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Our incomparable national parks are experiencing a record number of visitors these days, which makes planning your trip as far in advance as possible more important than ever. Fortunately, there are useful online tools to help you.
You’ve probably already done the obvious and checked the National Park Service (NPS) website. There you’ll find links to the official website for each of the 63 parks. Most offer loads of useful information, but they are especially handy for finding each park’s latest COVID-19 protocols, road closures and other alerts.
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And here are more helpful resources that many travelers might not be aware of.
This easy-to-use website — and accompanying app — allows you to reserve campsites and other facilities and services in many parks and public lands, such as cabins at Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and permits for outdoor wilderness camping at Yosemite National Park.
You can also use the site to book many activities requiring reservations (driving to the top of Acadia National Park’s Cadillac Mountain in Maine, for example) and to obtain fishing permits.
Note that reservations for most lodging in the national parks must be made directly through the private companies that manage them, including the iconic lodges in Yellowstone National Park, which are operated by Xanterra.
To begin, just register with the site by entering your name, email address and phone number. They’ll send you an email with a link to create your password. Then log in and start planning.