Presidents Day means another opportunity for free parking at some outdoor recreation areas around the Pacific Northwest.
The holiday, on Monday, Feb. 15, is one of nine fee-free days honored by federal public lands agencies in 2021, meaning all parking and entry fees are waived on lands where it’s recognized.
This Presidents Day, fees will be waived on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
That means trailheads and day-use areas in places like the Mount Hood National Forest and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which normally charge $5 parking fees, will be free, and visitors with annual parking passes will not need to display them. Metro, which operates recreation areas around the Portland area, will also waive parking fees Monday.
That doesn’t mean all trailheads in the Columbia Gorge and on Mount Hood will be free of charge. Some Oregon state park sites with parking fees, like Rooster Rock, will still charge visitors. Washington State Parks will also continue charging their Discover Pass parking fees on Presidents Day.
The National Park Service does not recognize Presidents Day as one of its fee-free holidays, so entry fees will still be collected at places like Crater Lake and Mount Rainier.
Fees will also still apply at sno-parks on Mount Hood, which are operated by the Oregon Department of Transportation, and require the display of daily or annual sno-park permits.
Make sure the trailhead or day-use area is managed by one of the three federal agencies offering free parking before leaving your car behind. If you’re unsure, look up the area online or look for signs in the parking area.
Most land management agencies also sell annual passes that allow people to access public lands for free all year. They range from the $30 Northwest Forest Pass offered by the U.S. Forest Service to the $80 America the Beautiful Pass that applies to all federal lands.