National Parks Annual Pass

Every year we look forward to getting our hands on the Golden Poppy pass for national parks in Northern California. The Annual National Park Pass is a great bargain if you plan on visiting at least 3 national parks in a year.  We’ve also found that having one has been a great incentive to check out more national parks during our travels since after a few visits it feels “free”.

The standard annual pass is $125, and if you’re a senior (62 and over) you can buy a lifetime pass for $80!  They also have free annual passes for active military and permanently disabled. 

Here’s a PRO TIP:  After buying senior annual passes ($20) for four years, you can trade them in for a senior lifetime pass at no additional cost.

An annual pass is valid for one full year from month of purchase (through last day of that month) and allows the pass owner and accompanying passengers (16 and over)  in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle to enter Federally operated recreation sites across the country.  National Parks typically don’t charge an entry fee for children 15 and under.

The passes are valid at more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) (Day use fees) are charged by the following agencies:

  1. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  2. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation)
  3. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
  4. USDA Forest Service (USDA FS)
  5. National Park Service (NPS)
  6. US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Here’s another PRO TIP:  You can find maps for just about every national park online at this site:

Which also includes an invaluable map of all the national parks combined: 

We already had an annual pass we bought at Yosemite this spring (and we used it at Death Valley), and it really paid off again this summer.  We also bought a second annual pass for my daughter when we went on our epic tour/trip to Yellowstone.   On this trip it got us into the Great Basic NP, Yellowstone NP, Crater Lake NP, Redwood NP, and Lassen Volcanic NP.  Bargain!




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