Contact: Mary Wilson, 435-719-2140
The Southeast Utah Group of the National Park Service (Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments) is joining national parks across the country in waiving entrance fees several days in 2015 as a way to encourage people to get outdoors and spend time with their friends and family in the national parks this year.
Park visitors are reminded that the fee free designation applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping, reservations, tours or other special uses. Park entrance stations will have Interagency Senior and Annual Passes available for those who wish to purchase them.
Visitors to the parks can enjoy a wide range of activities such as hiking, photography, driving scenic front country and more rugged backcountry roads, and strolling along pathways that lead to whimsical rock formations and breath-taking desert vistas.
As the National Park Service prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2016, visitors (new, returning, and local) are encouraged to get out and discover (or rediscover) parks and get to know them on a deeper level than ever before. Explore new areas, learn new stories, try new activities, or experience the parks at a different time of day or during a new season.
Park Rangers offer these tips for enjoying the parks in unique and fun ways, and encourage adults to especially share the magic of the parks with children:
Arches National Park: Leave the crowds along the Delicate Arch trail behind and find a bit of solitude along the Sand Dune/Broken Arch loop trail, or;pack some warm clothes, flashlight, and sense of adventure and come on into the park after dark to watch a meteor shower or just gaze at the Milky Way streaking across the dark night sky from Panorama Point, or;stop at the visitor center and pick up a free Junior Ranger booklet and head into the park for a day of exploration followed by a picnic dinner as the sun sets the red rocks around you ablaze.
Canyonlands National Park: Discover a new viewpoint for sunset at Island in the Sky District…..how about watching the shadows creep across the canyons and the La Sal mountains glow pink as the day fades from the Buck Canyon Overlook? Or, grab a flashlight and climb Whale Rock for a panoramic view of it all. Or, maybe venture down to the Needles District of the park to walk the Cave Springs trail and visit the cowboy camp there (to experience the true meaning of "roughing it"), or visit Pothole Point and learn about the "pools of life".
Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments: If you have a bit more travel time how about checking out Natural Bridges National Monument further south? You can climb down into White Canyon via a series of ladders for a birdseye view of Sipapu Bridge ….or, set up your tent at the campground and hold a shooting star contest in this first ever International Dark Sky Park. Or, maybe head over to Hovenweep National Monument and travel back in time 700 years to see how the ancestral Puebloans lived by visiting their ancient dwellings….then, stay overnight at the campground and sleep under a canopy of stars.
So, be our guests…..explore, discover, learn about, play and make memories in, and share the wonders of these and other national parks on one, more, or all of this year's Fee Free Days!
Last updated: February 24, 2015