Acadia to Conduct Reservation System Dry Run

Acadia National Park’s reservation system is slated to go into effect in 2021. A dry run of the system is planned for October of 2020.  Cadillac Mountain and the Ocean Drive portion of the Park Loop Road are slated to be part of the reservation system test.

Acadia to Conduct Reservation System Dry Run

As part of its formal transportation developed over the past two years, Acadia National Park is slated to begin a reservation system for access to the most congested parts of the park in 2021. A dry run of that system is scheduled for some time in October of 2020. That test will affect access to Ocean Drive and the summit of Cadillac Mountain only. 


Plans for the dry run will be finalized later this spring. The questions and answers below cover what we know now.

I thought the park was waiting until 2021?

October provides an opportunity to do a dry run of the reservation system at a time when visitation slows. This will be a chance to learn and adjust the system during the winter season before implementation in 2021.

Which locations will require a parking reservation during the test?

Park planners are exploring the idea of parking reservations for Cadillac Summit Road and along Ocean Drive, past the Sand Beach Entrance on Park Loop Road. You only need a parking reservation if you plan to access those areas in a private vehicle during peak times.

What about the Jordan Pond House area?

The Jordan Pond House area is not currently slated to be part of the test. Cadillac Mountain and Ocean Drive are the top priorities. 

Will the Island Explorer schedule be extended if the dry run goes past Columbus Day when service traditionally ends?

That is one of the details still under consideration by park and Island Explorer officials. To find out more about visiting Acadia without taking your car, visit our car-free options page.

How can visitors make a parking reservation?

Establishing an online reservation portal  is being explored. Some reservations would be available months in advance while others would be held back until just a few days prior. 

Cost of reservations?

Officials still have a lot to work out and will announce details as they become available. Those making reservations will still have to purchase an Acadia access pass or show existing passes such as NPS senior and annual passes. To find out more about purchasing a park pass, visit our pass info page.

What exactly is the reservation for?

A reservation permits access to a controlled area by private vehicle during a set time window. Those with reservations can stay as long as they want. As envisioned now, reservations would not be for specific parking spots nor would they guarantee a parking space would be available.

Will buses be required to have a reservation during the dry run? 

Commercial buses and taxis will not be required to have a reservation. Commercial buses, tours and other entities operating in the park must obtain a commercial use authorization. Those wishing to take photographs or video commercially or hold events are required to obtain a permit. Find out more at the Acadia’s permit page

Read more:

Mount Desert Islander News Article

Reservation test article in Outside Magazine