MOAB, Utah — In 2021, Arches National Park shattered a record for most visitors in the park in a single year with more than 1.8 million people.
Since 2010, the park has seen more than a million visitors each year. As a result, the park has had to make some tough calls — such as capping the number of cars allowed into the park each day.
On Sunday, they took their first big step towards addressing the surge of people by rolling out a timed entry pilot program.
Over the last few years, the crowds have grown so much that the park itself has had to stop visitors from coming in at times.
In hopes of eliminating those long wait times and alleviating overcrowding, the National Park Service has rolled out a timed entry system.
Timed Entry begins today through October 3rd, 2022! During this time, you’ll need a ticket to enter the park between 6 am and 5 pm. For more information, visit https://t.co/jbxOUHpuoc— Arches National Park (@ArchesNPS) April 3, 2022
Ready to reserve your #ArchesTicket? Head over to: https://t.co/rERXDgoCs4 pic.twitter.com/Zmxm39blhA
Timed entry into Arches is a pilot program that runs from April 3 to October 3.
People coming to Arches can create an account at recreation.gov and select the date and time they wish to visit.
The park will release tickets three months in advance in monthly blocks.
And for those without an early reservation, some next-day tickets will be available daily at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, just a day before the pilot program began, the park reached capacity by 9:45 a.m. and suggested visitors try to return to the park in roughly 3 to 5 hours.
A park spokesperson sent the following statement to FOX 13 News Sunday night, recapping the first day of the program:
"All of the timed entry tickets were sold for the day, which equates to nearly 2,000 vehicles. The park accommodated those numbers well, so we may adjust our totals in the coming days and weeks.
"As with any new program, some people were unaware of the launch. We did turn around a few vehicles, but fewer than we expected, and many visitors were able to return after 5 pm or make reservations for tomorrow. Overall, the program ran very smoothly for day one."
To learn more about the timed entry system or to make a reservation, click here.