Last year may have been the 100th anniversary of our National Parks, but they are expected to be just as crowded this summer as they were last summer, at least according to park officials at Yellowstone National Park.

To help navigate crowds and make the most of your experience in our National Parks, we’ve prepared a few tips for you:

1. Be on the road at sunrise and sunset. Not only does it make for the most beautiful photos, but starting your days early ensures beating the crowds, catching wildlife during feeding hours and maximizing your time in the parks.

2. Choose less popular trails. At the Grand Canyon, everyone wants to hike the Bright Angel Trail. Instead, opt for a less-traveled trail, like the Cliff Springs Trail. Even backcountry trails are a good option, but do your homework so you know what to expect from the trail.

3. Talk to the rangers. It can sometimes be tough to get face-time with the park rangers, but they can be a great resource in terms of finding the less-traversed areas of the park you are visiting. Save the most popular areas and must-see attractions for early or late in the day.

4. Go during the week. Of course, our national parks are most busy on the weekends, though they can get pretty busy during the week too, especially destination parks, like Yellowstone. Still, you’ll encounter somewhat lighter crowds on weekdays.

5. Use the park website or app. Look the National Park websites and/or apps for updates on park construction and temporary road closures. There’s no sense wasting time sitting behind a huge line of cars that are having to turn around due to a road closure.

6. Pack a lunch. Not every park has restaurants, but those that do are quite crowed at mealtimes. Instead, pack a lunch in your backpack and hit the trails and viewpoints when everyone else is eating lunch in the restaurants.

7. Use park shuttles. Some National Parks, like Glacier and Grand Canyon National Parks, have free park shuttles that can take you around the park. Taking the free shuttle to Logan Pass at Glacier is way better than driving up there on your own and then finding out there’s no parking.

8. Opt for less-visited National Parks. Of course, everyone wants to visit Yosemite and Yellowstone in the summer, but Devils Tower and White Sands National Monuments are just as cool and are a lot less crowded. Save the big ones for the shoulder season.

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