Celebrating Earth Day at the Grand Canyon

“Grand Canyon National Park invites the public to celebrate the 49th Anniversary of Earth Day during National Park Week on Saturday, April 20, 2019. All Earth Day activities are open and free of charge to the public,” according to a press release from the National Park Service.

Normally, the entry fee at Grand Canyon National Park is $35 per vehicle and $30 per motorcycle for a week pass, but on April 20, 2019, you can enter the park for free - and take part in the annual Earth Day festivities.

How to Celebrate Earth Day at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon Visitor Center Plaza at the South Rim, hosts the Grand Canyon's Earth Day Festival every year. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you'll find a free, open-house style festival with special exhibitions and interactive activities for all ages. The festival hosts a number of local retailers and organizations who are focused on preserving the environment. They will be offering many earth-related activities, ranging from educational opportunities to arts and crafts and much more.

In addition to Earth Day, this year marks Grand Canyon National Park’s 100th Anniversary! Celebrate 100 years of stewardship at the canyon by the National Park Service, and sign the Grand Canyon’s 100th Anniversary Birthday Card!

Family in front of Grand Canyon National Park Sign

This Year's Theme: "Sustainability: Then and Now"

The Earth Day Festival event at the Grand Canyon raises awareness of some of the toughest issues facing our environment. This year’s theme, Sustainability: Then and Now, features exhibits showcasing a rich history of sustainable action within the park.  

  • Check out this year’s special Subaru exhibit and other vehicles on display.

  • Catch a live leatherwork demonstration and play Muleshoe Pitch to win a cool prize!

  • Don’t forget to pick up some carrots and apples to share with the famous mule team at the Mule Barn in the historic village. 

  • Be sure to see the interpretive demonstration of the Grand Canyon Railway Steam Engine at the Train Depot between 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Sustainability means preserving this incredible place for future generations, just as it was preserved for us by generations past. Pink Jeep Tours helps preserve the canyon by volunteering for litter pick-ups and by practicing the Leave No Trace philosophy,” says Romy Murphy, Operations Manager for Pink Jeep Tours at the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Earth Day Festival - groups at tables

What Else to do at the Grand Canyon on April 20th

In addition to photo booth opportunities, the Grand Canyon Green Team invites you to participate in Ribbons of Stewardship for a Healthy and Sustainable Park. Here you can write personal sentiments about what you treasure most about Grand Canyon National Park and place your ribbons on the branches of our ‘tree’," said the National Park Service.

Participate in the Grand Canyon Conservancy’s scavenger hunt! Collect stamps on the plaza from various exhibits to win a prize. Learn the latest information about the park's initiatives affecting water conservation, recycling, zero-waste, composting, dark-sky protection and eco-transportation.

Better yet, tour Grand Canyon National Park with an expert guide who can make your visit unforgettable by sharing key insights of the canyon’s history and geology, tell educational and entertaining stories, and steer you away the crowds whenever possible.

And best of all, manage the driving and parking! Pink Jeep Tours offers seven different tours into the Park, including sunset tours and hiking tours. You’ll ride in a state-of-the-art open-air Jeep® Wrangler and take home memories of the Grand Canyon that will last a lifetime.

When to Arrive and Where to Stay

Many, many people take advantage of the free entry to Grand Canyon National Park for Earth Day, so you'll want to plan to arrive early. The gates open at 7 a.m. and the parking lots at Mather Point and the Grand Canyon Village will fill up quickly. To get the most out of your day, arrive early and take a guided tour before the Earth Day Festival starts at 10 a.m. 

Tour guide with man and child.

If you're looking to stay overnight near the Grand Canyon in anticipation of Earth Day, neighboring cities with accommodations include Tusayan, Williams, Flagstaff and Sedona. These cities are roughly 30 minutes to two hours away from Mather Point by car. From Williams, take Highway 64 north. From Flagstaff, take Highway 180 north to join Highway 64. From Sedona, take Highway 89A through scenic Oak Creek Canyon to join Interstate 40 west, and head north to the Grand Canyon on Highway 64.

A Final Note

While entry to the Grand Canyon will be free on April 21st, all fees that are associated with camping, tours and reservations of materials will not be waived on the fee-free day. These options, nonetheless, can be enriching opportunities for you and your group to learn about the history of the Grand Canyon and take your trip to the next level. Be sure to reserve in advance, as these spots will fill up quickly in anticipation for the Earth Day celebration at the Grand Canyon!

Kids taking selfie at Grand Canyon