Celebrate the 103rd Anniversary of the National Park Service with Free Entrance This SundayAug 22, 2019
On Sunday, August 25, Zion National Park, as well as 111 other national parks, monuments, and other federally protected sites will open to the public with their normal entrance fees waived. That’s because Sunday will mark the 103rd anniversary of the National Park Service.
Every year, the Park Service celebrates its birthday by eliminating entrance fees for 24 hours. This makes it a great opportunity to enjoy the parks while also saving a bit of money. With the trail to Angels Landing now open once again, this weekend is a great time to visit Zion without paying the $20 per person or $35 per vehicle fee that is typically charged.
Angels Landing Reopen to the Public After Maintenance
This past Tuesday and Wednesday, the trail to Angels Landing was briefly closed to the public. The closure was planned ahead of time and allowed park services to perform maintenance on the trail. This included replacing some of the chains that give hikers something to hold onto as they scale the steep, narrow trail.
The trail is open once again. Visitors taking advantage of the free entrance day will be able to visit what is perhaps the park’s most recognizable views.
National Parks with Entrance Fees
This Sunday’s free entrance day isn’t just for Zion National Park. Instead, it’ll give you access to 112 federally-protected sites that usually charge an entrance fee.
There are 418 national parks, national historic and cultural sites, and national monuments across the nation. While these publically-held lands sometimes get a bad rep for charging visitors to get in, the truth is that just over a quarter of those parks, sites, and monuments charge an entrance fee.
Depending on the type of park or monument, the entrance fee may be charged per person or per vehicle. Parks that allow you to drive or walk-in may offer both charges. There are also often upcharges for larger vehicles like RVs and cheaper rates for smaller vehicles like motorcycles. There is no standard entrance fee, which means that fees vary from one park to the next. Entrance fees range from just $5 per person to $30 per vehicle. Most national parks, monuments, and sites also offer a park-specific annual pass that allows for unlimited visits for an entire year.
You can also opt for a national park pass.
Annual Pass Options:
- Annual Pass: Available to anyone, including non-citizens, for $80. Allows for unlimited entrance into all national parks, monuments, historic and cultural sites, and more.
- Annual Pass for U.S. Military: Available to all current U.S. Military members and dependents, as well as for Reserve and National Guard members. This pass is free of charge. Allows access to all national parks, monuments, historic and cultural sites, and more.
- Annual 4th Grade Pass: Available for all U.S. 4th graders, including home-schooled and free-choice learners 10 years of age with a valid Every Kid in a Park paper pass, which can be obtained online. These passes are available free of charge. Allows access to all national parks, monuments, historic and cultural sites, and more.
- Senior Pass: Available for all U.S. citizens or permanent residents aged 62 or older for $80 for a Lifetime pass or $20 for an annual pass. Allows access to all national parks, monuments, historic or cultural sites, and more. The Senior Pass provides a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees in the parks, like camping, swimming, use of boat launches, etc.
- Access Pass: Available for U.S. citizens and permanent residents with permanent disabilities. All applicants will need to provide documentation of disability as well as residency or citizenship. This pass allows access to all national parks, monuments, historic or cultural sites, and more. It also provides a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees, like camping, swimming, use of boat launches, etc.
- Volunteer Pass: Available to all national park volunteers who have logged 250 service hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program. Allows access to all national parks, monuments, historic and cultural sites, and more.
Other Free National Park Entrance Days
Each year, the National Park Service typically hosts five free entrance days. Some fall on national holidays, while others, like this Sunday’s free entrance day, mark celebrations within the National Park Service. The birthday of the National Park Service, August 25th, is always a free entrance day. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Veterans Day and National Public Lands Day, which falls on September 28, are also free entrance days each year.
The final free entrance day is always the first day of National Park Week. Every April, the presidentially-proclaimed National Park Week, hosted by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, celebrates America’s treasured natural spaces. You can join in with free events, programs, and more in parks across the nation. Zion is no exception.
While entrance is free on the first day of the National Park Week, it will cost you to enter any parks with a fee for the rest of the week. Luckily, your entrance fee is always good for seven days, so you’ll only have to pay once. And if you have a National Park Pass, you’ll be able to visit as often as you’d like without paying to get in anyways!
Visiting the Park this Free Entrance Day
This Sunday, August 25 will mark the third free entrance day for 2019. If you can’t make it on Sunday, or just want to take advantage of other great days to visit the park, mark your calendar for National Public Lands Day on September 28 and Veterans Day on November 11. Of course, if you want to enjoy Zion without the crowds that are sure to descend on the park this Sunday, a national park pass or a park-specific pass is a great alternative. If you do decide to visit this week, check out these tips next. While it won’t be the busiest weekend of the year, the free entrance fees are sure to draw a crowd!