Going outside in 2024? Start planning early

Jan 30, 2024

Many of the country’s most popular national parks have moved toward a reservation system to better manage crowds during periods of high visitation. 2024 will be a continuation of this trend as several of the most high profile parks look to limit crowding and wait times for the public.

Glacier National Park in Montana began accepting vehicle reservations last week for the spring and summer season for access to the west side of the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road. Glacier Superintendent Dave Roemer said the park’s goal “is to learn how effective these systems are at improving visitor experiences and protecting park resources.”

In Washington’s Mount Rainier, park officials say visitation has increased 40 percent in the last ten years. Mount Rainier Superintendent Greg Dudgeon said it is common for visitors “to sit in idling cars for a couple of hours at the entrance stations and then make laps through the parking lots hoping for an empty parking space.”

It’s not just national parks that are drawing crowds—reservations for heavily sought after backpacking permits and hiking destinations have already opened, and the window for securing permits can close quickly. Visiting “The Wave” sandstone formation on the border of Arizona and Utah, or the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota this summer may require securing permits now, or better yet, yesterday.

Quick hits

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Going outside in 2024? Start planning early

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Increased funding sought to improve mapping of Utah’s critical minerals

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Lawmakers aim to fill gap after Supreme Court gutted federal protections for Colorado waters

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Bid to overhaul New Mexico’s oil and gas regulations clears first legislative hurdle

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More species may soon be added to the endangered list

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Colorado’s Kit Carson Mountain could get a new name

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Quote of the day

By now we have all heard how vital it is for the health and well-being of our youth to be active in the outdoors. Not only that, but nature immersion helps our youth develop resiliency and confidence—what kid doesn’t need more of that these days?”

—Anita Evans, Friends of Youth and Nature, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Picture This

A single boulder lies in a dry lakebed with a mysterious long trail behind it. Snowcapped mountains are in the distance.


The Racetrack at @deathvalleynps is a playa (a dry lakebed) best known for its strange moving rocks. A rare combination of ice and wind pushes along the mysterious rocks. Some of them weigh up to 700 pounds and have traveled over 1,500 feet.

When visiting the area, please remember to recreate responsibly and plan your trip with safety in mind! The road to the Racetrack is rough and remote, and good tires, 4×4 and high clearance are usually required. Travel on existing roads and do not move or remove any of the rocks. When the playa is wet, avoid walking in muddy areas and leaving ugly footprints. This helps ensure future visitors will continue to make lasting memories at this incredible place for generations to come.

Photo by Leslie Scopes Anderson

#deathvalley #publiclands #california

Featured image: Source: @glaciernps