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Climbing in Yosemite This Summer? You’ll Need a Reservation. 

Yosemite’s reservation system will be in place from May 20 to September 30, seven days a week.

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Yosemite’s walls, crags, and boulders are set to become a bit more complicated this summer, as a new reservation system is scheduled to begin. Last year we covered the launch of Yosemite’s multi-day big-wall permitting system, a pilot program designed, at its core, to protect public land by generating data about overnight climbing usage.

This year, from May 20 until September 30, climbers and sightseers alike will have to reserve their place online before entering the park during its peak hours—from 6 a.m.–4 p.m. If you already have an overnight climbing permit, you do not need an additional peak-hours reservation. The reservation system does not apply to those entering the park before or after its peak hours.

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“Everybody deserves a great park experience,” Yosemite superintendent Cicely Muldoon told the East Bay Times. “If we did nothing there would be gridlocked traffic all summer long, every day.”

Rather than limit visitation, Muldoon said the goal is to “flatten it out” and encourage visitation at non-peak hours. The East Bay Times noted that in 2019, Yosemite saw over 5,000 vehicles on busy summer weekends—the new reservation system will allow 72% of 2019’s peak visitation traffic.

Man climbs Yosemite's El Capitan.
Tommy Caldwell works the Dawn Wall in January 2015. Climbers searching for optimal sending conditions (late fall through early spring) will not be affected by the new reservation system. (Photo: Cory Rich / Red Bull Content Pool)

The reservation system opens on March 23 (one week from today) at 8 a.m PST and allows for one vehicle per reservation. The National Park Service’s website goes on to read:

The temporary reservation system will help manage congestion and provide a quality visitor experience while numerous key visitor attractions are closed for critical infrastructure repairs.

Seventy percent of reservations for all dates from May 20 through September 30, 2022, will be available on Recreation.gov on March 23. Thirty percent of reservations will be available seven days before the arrival date (e.g., make a reservation for an arrival date of September 30 on September 23).

Reservations are available each day at 8 am Pacific time. Reservations are taken almost immediately. Be sure to have an account and be logged in and ready to get a reservation promptly at 8 am Pacific daylight time.

The non-refundable reservation fee is $2 (this does not include the $35-per-car park entrance fee).

Each user can make one reservation for each three-day period. For example, if a user makes a reservation for a Friday arrival (valid Friday through Sunday), the user won’t be able to make a second reservation for an arrival that Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The reservation holder must be in the arriving vehicle and show photo ID at the entrance station.

Peak-hours reservations are valid for three consecutive days (including arrival date). If you don’t have computer access, you can call 877/444-6777 to make a reservation.