Mark your calendar for this year’s free entrance days at our National Parks

People gathered to look at Grand Canyon from viewpoint
Mather Point View at Grand Canyon South Rim

Did you know there are 20 national parks, monuments and historic sites in Arizona? Everyone knows about Grand Canyon, but there are many more natural wonders to explore on federal land in Arizona.

If that’s not enough incentive to get out and explore our public lands, get this: a few days each year, the National Parks Service allows free entrance to all park properties.

Large petrified trees lie in pieces in a section of Arizona's Painted Desert
Large petrified trees lie in pieces in a section of Arizona’s Painted Desert

Take Petrified Forest National Park for example. Just a few miles from the town of Holbrook, you can explore hundreds of acres of land where the fossilized remains of massive prehistoric trees adorn the landscape. Bonus: a sizable swath of the beautiful Painted Desert passes through the north end of the park. You can also experience ancient ruins and petroglyphs.

Then there’s Saquaro National Park near Tucson. Explore trails that weave through stands of Arizona’s iconic cactus that are so tall and dense you’ll feel like you’re walking in a forest.

Free Entrance Days at our National Parks for 2023:

  • Monday, January 16 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Saturday, April 22 – First Day of National Park Week
  • Friday, August 4 – Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • Saturday, September 23 – National Public Lands Day
  • Saturday, November 11 – Veterans Day

Summary of national parks, monuments and historic sites in Arizona

  • 3 National Parks
  • 5 National Historic Places
  • 12 National Monuments and Historic sites

Admission to all of them is free on the special dates above.

color shaded map of Arizona with five regions

Spotlight on national parks and monuments in Arizona by region

Plan your visit to a national park in Arizona with the interactive map and detailed site offerings at nps.gov.

Northern Arizona

North Central Arizona

Southern Arizona

West Coast

How much is admission to National Parks on normal days?

Daily admission fees vary from park to park. To enter Grand Canyon National Park, a 7-day pass costs $35 per vehicle. A permit to Petrified Forest or Saguaro National Park is only $25. Many of the national monuments and historical sites are free to access year-round.

Best value: annual pass

If you plan on visiting multiple park properties throughout the year, the America the Beautiful annual pass is the best value at $85 per year. Free and reduced rate passes are available for military members, seniors, some parks volunteers and, get this, fourth graders.

How the National Parks came about

America’s National Parks are the result of efforts by the U.S. Government to designate certain federally-owned land parcels as “public parks or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Yellowstone National Park was the nation’s first, after receiving Congressional approval in 1872. Next came Sequoia (1890), Mt. Rainier (1899), Crater Lake (1902) and Yosemite (1890).

Grand Canyon National Park received its designation in 1919. President Herbert Hoover signed Saguaro National Park into existence in 1933. Petrified Forest didn’t have national park status until 1962, but earned protection as a national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.

Check out nps.gov online for more details about the many national park properties in Arizona. That’s the best source of information about park availability, admission fees, special programs and more.

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