National Park Week typically means free admission the first Saturday to the 417 parks, recreation areas and historic sites managed by the National Park Service — but it’s well worth the price of admission any day of the week! So put down your cell phone and enjoy America the Beautiful with these fun activities!
1. Visit A Park You’ve Never Visited Before
This is your chance to see our nation’s incredibly diverse landscape, culture, and wildlife. You know that national monument or that hike in Zion that’s been on your bucket list for ages? Go and do it! #FindYourPark
2. Try a new adventure
National Park Week is a great opportunity for that big adventure on your bucket list, from adventure hikes to canyoneering and rock climbing. Zion National Park has an abundance of hiking adventures across diverse terrain, including some of the most popular bucket-list hikes: Angels Landing, Zion Narrows,* and Observation Point. (Insider tip: Skip the 2,000+ foot ascent to Observation Point from Zion’s canyon floor, and trek across Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort instead).
3. Take a Nature Stroll
Not up for a great adventure? That’s okay! Most national parks have at least a few paved or flat trails that are suitable for most ages and abilities. In Zion, we recommend Riverside Walk, Lower Emerald Pools, and Weeping Rock. Look for tiny wildlife and a variety of flora as you sightsee through our nation’s pretty parks.
4. Ranger programs
From nature walks and history talks to evening hikes and shuttle tours, National Park ranger programs are a great way to learn about the myriad of natural wonders that surround us. Zion National Park’s ranger-led programs are offered at Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon from April to mid-October, and teach about Zion’s geology, plants, animals, human history and more. For the kiddos, Junior Ranger programs throughout the national park system offer young park-goers the opportunity to complete a series of activities and earn an official Junior Ranger patch and certificate. All ranger-led programs are free for all ages.
One thing is certain: free usually means bigger crowds. The good news is most national parks haven’t reached peak season yet. (That means better deals on lodging, too.) Luckily here in Zion, there’s a quiet, less-visited area of the park that is equal in majesty to the main canyon. The Kolob Canyon section of the park is known for a hike to the famous Double Arch. There’s no shuttle service to Kolob Canyon so you’ll need a car. Inside the main Zion Canyon, however, ditch your car for the frequent shuttles and you won’t have to deal with parking, making your free national park experience that much more pleasant.
To find a National Park near you, visit www.nps.gov/findapark.
*Zion Narrows may be closed often in spring due to flash flooding danger from snow melt and Virgin River flow . Click here for updates.