Understanding the National Park Senior Pass Rate Increase

Dave L. receiving a lifetime pass at Yosemite National Park – Lisa Lopez, Share Your Story

The cost of the lifetime national park senior pass increased on August 28, 2017. The price is now $80, though seniors who already have a pass will not need to get a new one.  

What is the pass?

The America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass offers U.S. citizens or permanent residents over the age of 62 entrance into national parks and national wildlife refuges, in addition to standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. If at a per vehicle area, the pass holder and occupants of a non-commercial vehicle enter free. At per person fee areas, the pass holder and up to three additional adults enter free of charge.

The pass includes other discounts on some expanded amenity fees charged at facilities and services (boat lunch, camping, etc.). The pass is non-transferable and does NOT cover recreation permit fees or concessionaire fees. It cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.

Why did the price increase?

The price increase is a result of the Centennial Legislation P.L. 114-289 passed by the U.S. Congress on December 16, 2016. The new cost of the lifetime senior pass will be equal to the regular price of an America the Beautiful Pass, the annual pass for those under the age of 62.

The price of the lifetime senior pass had not changed since 1994, but the needs of our national parks have increased since that time. The revenues generated from the sales of the lifetime senior passes will help support projects and programs that support visitor experiences at the over 400 national parks across the country. For the same price ($80) that non-senior visitors pay for one year, pass holders receive unlimited access for years to come.

How do I get a pass?

To get a pass you can choose one of the following methods:

  1. Mail (requires additional $10 processing fee): Paper applications will require proof of residency and age.
  2. Online (requires additional $10 processing fee): Applicants need to upload proof of residency and age, as well as providing credit card information.
  3. In person (no additional fee): This is the preferred option if you’re visiting one of the participating Federal recreation sites or offices. Here is a list of locations that offer the Senior Pass. Make sure to call ahead to ensure that they have passes on hand.

Passes take between six to ten weeks to arrive. Be careful with your pass! They are non-refundable, non-transferable, and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.

Sun peaking out over blue the blue mountaintops with rocks in the foreground at Shenandoah National Park

Worried about committing $80 to a lifetime pass that you may only use this year?

Rather than leaping into a lifetime pass, another great option is to purchase an Annual Senior pass for $20, which lasts for one year. Once you renew the pass for four consecutive years (a total of $80), you’re welcome to trade the pass in for a lifetime national park senior pass for no additional fee and you will not need to renew your pass ever again!

What about prices for other passes?

Here is a list of information and pricing for other park passes.

What about the FREE stuff?

There are fee-free days for all visitors several times a year. Check here for a list of fee-free days. Free passes are also available for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities and volunteers who have completed 250 service hours.

These rate increases will help the National Park Service improve visitor experiences and recreation opportunities across the land. For further information on these recent updates, head to the National Park Service website.

Other Questions?

Have other questions about the pass or about your pass in particular? The official pass program is run by USGS.  For any other information about the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, contact 1-888-ASK-USGS and press 3. (888-275-8747, option 3), or [email protected]

Last updated February 26, 2021.


I received a receipt for my lifetime senior pass via email, is that considered my pass? I can't get additional info from any source letting me know if an Official Pass is issued or just my email receipt is my pass.
Hello Jimmy, thanks for reaching out. The official pass program is run by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). For questions about the pass, contact 1-888-ASK-USGS and press 3. (888-275-8747, option 3). Hope this helps!
My husband and I both have the senior lifetime pass. He has his card and mine is in the bottom of the lake! Can I get it replaced?
Hello Sue, thanks for reaching out. The official pass program is run by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). For questions about the pass, contact 1-888-ASK-USGS and press 3. (888-275-8747, option 3). Hope this helps!
I am 62 years old and I went to the entrance stations in Potomac MD at Great Falls and bought a Senior Life Time pass. They told me the Life Time Pass would cost $70.00. The RANGER said that I could pay $20 this year and than $20 2nd year , $20 the 3rd year and $10 the fourth year. I have been by the great falls park at least 30 times since March and the road is closed. I would like to make my next $20 payment or pay the remaining $50 immediately. I am going on a summer vacation to several national parks this summer. Please get back to me and let me know how to pay the next $20 or the remaining $50.
Hi Mitchell, Thank you for reaching out. The National Park Foundation does not sell park passes. Please contact the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at 888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747), extension 3 for information about park passes. Hope this helps!
How can I get a holder to attach to the mirror for my Senior Pass?
We are traveling from Mt Rushmore to Yellowstone and Yosemite in September 2020. Do I need a separate pass for each. We are 62+ years old and will be driving with 4 people in car. How much are passes and do we need more than one ? Please advise.
Hi Michael, Thank you for reaching out. The National Park Foundation does not sell park passes. Please contact the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at 888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747), extension 3 for information about park passes. Hope this helps!
I would like to purchase a park pass for my sister for her birthday which is in January and I would like it to be a surprise for her. Is this possible?
I feel $80 for a senior lifetime pass is well worth it if you are a person that loves nature and our National Parks. We have gotten ours and we have actually used it for numerous National Parks that we attend on a a regular basis. Looking forward to expanding our visiting experience to our National Parks into the western section of our Nation this coming summer.
My wife is 63 and I am 64. Can we get a senior national park lifetime pass for the $80.00 and will it be good for both of us or do we need to pay $80.00 for each of us or $160.00?
My husband had the pass in his name. I am 62 now. He passed away-can the pass still be used? Can it be put in my name? Thanks
My husband passed away and had the national parks senior pass. Can I as his spouse use his? Thanks
I have apparently lost or misplaced my Seniors Park Pass, is there any way, I can replace it without purchasing a new pass?
Regardless of the cost...the National Parks AND FEDERAL RECREATION LANDS PASS has slowly become useless to those of us who live near and recreate in (hike, fish, picnic, etc) the USFS lands that now engage concessionaires who charge for camping.. parking... day use...everything... without discounts or acceptance of ther Federal Interagency Passes. Public lands are slowly becoming private. Consider this when voting for your local and federal officials. Speak out when legislation is introduced. Boycott the concessionaire properties and instead use the national forest (public) lands whenever possible.
Hi Ramy-- thanks for joining the conversation. Here is a little more information on the pass: The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas. The National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Army Corp of Engineers all honor the annual pass at sites where entrance or standard amenity fees are charged. These six federal agencies each operate differently, charging different types of fees for different types of uses. It definitely can be confusing sorting out the fees and terminology utilized by the different agencies, and to distinguish between a "Federally-managed facility/activity" versus a "concession-managed facility/activity." We’d recommend checking out these great FAQs to understand how the pass may be of use to you: https://store.usgs.gov/faq#Overview.
I applied for a pass, filled out the application sent in my money while they were still $10 but never received the pass, a receipt or anything. I pretty much had forgotten about it because I had not had the opportunity to go to one of our parks since applying. I just spoke to a representative and was told they had no record of my application. I see several other people also failed to receive their pass or any correspondence.
I think you have reduced the revenue you would have received by over 50% when you increased the price of the pass. When I purchased my pass for $10, my brother purchased one, my wife purchased one, my brother in law and his wife purchased one as well. Now that the price is $80, none of the above said they would have purchased one when they did if the price was $80. That's $50 you lost.
I see alot here from seniors de-crying the price increase. I've worked in Yellowstone helping to build the new facilities, visited it & many other parks. The seniors (including my wife & I) tend to stay longer & use up the facilities as we don't have a school shedule, a spring break schedule or a one/two week vacation schedule to adhere to. Why shouldn't we pay $80.00 for the rest of our lives when we use it more? And at prime time? It is not an impediment at all considering that have many seniors have spent way larger amounts on an rv! We take up campsites & rooms with extended stays reducing the stay/time periods the current working class can use. We purchased the senior lifetime pass & would consider it a HUGE bargain at twice the price.
I couldn't agree more, Brad. This program is a fantastic deal. If some people want to stay home over the price increase then I will enjoy the reduced crowd. Thank you, NPS, for all you do!
I purchased a senior pass before the cut off and received an e-mail saying they had shipped my pass to me. I waited for 30 days and the pass never arrived. I have e-mailed three times to tell the agency this (giving them all the details and invoice #'s) and have received NO RESPONSE. So is this the way to make me now pay 80 US for a new pass when I never received the first? I am a bit peeved and I had to pay entry fees for a vacation I had planned and I have another planned for June 2018.
The official pass program is run by USGS. For questions about the pass, contact 1-888-ASK-USGS and press 3. (888-275-8747, option 3), or [email protected]
I purchased a senior pass for $20.00, $10.00 for the lifetime pass, and $10.00 handeling fee. It was purchased before the deadline to increase the fee. I have not received my pass, and I downloaded the application, sent proof of citizenship, and credit card payment. Please let me know why I have not received my pass. Thank you Evlynne owens
The official pass program is run by USGS. For questions about the pass, contact 1-888-ASK-USGS and press 3. (888-275-8747, option 3), or [email protected]
I ordered my husbands pass online in August. I do not have the confirmation for it and we haven't received it yet. We would like to access our Shenandoah National Park so what should we do?
The official pass program is run by USGS. For questions about the pass, contact 1-888-ASK-USGS and press 3. (888-275-8747, option 3), or [email protected]
What a slap in the face to Seniors! Many of our costs are raising since we are the baby boomer generation and our retirement income is remaining the same. Why didn't you raise the cost of the general admission instead of targeting seniors? Our younger generation has the money to spend and there are more of them visiting National parks than seniors. I am very disappointed in this rate increase.


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