Free-entry to all national parks and monuments Saturday

Sep 21, 2022, 3:10 PM | Updated: 3:12 pm
Tuffy (the dog) gazing up at the Milky Way over Metate Arch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National M...
Tuffy (the dog) gazing up at the Milky Way over Metate Arch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. (Christine Kenyon)
(Christine Kenyon)

This Saturday, all national parks, national monuments, and national historic parks will be free to the public as part of National Public Lands Day.

Since 1994, the fourth Saturday of September has been designated National Public Lands Day, celebrated across the U.S. providing free entry.

The holiday is traditionally the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort and was designed for volunteers and visitors to give back, appreciate, discover, learn, and adventure free of charge.

The National Environmental Education Foundation organizes and leads the holiday annually. This year is themed Giving Back Together in celebration of the safe haven provided by public parks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

This September 24, the Utah Office of Tourism is encouraging people to use this opportunity to learn about Utah’s Mighty 5® national parks. Whether it be rolling up your sleeves in volunteer efforts or having your own getaway adventure, the state’s Forever Mighty® initiative encourages travelers to leave places as they found them.

Each national park in Utah is dark sky certified, offering a unique experience after the sun goes down.

Here’s some things to consider if you plan on visiting any of Utah’s national parks.

Arches National Park:

The wonderland of ancient sandstone has many trails with more than 2,000 arches to see. Park rangers offer guided hikes that offer additional park insights and limits the number of visitors on a given trail. Arches National Park is the only national park that requires an entry reservation for daytime visitors.

Bryce Canyon National Park:

Unique spiral-like formations in the red rock called “hoodoos” result from thousands of years of water freezing and thawing, creating the final intricate formations. Bryce Canyon is known by astronomers as a prime destination to observe starry skies. There are free educational and entertaining stargazing programs organized by the parks astronomy rangers at the visitor center.

Canyonlands National Park:

The largest national park in Utah encompasses many adventure opportunities, including hiking, rafting, biking, and scenic driving. Guides can help you pick the best viewpoints and trails, and can offer tours for any experience the park has to offer.

Capitol Reef National Park:

Home of the Waterpocket Fold, Capitol Reef is described as a 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth with cliffs, canyons, domes, bridges, and more. The rocks invite rock climbing and canyoneering, though a permit is required.

Zion National Park:

The land where natives and pioneers once walked was Utah’s first national park and is the most visited park in the country. Currently, there is a warning concerning a toxic bacteria in the Virgin River water, so visitors should avoid filtering it to drink or submerging into the water until further notice. The park is known to attract bird-watchers, climbers, hikers, stargazers, and even horseback riders. Permits are now required for some dangerous activities as well as hiking Angels Landing.

While this weekends celebrations are not limited to national parks, visitors are advised to check local weather for heat advisories and flood warnings.


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Free-entry to all national parks and monuments Saturday