Yosemite National Park reopens with reservation system

Taylor Martinez & CNN Wire

Yosemite National Park will reopen its gates Monday after a series of winter storms caused damage and forced the closure of the park two weeks ago.

For the first week of February, visitors can show up at the park without a reservation.

Between Feb. 8 and through the end of the month, however, visitors will need a reservation to visit Yosemite. The National Park Service said the requirement is necessary to continue controlling crowd sizes in the park during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Reservations for February go online Monday at 8 a.m.

The park service announced it would release 80% of the February reservations on Monday with the remaining 20% released day by day, 48 hours ahead of the date.

Anyone with a reservation at lodging or campgrounds inside the park is automatically granted a reservation.

Yosemite Valley Lodge and the Ahwahnee will reopen on Feb. 5.

The reservation system comes just as photographers are expected to travel from across the country to visit the park for the annual “Firefall” phenomenon. During the last two weeks of February, the setting sun casts a fiery red glow on Horsetail Fall to the delight of onlookers.

The park has not announced whether or not reservations will be required for March and beyond.

Visitors are encouraged to monitor the park’s website and social media channels for changing conditions due to the weather and pandemic.

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