2022 Timed Entry Pilot Report Findings

Three hikers in colorful backpacks walk across a long sandstone fin overlooking a series other fins and rock features on a sunny day.

NPS/Veronica Verdin

What was the purpose of the 2022 timed entry report?

Arches National Park implemented a pilot timed entry system in 2022 to help determine if a timed entry system could be viable as a future solution for managed access at the park. Arches monitored key data, including visitor experience quality, visitor awareness of the program, total ticket sales, daily and hourly vehicle arrivals, parking lot use, vehicles-at-one-time, entrance line length and vehicle processing times, and the number of temporary entrance gate closures.

Using data collected during the pilot, the park developed a report to determine system strengths and areas for improvement. The report uncovered three primary findings:

  • Visitor experience quality improved

  • Parking access improved

  • Vehicle processing times increased, but temporary closures were eliminated

Arches used these findings and other report data to make operational improvements to the 2023 timed entry pilot.

What’s new in 2023?

  • Timed entry hours were reduced to 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., which allows more access to the park before and after operational hours.

  • Dates were changed to April 1 – October 31 from April 3 – October 3 to decrease confusion.

  • The NPS website immediately directs all visitors to the reservation information page to increase visitor awareness.

  • Annual (valid at all NPS sites) and daily (Arches-specific) park passes can now be purchased in advance on Recreation.gov. Previously, park-specific passes were sold only at the entrance booth. This should help decrease vehicle processing times and reduce wait times at the entrance.

  • Showing photo ID is no longer required for timed entry tickets. This also should help decrease vehicle processing and entrance road wait times.

  • Faster internet was installed at the entrance booths to speed up credit card transactions and vehicle processing.

  • Ticket oversell allocations, which should reduce no-show numbers, have been set to approximately 30%. This number may change throughout the season as we analyze this year's data.

  • Now, 60% of tickets are available three months in advance and 40% are available at 6 p.m. the day before. Last year, the numbers were roughly 75% and 25%, respectively. This should increase available tickets for spontaneous visits.

  • Exemptions for campers, Fiery Furnace ticket/permit holders, Special Use Permits, film/photography permits, commercial use authorization holders and concessioners remain in place.

Read the full report.

What’s Next?

Arches plans to initiate a public planning process later in 2023 to develop a future visitor use management strategy using input from stakeholders, government representatives, and members of the public.

Return to the Timed Entry Frequently Asked Questions page.

Last updated: April 28, 2023

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