If you’re planning a vacation to Arches National Park in 2022, stop what you’re doing and read this. Beginning April 3, 2022 and continuing through Oct. 3, 2022, Arches National Park will require visitors that want to enter the park during peak hours to have a timed-entry pass. This pass is in addition to the park entrance fee everyone pays when they drive through the entrance of the park. Without your timed-entry pass, you will not be able to get into the park.
Why a timed-entry pass? Arches National Park is one of the most popular parks in the country, and because of that, visitors in the past several years have experienced unprecedented traffic, full parking lots and congested trails. With that came a level of frustration that many hoped to leave at home when they set out for the national park. For instance, during 2009 to 2019, visitation to Arches grew over 66%, from 996,312 to 1,659,702.
By implementing a timed-entry system, park officials aim to create a more positive visitor experience that allows you to leave big-city traffic and parking issues behind. In the past two years, Rocky Mountain National Park and Yosemite National Park have had timed-entry passes in place. And in both cases, traffic has subsided and visitors have been able to experience the parks without the throngs of people who were showing up in years prior.
In Arches, you’ll need the pass to enter between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Plus, your ticket will have an entry time and you need to enter the park within that hour window. Don’t be late. The good news is once you’re in the park, you can come and go as you please for that day. Allow plenty of time to get to the park and to possibly wait in line.
How to Get Your Timed-Entry Pass for Arches National Park
So, here’s how you can get a timed-entry pass for Arches. On Jan. 3, 2022, park officials opened reservations at 8 a.m. MST for travelers wanting to visit Arches between April 3 through April 30. On Feb.1 at 8 a.m MST, you’ll be able to apply to get a timed entry permit for the month of May, plus you can peruse the calendar to see if there are any remaining reservations that weren’t booked for April.
Here’s the complete schedule for when the timed entry pass reservations will open on recreation.gov. You’ll want to log in or call as soon as reservations open at 8 a.m. MST since you’ll be competing against everyone else who also wants to visit when you do:
- April reservations (April 3–30) open Jan. 3, 2022.
- May reservations (May 1–31) open Feb. 1 2022.
- June reservations (June 1–30) open March 1, 2022.
- July reservations (July 1–31) open April 1 2022.
- August reservations (Aug, 1–31) open May 1, 2022.
- September reservations (Sept, 1–30) open June 1, 2022.
- October reservations (Oct. 1–3) open July 1, 2022.
What If I Don’t Have a Timed-Entry Pass for Arches?
What happens if you don’t secure your timed entry pass for the day you want to go in? Don’t show up at the park expecting to get in because you will be turned away.
However, if you want to gamble, park officials have reserved a small number of passes to be available at 6 p.m. MDT the day before you plan to visit at recreation.gov. There’s no guarantee you’ll get one of these limited passes, so be sure to have plan B ready to go into effect if you don’t get a pass. You can either enter the park before 6 a.m., after 5 p.m., or recreate elsewhere in the Moab area. Dead Horse State Park is a short drive from Moab, Utah, as is Canyonlands National Park, plus incredible rafting opportunities down the Colorado River and mountain biking galore on the public lands surrounding Moab.
Good luck on getting your permit. The best advice we have for you? Get online and book right away.