How to Get a U.S. National Park Pass

National Park Service patch on uniform
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If you're a fan of the U.S. National Parks, it may make sense to purchase an annual or even lifetime pass—and if you're a senior citizen, you should purchase one before August 28, 2017. In response to legislation passed in 2016, the National Parks Service will increase the cost of the lifetime pass for adults 62 and over from $10 to $80, the first such increase since 1994. 

The Interagency Pass Program was created to not only make it easier to visit national parks and forests, but also to also assist the elderly and disabled.

Participating agencies include the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.

The pass series is collectively known as the America the Beautiful: National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, and has something to offer everyone.

Annual Pass

  • Cost: $80
  • Available to the general public and lasts for one year, beginning from the date of sale
  • Provides access to, and use of, all national parks and Federal recreation sites that charge an entrance/standard amenity
  • Pass may be used for passengers in a non-commercial vehicle (at per vehicle fee areas), as well as pass holder plus three adults at per person fee areas. Note: Children under 16 are admitted free.
  • Purchase: By calling 1-888-ASK USGS, ext. 1, or online

 

Annual Pass for U.S. Military

  • Cost: Free
  • Available to U.S. military members and dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and also, Reserve and National Guard members
  • Provides access to, and use of, all national parks and Federal recreation sites that charge an entrance/standard amenity
  • Purchase: Must be obtained in person at a Federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID (Form 1173)
     

Senior Annual Pass

  • Cost: $20
  • Lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62+
  • Provides access to, and use of, all national parks and Federal recreation sites that charge an entrance/standard amenity fee
  • Pass may be used for passengers in a non-commercial vehicle (at vehicle entrances), or for pass holder plus 3 adults at per person fee areas
  • Provides a 50% discount on some amenity fees
  • Non-transferable and generally does not cover special recreation permit fees
  • Purchase: In person at the park
     

Senior Lifetime Pass

  • Cost: $80, beginning August 28, 2017
  • Lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62+
  • Provides access to, and use of, all national parks and Federal recreation sites that charge an entrance/standard amenity fee
  • Pass may be used for passengers in a non-commercial vehicle (at vehicle entrances), or for pass holder plus 3 adults at per person fee areas
  • Provides a 50% discount on some amenity fees
  • Non-transferable and generally does not cover special recreation permit fees
  • Purchase: In person at select parks and sites. Seniors who purchase an annual pass four years in a row may trade them in for a lifetime pass.
     

Volunteer Pass

  • Cost: Free
  • Available for volunteers who acquire 500 service hours on a cumulative basis and lasts for one year, beginning from the date of sale
  • Provides access to, and use of, all national parks and Federal recreation sites that charge an entrance/standard amenity fee
  • The pass may be used for passengers in a non-commercial vehicle (at per vehicle fee areas), as well as pass holder plus 3 adults at per person fee areas. Note: Children under 16 are admitted free.
  • Purchase: Online
     

Access Pass

  • Cost: Free
  • Lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities
  • Provides access to, and use of, all national parks and Federal recreation sites that charge an entrance/standard amenity fee
  • Pass may be used for passengers in a non-commercial vehicle (at vehicle entrances), or for pass holder plus 3 adults at per person fee areas. Note: Children under 16 are admitted free
  • Provides a 50% discount on some amenity fees
  • Non-transferable and generally does not cover special recreation permit fees
  • Purchase: Only obtained in person at the park. Documentation is required

 

For Those Who Hold Passes From the Former Pass Program

Former: Golden Eagle Passport, National Parks Pass, and Golden Eagle Hologram

Replaced by: Annual Pass. Former passes will continue to be honored according to the provisions of the pass.

Former: Golden Age Passport

Replaced by: Senior Pass. May be exchanged free of charge for new plastic passes.

Former: Golden Access Passport

Replaced by: Access Pass. May be exchanged free of charge for new plastic passes.