Anyone looking to explore a national park for free in 2014 should mark his or her calendar. The National Park Service has nine fee-free days on the calendar in 2014. On the dates, all 401 national parks will offer free admission, though only 133 usually charge admission, according to the National Park Service (NPS). See the list below for this years dates and plan a trip to your local park. If you’re active military or family, you can also get a FREE Annual Pass to the National Parks. Mark your calendar for these free fee days in 2014:
- April 19-20 for National Park Week’s opening weekend
- Aug. 25 for National Park Service’s 98th birthday
- Sept. 27 for National Public Lands Day
- Nov. 11 for Veterans Day
While entrance, commercial tour and transportation entrance fees are waived on these days, some fees — such as those collected by third parties — will not be waived. For anyone looking for a national park, here are a few parks to consider visiting when the fees are waived: Yosemite National Park: With its stunning glacier-sculpted geology, abundant wildlife and world-class recreational opportunities, Yosemite, 200 miles east of San Francisco, is one of the crown jewels of America’s national park system. Yosemite’s granite wonderland was carved by massive glaciers around three million years ago, when ice covered all but the highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada.
Sequoia National Park: Sequoia is home to the largest tree in the world, by volume. Redwoods are taller, but giant sequoias win for sheer mass: the General Sherman’s trunk has a volume of 1,487 cubic metres and is estimated to weigh over 2,000 tonnes. Sequoia also boasts 4,421m Mount Whitney, the high point of the John Muir Trail, which runs through Sequoia on its way up to Yosemite. Lassen National Park: The park is capped by 10,462-foot Lassen Peak, the world’s largest volcanic dome. Lassen’s 1915 blast makes it one of only two volcanoes to have erupted in the continental US in the 20th century (the other being Washington’s Mount Saint Helens in 1980). After the eruption, which laid waste to vast swaths of surrounding land, Lassen Volcanic national park was created to preserve the devastated areas for future observation and study. Visiting the area now, nearly 100 years later, is a dramatic lesson in the Earth’s own healing powers; it still bears vast scars of hardened lava, but between the rocks, the flora and fauna are flourishing. “National parks not only protect and preserve the places we most value; they also add enormous economic value to nearby communities and the entire nation,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a news release. “…Fee-free days are a great way to both thank those visitors and introduce parks to first-timers who can find a new place to call an old favorite.” *Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.