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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Visit National Parks For Free In November, January

Utah's national parks are attractive destinations year-round. Bryce Canyon receives heavy snow and becomes a winter wonderland. The same is true of the higher elevations in Zion Park. In other areas, our parks experience mild winters and the next several weeks will bring great opportunities to hike, bike and explore.

On five weekends every year, no entrance fees are charged at properties managed by the National Parks Service. Two of those weeks are coming up:
  • November 10-12 (Veterans Day Weekend)
  • January 19-21, 2012 (Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend)
(Entrance fees will be waved on these weekends, but the parks will still charge for camping and some in-park activities.)

Other free weekends will be over National Park Week in mid-April, Get Outdoors Day in early June and National Public Lands Day in late September. Plan now to take advantage of these weekends at national parks, monuments, recreation areas, wildlife refuges and other federal properties.

Capitol Reef National Park is particularly attractive during winter, offering great desert hikes in sun-drenched areas. The park is open every day of the year but the visitor center is closed on winter federal holidays. Those include Nov. 12, Nov. 22, Dec. 25, Jan. 1, Jan. 21 and Feb. 18.

Traditionally, I take a jaunt to Capitol Reef in mid-winter. Nights are usually cold but days are mostly sunny and mild. I've been wanting to get back into Cathedral Valley, to photograph the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon. The crisp winter air is great for vivid photographs.

I have an American The Beautiful park pass so I don't have to worry about the fee entrance days.

Hope to see you down there.

- Dave Webb

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