When to Book a National Park Camping Trip This Summer

When to Book a National Park Camping Trip This Summer

All other campgrounds within the park will operate on a first come, first served basis in 2021. St. Mary and Rising Sun Campgrounds will be closed.

Grand Canyon National Park

Looking to stay at the Phantom Ranch cottages at the bottom of the canyon? Year-round, the lottery for these spots opens 15 months in advance of the date of arrival (i.e. a March 2021 submission would be for a May 2022 stay).

As for Mather and North Rim Campgrounds, online reservations can be made up to six months in advance, with spots being available at 10 a.m. ET daily. North Rim is usually open from May 15 to October 31 each year, while Mather is year-round. Desert View is first come, first served only. At the privately run RV park, Trailer Village, reservations can be made up to 13 months in advance.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park shifted all campground reservations to online-only in 2021. The new system launched on January 26, for stays through July 26. Reservations for the rest of the year will become available on a rolling basis, six months before the date of arrival.

As for backcountry permits, requests will be accepted from January 6 through May 15, 2021, for the summer season. The park will reserve one-third of these permits in advance and will retain two-thirds of the permits for day-before walk-ins.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Like many other popular parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park allows car and horse camping sites to be booked up to six months in advance, with sites becoming available daily at 10 a.m. ET. Group campgrounds can be reserved up to a year in advance. Most campgrounds first open sometime between early April and mid-May, with the season usually running until October 31.

This year, Big Creek, Cataloochee, Cosby, and Elkmont open April 2, Abrams Creek opens April 23, Balsam Mountain opens May 14, and Deep Creek opens May 21. Cades Cove and Smokemont are open year-round and can often accommodate last-minute bookings, even during the busy season.

From May 5 through September 1, 2021, the popular Cades Cove Road will be closed to vehicles on Wednesdays to allow more space for hikers and bikers.

Yosemite’s campsites are notoriously tricky to book, but with pre-planning and patience, this view could be yours this summer.

Riley Wong/Getty

Rocky Mountain National Park

Though the park intended to roll out online permit booking for wilderness camping on March 1, the website crashed, and Rocky Mountain announced that it will push back the start date for reservations to March 18 at 8 a.m. MT. (This is for requests to camp between May 1 and October 31.)

Published at Mon, 15 Mar 2021 22:21:00 +0000