7 essential tips for finding trailhead parking in national parks

National parks offer beautiful landscapes for hikers to explore, but finding a parking space can be a challenge. It's important to plan ahead, arrive early in the morning or later in the day, consider alternative modes of transport, explore less-travelled trails and be prepared for a longer hike if necessary.

The benefits of using a GPS device to plan your trip and track your route are invaluable. You will be able to plan your route in advance and navigate easily to your destination. If you get lost, you can locate yourself quickly.

Plan ahead

Planning is key to finding a parking space for trailheads in national parks. Talk to friends, search maps and websites to find the ideal trail. Check the national park's opening hours and seasonal restrictions, and make sure you have all the necessary permits before you set off.

Get there early or late

If you want to be sure to find a parking space, it is important to arrive early in the morning or later in the day. The most popular trails are very busy, so arriving early is often the best option. Alternatively, waiting for other hikers to finish their day's hike may offer opportunities to find a parking space.

Consider alternative modes of transport

There are alternative ways to access hiking trails without having to worry about finding a parking space. Here are three options:

Public transportation 

Many national parks offer public transportation options to access hiking trails, so you don't have to take your car.

Keep in mind that public transportation schedules can be limited, so plan accordingly.


Carpooling is another option to consider. Try to organize your trip with friends or other walkers who are heading in the same direction.

This will reduce the number of cars on the road, which is good for the environment and can help reduce the number of parking spaces needed.


Cycling towards the hiking trails is another option. Many national parks have cycle paths, providing a quick and efficient way to reach the hiking trails.

Make sure everyone in your group is able to keep up with the pace of the bike ride, and be prepared for a little extra exercise before you set off on the hike.

Explore lesser-used trails

Lesser-used trails can provide additional options for parking at trailheads in national parks. Although these trails may be less popular, they often offer scenery that is just as spectacular as the more popular trails.

Using the real-time track of a GPS device is an excellent way to stay on track. Fitness apps can be used to help you determine distance travelled and weather conditions. Using online tools to search for hiking trails can help you in your search for the perfect hike, providing notes on difficulty levels and trail length.

Be prepared for a longer hike

Being prepared for a longer hike than you had planned can help you find a parking spot. Remote areas, mountain peaks, and isolated locations may have parking available. In addition, being prepared to venture further afield means you may have the opportunity to discover new things.

By following these tips for finding a parking space for national park hikes, you'll be better prepared and more confident in your upcoming adventure. So set out to discover new trails, while remaining prepared for the unexpected.

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