Ah, the weekend – a great time to go experience the outdoors!
We drove about 90 minutes from our suburban Denver home to a beautiful high-altitude US Forest Service park above Boulder.
When we arrived at the gate, the park ranger asked, “Do you have a reservation?”
Could we buy a park pass there, like in the good old days? No.
The park ranger told us, “If you drive downhill about 20 minutes, you might get enough cell coverage to go on the website to buy a pass.”
We tried. The website had such bad usability and loaded so slowly that it was impossible to buy the necessary pass.
Two weeks later, we went to a different park to enjoy a hike. This was part of the state parks system.
Foiled again. The same exact thing happened – a different website and a different system, but we were again not able to buy a pass.
The first park’s ranger explained that this was a new system put in place since Covid.
The photo above shows that apparently others were foiled in their attempts to enter the park… the final parking lot at the trailhead was completely empty.
In the end, that first weekend, we hitched a ride from the park entrance to the trailhead with a couple who knew the system and had a pass beforehand. On the second weekend, we found a decent hike just off a main road.
So we did get to hike, but it was an exercise just to find trails we could use.