Here’s when you can visit Washington state parks for free | Washington State Parks

The first free state park day will be Jan. 1, 2024.

The following is a press release from Washington State Parks:

The Washington State Discover Pass Program has designated the Discover Pass free days for 2024. On these days, visitors will not need a Discover Pass to park a vehicle at a Washington state park or on lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The 2024 Discover Pass free days are:

• Monday, Jan. 1 – First Day Hikes and New Year’s Day

• Monday, Jan. 15 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

• Saturday, March 9 – Billy Frank Junior’s Birthday

• Tuesday, March 19 – State Parks’ 111th Birthday

• Monday, April 22 – Earth Day

• Saturday, June 8 – National Get Outdoors Day

• Sunday, June 9 – Free Fishing Day

• Wednesday, June 19 – Juneteenth

• Saturday, Sept. 28 – National Public Lands Day

• Thursday, Oct. 10 – World Mental Health Day

• Monday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day

• Friday, Nov. 29 – Autumn Day


New Year’s Day, the first free day of 2024, provides people the opportunity to participate in Washington State Parks’ annual First Day Hikes event. First Day Hikes is a national initiative led by America’s State Parks, encouraging people to ring in the new year surrounded by nature. Last year, more than 1,500 participants hiked, biked and snowshoed 2,652.67 trail miles at Washington state parks. Distance and rigor vary from park to park, but all hikes aim to create a fun experience for the whole family.

Billy Frank Jr. (1931-2014) was an environmental activist and former chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. His lifelong dedication to protecting endangered salmon and restoring justice for the Nisqually Tribe helped shape Washington’s environmental laws and expand treaty rights for Native Americans nationwide.

Juneteenth has been celebrated in Black communities since June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Texas learned they were free. The news reached them two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth became an official federal holiday in 2021.

National Public Lands Day was established in 1994 and is held annually on the fourth Saturday in September. It celebrates the connection between people and green spaces in their communities – inspiring environmental stewardship and encouraging the use of open space for education, recreation and health benefits.

World Mental Health Day was designated as a free day to acknowledge the power of nature to restore mental health. Studies show time spent in nature boosts serotonin, dopamine and vitamin D and lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels, helping our bodies combat stress.


State land free days align with 2011 legislation that created the Discover Pass, which costs $30 to $35 annually, or $10 to $11.50 for a one-day visit, depending on the point of purchase. The pass is required to park on state lands managed by Parks, DNR and WDFW. Purchasing a Discover Pass helps all three agencies preserve and conserve public lands for future generations. The Discover Pass legislation directed Parks to designate up to 12 free days when the pass would not be required to visit state-managed lands.

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