for four areas of the park: Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR), North Fork, Two Medicine, and Many Glacier. Each location has unique details and requires a separate reservation.

Park EntrancePark AreaReservations required forReservations open dates and links
West EntranceGoing to the Sun Road (3-day reservation)May 26 – Sep 10, 2023Reservations open 120-days in advance in blocks.
Block 1: Feb 1, 2023 8 am MST for May 26- June 30
Block 2: Mar 1, 2023 for July 1 -Jul 31
Block 3: Apr 1, 2023 for Aug 1 – Aug 31
Block 4: May 1, 2023 for Sep 1 – Sep 10
The remaining vehicle reservations will be released on a rolling basis at 8 am 24-hours in advance .
https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10087086/ticket/10087087
Polebridge EntranceNorth Fork (1-day reservation)May 26 – Sep 10, 2023Reservations open on the same block schedule as GTSR.
https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10087086/ticket/10088646
Two Medicine EntranceTwo Medicine Valley (1-day reservation)Jul 1 – Sep 10, 2023Block 1: Mar 1, 2023 for Jul 1 – Jul 31
Block 2: Apr 1, 2023 for Aug 1- Aug 31
Block 3: May 1, 2023 for Sep 1 – Sep 10
The remaining vehicle reservations will be released on a rolling basis at 8 am 24-hours in advance (e.g., remaining vehicle reservations for July 1 are available on June 30).
https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10087086
Many Glacier entranceMany Glacier (1-day reservation)Jul 1 – Sep 10, 2023Separate reservation but the details/links are the same as Two Medicine


Park: Great Smoky Mountains
What: Synchronous Fireflies Viewing Event lottery
When: TBA. 2022 event was on Jun 3-10
Reserve: TBA. 2022 lottery was were Apr 29 – May 3 at https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/233374. More info: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/fireflies.htm

Park: Great Basin
What: Lehman Cave tours
When: always
Reserve: up to 30 days in advance https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/251853

Park: Haleakala
What: sunrise at the top
When: every day if entering between 3 am and 7 am
Reserve: up to 60 days in advance; if inventory left, 2 days in advance at 7 am HST https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/253731

Park: Kenai Fjords
What: boat tours of the fjords
When: reservations recommended but not required
Reserve: https://www.nps.gov/kefj/planyourvisit/boattours.htm

Park: Mammoth Cave
What: Cave tours
When: reservations recommended but not required
Reserve: up to 6 months in advance https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/234640

Park: Mesa Verde
What: Cliff dwellings (ranger-lead)
When: dwellings open May to Oct, reservations recommended but not required;
Reserve: available up to 14 days in advance https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/233362

Park: Rocky Mountain
What: timed entry for the entire park
When: May 26 – Oct 12, 2023
Reserve: TBA but this is how it worked in 2022: Starting May 2 at 10 am MDT, then on the 1st of the month at 10 am to reserve up to 2 months in advance. This is for 70-75% of all slots. The remaining 25-30% will be available at 5 pm the day prior. https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10086910

Park: Shenandoah
What: Old Rag Mountain
When: TBA if reservations will continue for 2023. For 2022, reservations were required March 1 – Nov 30, 2022
Reserve: TBA but this is how it worked in 2022: 10 am 30 days in advance for 50% of the inventory (400 slots), then 5 days in advance for the remaining 50% at https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/10088450/ticket/10088451. More info here.

Park: Wind Cave
What: Cave tours
When: always
Reserve: first come, first serve in person on the day of the tour; they sell out quickly

Park: Yosemite
What: timed entry for the entire park
When: Feb 10–12, Feb 17–19, Feb 24–26. Yosemite will NOT require timed entry in summer 2023.
Reserve: 50% of daily availability opens on Jan 13 at 8 am PST. The remaining 50% open at 8 am 2 days prior to the reservation date. https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10086745

Park: Yosemite
What: Half Dome permits
When: usually Friday before Memorial day to second Monday in October
Reserve: pre-season lottery March 1 – 31; then starting May 24, daily lottery 2 days in advance of hike https://www.recreation.gov/permits/234652

Park: Zion
What: Angel’s Landing lottery
When: Always. Trail is closed Apr 3-6 for maintenance
Reserve: Enter lottery Jan 1-20 for hiking Mar – May, Apr 1-20 for hiking June-Aug, Jul 1-20 for hiking Sep – Nov and Oct 1-20 for hiking Dec – Feb 2024. There is also a day-before lottery running Feb 28 – May 30.
https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/angels-landing-hiking-permits.htm

Park: Grand Canyon
What: Phantom Ranch lottery. For cabins only, the dorms are closed until further notice.
When: always; however, due to rehabilitation projects, the lottery is currently paused until further notice and hiker cabins are unavailable starting May 1, 2023. Phantom ranch can be booked through general availability (whatever is left after the lottery) from now through Apr 30, 2023.
Reserve: enter online lottery 15 months in advance from the 1st to the 25th of the month. Drawing takes places in the 14th month before the visit. Unsold or unclaimed inventory opens to the general public on the 13th month prior to the stay month
https://secure.phantomranchlottery.com/phantom-ranch-lottery

Park: Katmai
What: Brooks Lodge lottery
When: June- September every year
Reserve: enter lottery Dec 1 – 31, 2023 for visits in summer 2025. Lottery closes on Dec 31 at 5 pm AST. https://katmailand.com/brooks-lodge-lottery/

Park: Katmai
What: Brooks Camp Campground reservations (not a lottery but they do go fast)
When: May 1 – Oct 31, 2023
Reserve: starting Jan 5, 2023, 8 am AKST (9 am PST, 12 pm EST) at https://www.recreation.gov/permits/249991

Park: North Cascades
What: Ross Lake Resort waitlist
When: May – Oct
Reserve: Join the waitlist now: https://www.rosslakeresort.com/stay

Park: Sequoia
What: Bear Paw High Sierra Camp
When: Closed for 2023 due to fire recovery and improving water infrastructure.
Reserve: 366 days in advance https://www.visitsequoia.com/lodging/bearpaw-camp

Parks that require special transportation due to their locations
Parks with other special considerations before you visit
  • American Samoa – unexpired passport valid for 6 months or more from the date of your visit
  • Big Bend – valid (unexpired) passport required to cross the Rio Grande into Mexico at the Boquillas Crossing
Most unique border crossing – with a row boat over the Rio Grande at Boquillas Crossing in Big Bend National Park

2 Comments on “2023 National Park Timed Entries and Lotteries

    • Thanks I’ll look into it! I’m more of a hiker so no surprise this wasn’t on my radar 🙂

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