Arches National Park sells 5,000 tickets on first day, Zion's Angels Landing lottery opens

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After a successful first day of their new visitor management system, officials Arches and Zion National Park still have spring tickets up for grabs.

Arches' spokesperson Kaitlyn Thomas said the park sold 5,000 tickets on Monday, the first day of sales for all dates in April.

"The ticket release went very well yesterday," Thomas said.

After busy 2020 and 2021 seasons, the park is implementing the new timed ticketed entry system to regulate mass visitation and overtourism.

With about 120 tickets available for hour-long slots from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., there were few slots completely sold out for the month of April as of Tuesday, according to the federal website Recreation.gov.

More: Arches National Park to pilot ticketed timed entry system next year: what you need to know

And while Recreation.gov has had some hiccups in the past for the Zion ticketed shuttle system last year, the website operated smoothly for the Arches tickets.

The park is preparing for the busier summer months however as the demand for tickets will increase.

Zion is also implementing a lottery system for the popular Angels Landing hike to help promote safety and regulate overtourism.

There were no hiccups on Monday in Zion either, with spokesperson Jonathan Shafer saying that although park officials don't yet know how many people applied for the Angels Landing lottery, there's still time to apply.

More: Zion National Park's Angels Landing transitions to lottery amid safety, overtourism concerns

How to buy an Arches ticket

Arches National Park is transitioning to a timed-entry ticket system in 2022.
Arches National Park is transitioning to a timed-entry ticket system in 2022.

The tickets are named "Arches National Park Timed Entry Ticket" on Recreation.gov. They are non-transferable and not available for resale.

After paying a $2 reservation processing fee, visitors can then buy or bring the usual park pass or entrance fee with their ID, the park's website said. To get in, visitors need all three things: the ticket, a pass or entrance fee and an ID.

Tickets cover the day in Arches, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and allow visitors to enter during their chosen one-hour period. If visitors are planning on spending more than one day in Arches, each day must have a separate ticket.

Tickets for the rest of the 2022 season are available for purchase on:

  • Feb. 1 at 8 a.m. MST: May reservations (May 1–31)

  • March 1 at 8 a.m. MST: June reservations (June 1–30)

  • April 1 at 8 a.m. MDT: July reservations (July 1–31)

  • May 1 at 8 a.m. MDT: Aug. reservations (Aug. 1–31)

  • June 1 at 8 a.m. MDT: Sept. reservations (Sept. 1–30)

  • July 1 at 8 a.m. MDT: Oct. reservations (Oct. 1–3)

Tickets do not guarantee a parking spot in any area of the park, even the popular sites of Delicate Arch and Devils Garden.

A "limited" number of tickets will be available the day before the ticket date at 6 p.m., but officials are expecting these to sell out quickly.

Visitors line up at the entrance to Zion National Park Thursday, May 6, 2021.
Visitors line up at the entrance to Zion National Park Thursday, May 6, 2021.

While officials were not specific in how many tickets will be available daily, they said "designed to provide the same level of visitor access and opportunities as a typically busy day in 2019, or around 2,700 vehicles per day," though this is subject to change as they learn more throughout the season.

There is no cancellation fee and visitors can leave the park and re-enter with their ticket.

There are exceptions to the new ticketing system.

Visitors with camping, backcountry, Fiery Furnace, or special use permits, plus those with concessions contracts, commercial use authorizations and academic fee waivers do not need a ticket. Tribal members and people cycling or hiking into the park do not need a ticket either.

No tickets will be sold on-site and are only available online, on the Recreation.gov app or over the phone at (877) 444-6777.

More information can be found on the park's website.

How to enter the Zion's lottery

There will be three windows during the day for permits: morning, accessible before 9 a.m., mid-morning, accessible between 9 a.m. and noon, and late-morning, accessible after noon, Zion's Visitor Use Manager Susan McPartland told The Spectrum.

"That is going to help us distribute that use over the course of the day rather than having what we see now which is intensity in kind of one big bell curve of when folks arrive and leave," she said.

Advance permits, covering April 1 to May 31, 2022, are available from Monday to Jan. 20, 2022.

It was a crowded 2021 Thanksgiving weekend in Zion National Park, as seen from Angel's Landing.
It was a crowded 2021 Thanksgiving weekend in Zion National Park, as seen from Angel's Landing.

Hikers can select seven different time slots and dates and will be notified if they've won on Jan. 25.

A select amount of permits will be available for the day before. Applications will be available from midnight to 3 p.m. the day before the permit date, and hikers will be notified if they've won a permit by 4 p.m.

Of a total $9 fee, $6 will be an application fee to cover Recreation.gov costs and the $3 fee will be charged to successful lottery applicants.

Officials said the fee goes to putting more rangers in the park to check IDs and permits, monitor the permit system and give interpretation services.

And this might be just the beginning of permits and timed entry in Zion, officials said.

"It also gives us lessons learned for that wider question of what type of systems have worked for here more long term," McPartland said.

As park visitation continues to rise, decreasing the amount of time people wait in line and in crowds are central goals in a larger visitor management plan, officials said.

"The Angels Landing Pilot Permit Program will inform that planning process," a Friday press release said. "We plan to share an update on the plan and ask for your feedback about it in 2022."

Visitors would still be able to hike the West Rim Trail "up to and beyond" Scout Lookout without a permit, an August press release said.

All permits will only be hosted and issued online at Recreation.gov and will not be available in the park. More information about the permit system and the Angels Landing hike is available on the park's website.

K. Sophie Will is the National Parks Reporter for The Spectrum & Daily News through the Report for America initiative by The GroundTruth Project. Follow her on Twitter at @ksophiewill or email her at kswill@thespectrum.com. Donate to Report for America to support her work here.

This article originally appeared on St. George Spectrum & Daily News: Spring tickets are still available for Arches and Zion National Parks

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