National Parks Week: Free Entry

Pack your gear, your water, and your curiosity, but worry not about the admission fee to enter your favorite park.

Getty Images/Mike Powell AllSport

NATIONAL PARK LOVE: How much do you moon over those tree-laden, cliff-tastic, waterfall-fabulous, cactus-colorful, trail-terrific, beach-beautiful bastions of wilderness, history, and grandeur? If you can't spread your arms wide enough, in a classic "this much" move, there are other ways to show your devotion to our national parks. The most obvious way is to go to them, and walk gently and reverently among their pines and rivers and boulders, taking all you brought in with you when you leave. Another way is to join a clean-up effort, like the annual Yosemite Facelift. And you can observe National Park Week each April, which spotlights our gorgeous go-tos, the issues they face, the people who work there, and the future of the system. Making this observance all the more easy for everyone is that there are four — count 'em, four — free-entrance days during National Park Week, which makes April the "mostest" month when it comes to pay-nothing days at our parks. A few must-knows about...

NATIONAL PARK WEEK... include the dates, so let's start there. The week is on from April 15 through 23, 2017, and that does indeed coincide with Earth Day, should you want to honor that holiday with a communion with nature. The free days, though? They fall on the weekends of National Park Week, do note, so you're looking at April 15 and 16 and April 22 and 23. That's right, the whole week isn't free, but the weekends are. And, true, not every national park charges a get-in fee, but some do, like Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park. There are several doings happening during the week, from ranger talks to tours, so plan now, then get to packing.

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