The Five Free 2022 National Park Days Are Soon to Start

The National Park Service will honor the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. by offering complimentary park entry on Jan. 17.


What to Know

  • The National Park Service will waive the entry fee at over 100 national parks over five days in 2022
  • Jan. 17 is the first Free Entrance Day on the calendar, in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • More days are to come, in April, August, September, and November

GOOD THINGS COME IN THREES, or so the time-honed, oft-repeated chestnut goes, but those good things that brim with bracing air, stunning vistas, trees that seem to brush against the clouds, and all sorts of incredible critters can and do arrive in glorious groupings of five. At least, that is, if you look at the Free Entrance Days in the National Parks at the beginning of each year, and decide if you'll be able to call upon your go-to national park, or perhaps five different parks, over the course of the upcoming calendar. For sure, not all of the parks charge visitors to enter (Redwood National Park is free to visit all year long, for example), but over 100 of the National Park Service locations do usually have a fee at the gate. But on the five annual Free Entrance Days, those fees are waived, giving people a chance to experience a tree-packed, critterful, sky-big favorite for the first or 50th time.

THE 2022 DATES... were officially announced near the start of the year, with the first one up in January: It's a complimentary day in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday, Jan. 17. That means you can call upon Yosemite National Park, or Pinnacles National Park, two California treasures, without paying anything to enjoy the parks' numerous gifts. You can plan on a hike, a picnic, or some time simply sitting and soaking in the sights, but you might also consider checking to see if any ranger programs are on the calendar (due to the pandemic, many events have been canceled or postponed at the parks). And if you're looking to spring days for a warmer visit, be cheered: The next Free Entrance Day is on April 16, in celebration of National Park Week.

OTHER COMPLIMENTARY DAYS... to come in 2022 include Aug. 4, an acknowledgment of the Great American Outdoors Act, Sept. 24, which is National Public Lands Day, and Nov. 11, in honor of Veterans Day. The full list, and helpful details, can be found on this page.

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