Martin Luther King Day on Monday is 2023 First Free Entrance Day in National Parks
National Parks- January13, 2023 – In honor of the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., national parks will waive entrance fees for everyone on Monday, January 16, 2023, as the first fee free day of the year. It is also a day of service when thousands of volunteers participate in service projects across the country, including at national parks.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a tireless advocate for racial equality, working classes, and the oppressed around the world. Commonly called Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or MLK Day, the third Monday of January is a federal holiday to honor his life and legacy. Places where he made history and of the greater Civil Rights Movement he influenced are preserved in many national parks and in local communities around the country.
Sierra National Parks Open but with impact from Recent Storms
In the Sierra Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Lassen, Death Valley and Joshua Tree will all be open with free access on Monday. but visitors should know that each park is dealing with some effects from the recent storm systems that have impacted the California landscape.
Severe Storm Impacts in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks What to Expect this Holiday Weekend – Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks has seen an extraordinary amount of precipitation this winter, with the last storm causing serious drainage failures, undermining the road at three different sections of the Generals Highway between Hospital Rock and Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park. Road crews are currently working to protect the integrity of the road before the upcoming series of storms in an effort to minimize longer term damage. Numerous land slides are blocking at least one lane of traffic. Damage is being assessed in collaboration with Federal Highways Administration engineers, and major repairs are expected before it will be safe to reopen to the public. As the weather stabilizes next week we expect to know more and provide an update.
In Sequoia National Park, from Highway 198, the Foothills area is open to Hospital Rock Picnic Area, about 5 miles in from the entrance station. The highway above Hospital Rock will remain closed at least through the holiday weekend, meaning no access to snow or sequoias in Giant Forest, Lodgepole, Wolverton, or Wuksachi areas.
In Kings Canyon National Park, from Highway 180, the Grant Grove area is open. More weather is expected this weekend, and likely to make the area difficult to navigate. Crews will work to keep access to this area open for the holiday weekend, but conditions could change at any time with little or no warning.
Death Valley National Park experienced severe flash flooding in August and September. Most roads in the southern and center of the park have reopened, but North Highway and some backcountry roads are still closed until repairs are finished. All of the park’s lodging and most of the park’s campgrounds are open. For more information about visiting the park, please visit nps.gov/deva.
Yosemite Valley Area
- The Mist Trail from its junction with the John Muir Trail above Vernal Fall footbridge to the top of Vernal Fall is closed due to icy conditions. The John Muir Trail between Clark Point and Panorama Trail junction (near the top of Nevada Fall) is closed due to dangerously icy conditions. It is possible to hike to the tops of Vernal and Nevada Falls via the winter route, although these may also be snowy and/or icy.
- The Four Mile Trail is closed at the gate near Union Point to Glacier Point due to hazardous conditions.
- The boulders around the base of Lower Yosemite Fall (the off-trail area between the footbridge/viewing area and the waterfall) is closed.
- The trail to Bridalveil Fall is closed due to the Bridalveil Fall Rehabilitation Project until summer 2023.
- The Half Dome cables are down for the season. They are usually available for use starting Memorial Day weekend in May. A permit is required to hike to the top of Half Dome when the cables are up.
Wawona and Mariposa Grove Area
- The trail from the Mariposa Grove toward Wawona is closed. The western portion of the Perimeter Trail (from the Galen Clark Tree to near the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail) is also closed. Please stay on trails: hazards may exist off trail in the Mariposa Grove. View a map for details. The Washburn Trail reopened on August 18.
Glacier Point Area
- The Glacier Point Road, including land and trails adjacent to the Glacier Point Road (within 100 feet from centerline on both sides of the road) are closed. (The Pohono Trail remains open, including where it crosses Glacier Point Road just above Glacier Point. This is the only exception for trails crossing the road.)
- Camping is prohibited at Glacier Point (and anywhere else within four trail miles of Glacier Point or within one mile of the road).
Find volunteer opportunities inspired by this day of service or visit a park to learn more about the history of Dr. King and the pursuit of civil rights in America.
Joshua Tree National Park – The 49 Palms Trail will be temporarily closed for maintenance from January 9, 2023 to late March 2023. This closure will begin each week on Sunday at 10 pm and last until Thursday at 4 pm. The trail will be open to hikers Friday through Sunday.
“The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.” – Coretta Scott King
MLK Day of Service is a defining moment in volunteerism, as Americans across the country step up to make communities more equitable and take action to build the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream. While Dr. King believed this community was possible, he acknowledged and fought for systemic change. His example is our call to action.
This is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. Many national parks traditionally host a variety of service projects that people can sign up for as volunteers.