New admission protocols to benefit visitors have been added to Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.

Experts predict this change will help relieve overcrowding and deliver an improved park experience for visitors. It will also create new challenges for travelers who now need to plan further ahead to be assured entry on the day and time of their choice.

This world-renowned, red rock playground is one of the most popular National Parks in North America. Visitation grew to new heights in the 2021 season, the busiest year on record. Many people had to wait hours in line before being admitted. Others were turned away altogether and asked to come back the next day.

One option for securing a visit to Arches involves making advance reservations through Under a timed entry system, each registered visitor (an individual, couple, group or family is covered under a single booking) will be assigned a one-hour time slot between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time. They will be able to enter the park anytime during that one-hour window.

The new timed-entry program will run from April 3 to Oct. 3, 2022. Reservations will open three months in advance. For example, visitors who hoped to go to the park in April needed to reserve a slot beginning Jan. 3, 2022. There will also be small numbers of last-minute tickets made available every day for the following day, since not everyone is able to plan their visit so far ahead.

Another good strategy is to leave the car behind and arrange to visit the park under the guidance of a professional tour operator. Moab Adventure Center, the go-to hub for all things adventure in the region, has arranged guided tours throughout the season and is not limited by these new restrictions. This will be a benefit for those who aren’t able to plan their park visit so far in advance.

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