The U.S. National Parks Service will be waiving entrance fees for everyone on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

If you’ve been wanting to hit the road and sled down a stories-high gypsum sand dune, or see one of Texas’ highest peaks in all its glory without the added expense of an entry fee, January 16 will be the day to do it.

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Honoring Dr. King

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday marking the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It celebrates the life and achievements of the influential civil rights leader.

In honor of MLK Day, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will forego the admission charge on that day.

Which El Paso-Area National Parks?

White Sands National Park Facebook
White Sands National Park Facebook

Among the El Paso-area parks nature seekers won’t have to pay to get into on Monday, January 16 are Guadalupe Mountains National Park, White Sands National Monument, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Hikers and lovers of the great outdoors should definitely take advantage of both the get-in-free offer and the mostly pleasant winter weather our little corner of the desert offers.

Farther but Free

Getty Images
Getty Images

If you're up for a longer and farther road trip, the parks listed below are also participating in the free day.

Most are in the 5 to 7-hour drive-time range, except for Fort Davis which is about 4 hours.


• Big Bend National Park
• Fort Davis National Historic Site

New Mexico

• Bandelier National Monument
• Capulin Volcano National Monument
• Chaco Culture National Historical Park
• Valles Caldera National Preserve

Not All Fees

NPS/ E. Bangcoro via Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facebook
NPS/ E. Bangcoro via Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facebook

While entrance fees to the park itself will be waived, fees for things like camping, boat launches, transportation, and special activities and tours are not.

You should also check each park's respective website to see if advance online reservations are needed to enter before piling into the car and making the drive.

Future Free Admission Days

January 16 is the first of 5 fee-free days of the 2023. Mark your calendar and plan ahead for these future free entrance days this year.

• April 22 – First Day of National Park Week
• August 4 – Great American Outdoors Day
• September 23 – National Public Lands Day
• November 11 – Veterans Day

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