National parks, forests and wildlife refuges that charge entrance fees will be free Jan. 20 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It's a good incentive to go four-wheeling in Joshua Tree or hiking in Death Valley when winter days are mild and warm.
The deal: Visitors won't need to pay $15 at Joshua Tree, $25 at the Grand Canyon, $20 at Yosemite or other fees at national parks on the Monday holiday. Southern Californians also can skip the $5 Adventure Pass usually required at local national forests. However, plan your day trip carefully: California state and regional parks that charge fees aren't exempting visitors.
When: The fee-free day applies to only Jan. 20.
Details: Parks provide information on recreational activities on their websites or at visitor centers. At Joshua Tree, driving the dirt roads in Covington Flat takes visitors to the largest Joshua trees, junipers and pinyon pines. Seven routes along dirt roads take visitors on an up-close look at the high desert. At Death Valley, take an easy walk into Mosaic Canyon to see its marble walls and rock fragments within.