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 Wednesday, Jan. 1, which gives visitors the opportunity to take part in a First Day Hike, a nationwide initiative that aims to get people outdoors on New Year’s Day. This year, more than 40 hikes are planned at dozens of state parks all over Washington. More details are in a three-part series on the State Parks’ blog, Adventure Awaits, starting today, Monday, Dec. 9, and running through Wednesday, Dec. 11.

The second free day is Monday, Jan. 20, 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 (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). 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 the Jan. 1 and 20 dates, Washington State Parks will offer 10 more free days in 2020:

  • Thursday, March 19 — State Parks’ 107th Birthday
  • Saturday, April 11 — Springtime free day
  • Wednesday, April 22 — Earth Day
  • Saturday, June 6 — National Trails Day
  • Sunday, June 7 — Free Fishing Day
  • Saturday, June 13 — National Get Outdoors Day
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25 — National Park Service Birthday
  • Saturday, Sept. 26 — National Public Lands Day
  • Wednesday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
  • Friday, Nov. 27 — Autumn free day

Note: 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: parks.state.wa.us/winter.