America is home to 62 National Parks spanning from coast to coast and they are a sight to be seen.
Except everyone else in the world thinks so to, which often makes them crowded and full of tourists standing in your way of soaking in the natural beauty (and snapping some killer photos).
But for a once in a lifetime opportunity, you may have the chance to visit one of the greatest National Parks in America – and have the entire park to yourself. Well, sort of.
Yosemite National Park
Located in sunny California (yes Cali does have a few redeeming qualities), Yosemite National Park is one of the most stunning parks in America.
From towering waterfalls and rock formations to the beauty of the lakes and wilderness – people from everywhere make the journey just to get a glimpse of this natural wonderland.
And we’re not talking thousands…
… we’re talking MILLIONS.
As in nearly 4.5 million people visited Yosemite National Park in 2019!
That’s a lot of tourists.
But with so many people flocking to Yosemite, it ruins the entire experience of enjoying nature in its rawest form.
When trying to enter, you’ll likely experience gridlocked traffic not moving anywhere.
And once you get in, you’ll often spend HOURS searching for a parking spot.
Okay, so even if you thought ahead and took public transportation into the park…
… and while you can get around Yosemite Valley on shuttle busses – you better believe those busses are massively crowded too.
Sitting in standstill traffic for hours doesn’t exactly put one in the best mood to enjoy their day, now does it?
Then of course once you actually do park your car and attempt to explore, you’re sharing the park with the rest of the world.
So much for peace and quiet.
But then enters COVID-19 – the game-changer that changed travel forever.
No longer are there massive crowds, because Yosemite has drastically reduced the number of people allowed in the park!
But don’t think you can just show up early and get in – you’ll be sent away.
The good news is, you still have a chance to visit Yosemite – and experience it without people (and cars) buzzing all around you.
Condé Nast Traveler reported:
“The park is having a magical moment with less crowding and more wildlife sightings, says longtime park ranger Scott Gediman. “We might never get the chance to see Yosemite this way again in our lifetimes,” he says. After a recent visit to the park, my third, I can confirm that Gediman is right. I found the park transformed. There were no traffic jams or clogged parking lots, and it felt like my kids and I had miles of popular trails all to ourselves.”
How To Get In
To get into the park you need to make a reservation, but you better act quick!
Reservations are gone almost as soon as they are made available to the public.
Simply go to recreation.gov to request your permit which is then valid for seven days.
Yosemite’s website reports 80% of reservations (1,700 passes per day) are available at 7am Pacific Time on the first day of the month for the following month. For example, reservations for October were made available September 1st.
Missed your chance?
The remaining 20% of reservations (340 passes) are made available two days before your arrival (so if you planned to visit the park October 28th, on October 26th at 7am passes will be made available).
The cost is $2 per reservation and $33 per car.
Beginning November 1st, reservations will no longer be required.
There aren’t many silver linings with COVID-19 but this could be one of them.
So if you’re looking for a last minute fall trip before winter rolls in, consider Yosemite National Park. You might never get another chance to experience this park in all its glory again.
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