Tourists crowd in to the Midway Geyser Basin on July 14, 2021 at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Yellowstone is one of many national parks seeing record numbers of visitors this summer.
Natalie Behring | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park is among the country’s premier spots to view a sunrise.
For half the year, visitors to the 1,530-foot peak — the tallest within 25 miles of the entire U.S. East Coast — are the first in the country to see daylight, watching as the sun’s rays gradually illuminate Frenchman Bay and its many islands in brilliant blues and purples.
That is, if they can find parking.
Until recently, it wasn’t unusual to see 500 cars vie for 150 parking spaces, according to park superintendent Kevin Schneider.
Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine.
Park officials implemented a reservation system this year to cut congestion. Reservations cost $6 per vehicle and must be bought online in advance.
Elsewhere — Yosemite, Glacier, Haleakalā and Rocky Mountain National Parks, as well as the Muir Woods National Monument — are also using advance reservations to access the whole park or popular attractions. Zion National Park in Utah is weighing the same next year for its Angels Landing hike, which sometimes sees visitors wait hours to access the trailhead.
Other heavily trafficked parks will likely take similar measures in coming years if visitor…