Joshua Tree National Park, free to enter (along with all the rest of them) this Sunday, Aug. 25. Ashley Urdang/KQED
Joshua Tree National Park, free to enter (along with all the rest of them) this Sunday, Aug. 25. (Ashley Urdang/KQED)

All National Parks Are Free to Enter This Sunday

All National Parks Are Free to Enter This Sunday

National parks across the nation will be free to enter on Sunday, including popular California destinations like Muir Woods, Yosemite and Joshua Tree.

To celebrate the National Park Service's 103rd birthday on Aug. 25, every Park Service site that usually charges an entrance fee will offer free admission to all visitors.

This is one of three remaining free days coming up in 2019 — the next ones take place on Sept. 28 and Nov. 11.

Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park. (Craig Miller/KQED)

Read on for a few of our recommendations in and around the Bay Area, and remember: Sunday's entrance fee waiver doesn’t extend to activities like camping, special tours, boat launches or transportation.

Muir Woods

Usually costs: $15 per adult

Muir Woods National Park (Lauren Hanussak/KQED)

Home to towering ancient coast redwoods, Muir Woods — a short drive north from the Golden Gate Bridge — is still breathtaking, no matter how many times you've visited. The raised accessible boardwalk means this national park is particularly suited to visiting folks with reduced mobility, wheelchair users and families with kids.

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Bear in mind that while Muir Woods' entrance fee is waived on Sunday, you'll still have to pay for your (now mandatory) parking reservation or shuttle reservation. These spots fill up fast, so we'd recommend securing yours now if you're hoping to take advantage of the free National Park Day.

Yosemite

Usually costs: $35 per car

Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park. (Craig Miller/KQED)

Less than four hours' drive from the Bay Area, Yosemite National Park offers iconic rock formations like El Capitan, incredible waterfalls, ancient giant sequoias and a huge expanse of wilderness.

If you haven't been before — and a startling number of Bay Area residents have never visited — Sunday's free National Park Day might be a good opportunity.

Joshua Tree

Usually costs: $30 per car

Joshua Tree National Park (Ashley Urdang/KQED)

Joshua Tree National Park's famously surreal landscape brings together the two distinct desert ecosystems of the Mojave and the Colorado, and offers some of the darkest night skies around.

A version of this post was published in April 2019.

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