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Recreation Pass Info

Recreation pass and permit info for Washington national parks, national forests, Mount St. Helens National Monument, US Fish & Wildlife and State Fish & Wildlife. Northwest Forest Pass, America the Beautiful Annual Pass, Washington Discover Pass and more.

If you like to hike, chances are you'll need a pass of some kind to park at the trailhead. WTA runs down all of the various recreation passes for national parks, forests and state lands - from the Northwest Forest Pass to the Washington's Discover Pass. Additional information for specific trailheads can be found on many of our Hiking Guide entries.

If it all seems utterly confusing to you, we have a Q&A that will help you to determine which pass or passes are best for your hiking destinations and style.  >> Which Pass Do I Need Q&A

Interagency Annual Pass

NATIONAL PARKS

  • Entrance fee: $15/car. Charged at Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks. Good for seven days. There is no fee to enter North Cascades National Park.
  • Annual pass: $30. Provides entrance for a year to either Olympic or Mount Rainier National Park. This pass is only good at the park where it was purchased.
  • America the Beautiful Interagency Annual Pass: $80. Also called the America the Beautiful pass. Provides entrance to any national park, Forest Service or other federal site charging fees for one year. Purchase at the park or online - details are here.
  • Interagency Senior Pass: $10. This is the best deal around. This is a lifetime pass that is honored nationwide at any federal site charging entrance fees. Check out the details here.
  • Annual Pass - Military: Free. The Military Pass provides free access to federal land for all active military personnel and their dependents. Details.
  • Interagency Access Pass: Free. Those with permanent disabilities may be eligible for a lifetime pass that is honored nationwide. Details.

U.S. FOREST SERVICE LANDS

All USFS trailheads in Washington and Oregon with developed facilities (toilet, picnic table, etc.) charge a user fee - this includes most trailheads in the Cascades and Olympics. A list of sites is here. Northwest Forest Pass

  • National Forest Recreation Day Pass: $5/car. Allows you to park at trailheads for one day. You can purchase several day passes ahead of time and write the dates on them as you use them. The pass is available at National Forest offices and visitor centers, via private vendors or online. Starting April 1, 2014, you will also be able to buy the day pass online and print it at home. Note that WTA and some other vendors listed do not carry day passes.
  • Northwest Forest Pass: $30. An annual pass honored at all Forest Service day-use or entrance fee sites in Washington and Oregon. The pass is available at National Forest offices and visitor centers and via private vendors or online. Passes may also be purchased at the WTA office or via our online link.
  • America the Beautiful Interagency Annual Pass: $80. This pass provides entrance to all Forest Service, national park and other federal site charging fees for one year. Purchase at a National Forest office or online - details are here.
  • Interagency Senior Pass: $10. This is the best deal around. This is a lifetime pass that is honored nationwide at any federal site charging entrance fees. Check out the details here.
  • Mount St. Helens National Monument: Mount St. Helens, managed by the USFS, charges on a per-person fee basis. Entry to the Coldwater or Johnson Ridge sites are $8 per person for those 16 and older (free for kids). They will honor Interagency Annual and Senior passes for named pass-holders, and a Northwest Forest Pass will gain entry for one person. Details.

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE LANDS

Many of Washington's National Wildlife Refuges -- including Nisqually, Dungeness and Ridgefield NWRs -- require a recreation pass as well. Where applicable, the fee is usually $3 per family ($15 annually), payable at the visitor center or trailhead. They also accept the Interagency Annual, Access and Senior passes, as well as the Federal Duck Stamp pass.

WASHINGTON STATE PUBLIC LANDS

Discover Pass logoThe Discover Pass is required to park at Washington State Parks, Department of Natural Resources lands and Department of Fish and Wildlife trailheads. More than 7 million acres of Washington state-managed recreation lands are covered –- including campgrounds, parks, wildlife areas, trails, natural areas, wilderness areas and water access points. For details about the pass, see the state's Discover Pass website.

  • Discover Pass Day Pass: $10/car. Allows visitors to park at state recreation lands for one day.
  • Discover Pass Annual Pass: $30. Allows visitors to park on state recreation lands for one year from issue. Hikers can purchase the Discover Pass at state parks, when renewing car tabs, online through Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s automated system and in person at the 600 retail locations that currently sell hunting and fishing licenses. If using a retail outlet or the online service, passes will be subject to a $5 upcharge. Day passes have a $1.50 upcharge. Staffed state parks and unstaffed payment stations sell the Discover Pass at face-value. The Discover Pass transferable between two cars.
  • Fish and Wildlife Vehicle Use Permit/Vehicle Access Pass (VAP). Previously available for purchase, the complimentary VAP is provided to those who purchase hunting and fishing licenses. This pass only provides access to WDFW lands.
  • Washington State Parks Car Tab renewal donation. We encourage you to continue to donate $5 to State Parks when renewing your annual vehicle license tabs. However, this is not the same as the Discover Pass.

WINTER RECREATION - WASHINGTON SNO-PARKS

Washington's Sno-Park Permits allow you to park at plowed lots accessible to groomed and backcountry trails. You can find your nearest non-motorized Sno-Park here, or you can snowshoe or ski on the nearest motorized Sno-Park.

  • Day Permits: $20/day. Day Permits are valid at any Sno-Park location, including Special Groomed Trail locations,* until midnight of the purchase date.
  • Seasonal Permits: $40/season. Seasonal Permits are valid at all Sno-Park locations EXCEPT those designated as Special Groomed Trail locations. If you know you'll be going out two or more times, buy the Seasonal Permit.
  • Special Groomed Trails Permits: $40/season add-on. This optional add-on to the Seasonal Permit allows you to park at Cabin Creek, Chiwawa, Crystal Springs, Hyak, Lake Easton, Lake Wenatchee, Mount Spokane and Nason Ridge where trails are groomed for cross-country skiers.
  • Discover Pass and Sno-Parks in State Parks: If you have a Sno-Park Seasonal Permit (the key word here is 'Seasonal') you do not need a Discover Pass to snowshoe within state parks. However, if you purchase a Sno-Park Day Permit you will also need either a Day Discover Pass or an Annual Discover Pass.



Sno-Park permits can be purchased online from November 1st- April 30th, or for an extra $2, at a number of locations statewide.

Snow Park Passes Graphic
Passes for winter recreation in Washington State. Source: parks.wa.gov/fees/

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