State Parks offers two free days in January

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will offer two free days in January, when visitors to state parks will not need a Discover Pass for day-use visits.

The first free day is Friday, Jan. 1, which gives visitors the opportunity to take part in a First Day Hike, a nationwide initiative that aims to get people outdoors New Year’s Day.

To discourage the spread of COVID-19, rangers will not guide First Day Hikes this New Year’s Day. State Parks’ blog Adventure Awaits suggests several ideas for self-led First Day Hikes and activities. State Parks reminds visitors to recreate responsibly by hiking only with members of their household, socially distancing from other groups and wearing face coverings when passing on busy trails.

The second free day is Monday, Jan. 18, in honor of the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

State Parks free days are in keeping with the legislation that created the Discover Pass — a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit required on lands managed by Washington State Parks and the Washington departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife. The Discover Pass legislation provided that State Parks could designate up to 12 free days each year when the pass would not be required to visit state parks. The Discover Pass is still required to access lands managed by WDFW and DNR on these days.

In addition to Jan. 1 and 18, Washington State Parks will offer 10 more free days in 2021: 

  • Friday, March 19 — State Parks’ 107th Birthday

  • Saturday, April 3 — Springtime free day

  • Thursday, April 22 — Earth Day

  • Saturday, June 5 — National Trails Day

  • Saturday, June 12 – National Get Outdoors Day

  • Sunday, June 13 — Free Fishing Day

  • Wednesday, Aug 25 — National Park Service Birthday

  • Saturday, Sept 25 — National Public Lands Day

  • Thursday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day

  • Friday, Nov. 26 — Autumn free day

The free days do not apply to Sno-Parks.During the winter season, December through March, visitors to Sno-Parks will need Sno-Park permits, which are available for purchase online or from vendors throughout the state. For more information about winter recreation permit requirements, visit


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