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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 2017 as a way to encourage people to get outdoors and spend time with their friends and family in the national parks this year.
The National Park Service will offer the following fee free days in 2017:
- January 16 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- February 20 Presidents’ Day
- April 15–16 and April 22–23 Weekends of National Park Week
- August 25 National Park Service Birthday
- September 30 National Public Lands Day
- November 11–12 Veterans Day Weekend
Park visitors should remember the fee free designation applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping, reservations, tours or other special uses.
Visitors to the Southeast Utah Group of parks can enjoy a wide range of activities such as hiking, photography, scenic drives, and more rugged backcountry roads, visiting ancient cultural sites, and strolling along pathways that lead to whimsical rock formations and breath-taking desert vistas.
Here are some ranger tips for enjoying the parks in new and fun ways, particularly ways to share these magical places with children.
Arches National Park rangers suggest avoiding crowds and heat (during the busiest months) by visiting either the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint at sunrise followed by an early morning hike in Park Avenue, or Landscape Arch at sunrise followed by a hike to Double O Arch.
Rangers at Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park suggest bypassing the sunrise crowds at Mesa Arch by visiting beautiful Buck Canyon Overlook or White Rim Overlook instead. Or, perhaps you could pack in some food and hike up Whale Rock just after sunrise to enjoy “breakfast with view” from the top - an amazing sea of unique rock formations.
If your travels take you south to The Needles district of Canyonlands with young ones in tow, rangers suggest family friendly hiking options such as the Slickrock and Cave Springs trails.
And don’t forget, if you have a child in your family who has received his/her Every Kid in a Park fourth grade pass to all the national parks in the country, make sure you have both your fourth grader and his/her pass along for free entrance to the parks!