Mark Your Calendars: National Park Week is Coming

Last Updated on March 20, 2023 by Jess

More than 400 national parks are waiting for you to explore. If there was ever a good time to visit them, it’s National Park Week. Each unit of the National Park System celebrates this week differently, and it’s the perfect opportunity to explore a new park.

What is National Park Week, and when does it happen? Grab your calendar and a pen, and let’s find out!

What is National Park Week?

National Park Week is an annual event honoring the national parks in the United States. It also provides an opportunity to spotlight the natural and cultural heritage they represent.

Visitors can participate in special events and programs throughout the week. In addition, guests can receive discounts at national parks nationwide.

Guided hikes, ranger-led programs, wildlife viewing and cultural demonstrations are just a few of the events offered. The week provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about the history and protection of these valuable public lands.

The National Park Service, which manages and protects more than 400 sites across the United States, is organizing the event. In partnership with the National Park Foundation, the event celebrates almost everything related to parks.

The week highlights the importance of national parks as important cultural and natural resources. In addition, National Park Week encourages adventurers to visit and enjoy these special places responsibly.

When is National Park Week?

National Park Week is an annual event that usually takes place in late April. It often coincides with Earth Day (April 22) and National Junior Ranger Day (April 24).

National Park Week 2023 will be held April 22-30. So mark your calendars and start planning how you will celebrate this important week this year!

When was National Park Week established?

The first National Park Week was held in 1991 to encourage people to explore and appreciate the diverse resources of park units. The National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, created and organized the week.

Since its inception, the event has grown in popularity and become an important celebration for the NPS. It encourages people to spend time outdoors and appreciate the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage that surrounds them.

What is the theme of National Park Week in 2023?

The theme for National Park Week 2023 is #YourParkStory. The hundreds of national park units have stories, as do their visitors. The goal of the theme is for guests to celebrate the incredible experiences and powerful moments where history happened.

Park visitors will never forget many moments of the experience. Whether it’s driving the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, watching a bear scurry into the brush in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, or watching Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone. These are all moments that visitors celebrate and remember for a lifetime.

Events Celebrating National Park Week

Many of the NPS units offer a variety of events during National Park Week. These are great opportunities to celebrate. Some events are offered throughout the year, while others are tailored specifically for the week.

Let’s take a look at what events you should put on your calendar!

Sunrise Orientation – Haleakalā National Park

Sunrise Orientation at Haleakalā National Park is an incredible way to start the festivities. However, if you don’t have to plan a trip to Hawaii during National Park Week, the event takes place every morning at sunrise.

While the event is free, it does require advance reservations for sunrise. The tour provides a brief overview of the summit and its cultural significance as a sacred site.

Guests learn important rules and participate in a Hawaiian chant to welcome the rising sun and the beginning of a new day.

Cave Tours – Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is a must-see for anyone who enjoys exploring caves. The park offers several different cave tours, each offering a unique experience. However, the Historic Tour is one of the most popular.

Tours range in length from handicapped accessible tours to extreme tours, including a six-hour tour that covers 6 miles.

Unfortunately, the park cannot offer all tours at the same time. Check the park’s tour schedule and make reservations ahead of time.

Please note: Are the other national parks in Kentucky worth visiting? Click on the link to find out!

Behind the Scenes Day – James A. Garfield National Historic Site

The beauty of National Park Week is the opportunity to visit some places that are normally closed to the public.

During the celebration, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site is offering visitors the chance to go behind the scenes for free.

The event will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 9 a.m. to noon. Guests will be able to walk through the house and explore the property.

They will see the third floor of the house, the windmill on the property, the historic barn and more. Put this event on your calendar if you are in the Cleveland, Ohio area during Special Week.

Guided Island Hike – Channel Islands National Park.

Channel Islands National Park is located just off the coast of California. It is a hard-to-reach NPS unit that is only accessible by boat. However, if the weather cooperates and boats can reach the island, you can join a guided hike.

The park offers these hikes all day. The park announces locations, distances and departure times during the briefing for visitors on the island. So listen carefully and pick a hike that suits you.

These guided hikes are a great opportunity to learn from park rangers. You will feel their passion and love for the park and their work during the event.

Drakes Beach Discovery Hike – Point Reyes National Seashore.

As you drive up the west coast, you’ll come across Point Reyes National Seashore. Here, the National Seashore offers a one-hour guided hike along the beach.

The topics and content of the guided hikes vary depending on the ranger. You’re likely to learn about the geology, wildlife, and natural and human history of the area.

These guided hikes are free from January 14 through September 30. However, they do require reservations. You can contact the Bear Valley Visitor Center to reserve your spot.

Geology Lecture – Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park in Utah is a park not to be missed. The park offers a 30-minute geology lecture every day at 3 p.m. – a fantastic way to celebrate National Park Week.

Rangers explain the park’s unique geologic history during this time. During the talk, visitors will learn more about the formation of the park’s distinctive landscape, including colorful sandstone cliffs, towering rock formations and canyons.

Visitors can ask a ranger or geologist questions, making the lecture a fun and interactive learning experience. The Geology Lecture at Capitol Reef National Park is a must for anyone interested in the natural history of this unique and beautiful landscape.

Please note: Have you heard? There will be a solar eclipse in 2024!

Float, swim and walk (Shark Valley) – Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is one of the most diverse NPS units. The park offers the 30-minute “Soar, Swim, and Stroll” event daily at 10:15 am. Visitors can walk through Shark Valley with a ranger and learn about the animals that live there.

These ranger-led walks cover topics such as history, wildlife, native plants and many unique features of the park. Reservations are not required, and you must check with the visitor center to find out where the tour will be held that day.

How will you celebrate National Park Week?

National Park Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the beauty and wonder of our national parks. You can celebrate by exploring a new place, participating in a volunteer project, or simply sharing your love of these natural treasures with others.

What are you waiting for? Plan a visit or look for an opportunity to get involved in your local national park. Make this National Park Week one to remember!

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