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Senior Finances

Price of Lifetime National Parks Senior Pass Jumps from $10 to $80

For more than 20 years, one of the most valuable senior travel discounts available has been the National Parks Senior Pass. For a mere $10, outdoor enthusiasts ages 62 and older could get lifetime access to all national parks and federal recreational lands.

As of Aug. 28, however, the lifetime senior pass price is jumping from $10 to $80.


National Parks Senior Pass explanation graphic

The increase is due to legislation passed by Congress in December. That legislation raises the cost of the lifetime senior pass to match that of an $80 annual pass available to people under age 62, according to the National Park Service. The extra money from the senior pass will be used for deferred maintenance, improved visitor facilities, and trail maintenance.

The legislation also created an annual senior pass for $20. If you eventually buy four annual passes, you can trade them in for a lifetime pass.

Demand for Senior Passes Exceeds Supply

The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass.

The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass.

So, how do you get your $10 senior pass before the price goes up? In a way, you might not. At least, not physically for a while. That’s because the demand for passes before the price increases has overwhelmed the park service.

The park service is printing hundreds of thousands of passes to catch up. In the meantime, if you order a pass online, your order confirmation can be used for park admission. If you buy a pass at a park, you may be issued a rain check. You’ll eventually get your physical credit card-sized pass when the supply is replenished. The park service explains the process here.

What Does the Senior Pass Get You?

Annual and lifetime senior passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies: National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The passes cover entrance and standard amenity fees for you and guests in your vehicle at parks that charge a ‘per-vehicle’ fee. At parks that charge a ‘per-person’ fee, you can bring along three adult guests. Children 15 and under are always admitted free.

At some parks, you may also get a 50% discount on expanded amenities such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours.

Where to Buy a National Parks Senior Pass

Zion National Park in southwestern Utah.

Zion National Park in Utah is among the many parks that sell the Senior Pass.

In person: At these park sites.  

Online: Through this website.

By mail: Send in this form.

Note: If ordering online or by mail, you also will be charged a $10 processing fee. So, your total will be $20 before Aug. 28 and $90 after.

All in all, the lifetime National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass, even at $80, is still a good deal. For instance, the vehicle entrance fee to all five national parks in Utah would add up to $120. So, if you’re 62 or older, grabbing a senior pass and going on a road trip can still be a great bargain.

Get all the details on the senior pass from the National Park Service.

Interested in other ways of saving money with your “senior” status? Don’t miss’s discount guides below:

Senior Discounts Guide

Restaurant Senior DiscountsDepartment Store Senior Discounts | Grocery Store Senior Discounts | Travel Senior Discounts | Movie Senior Discounts

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  • Mark Edelen

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    Welcome to the Retirement Living Blog. I direct and edit the blog for the best senior-housing and senior-living insight and advice, while also conducting search-engine optimization for the site as a whole. Follow me on Twitter @MarkEdelen.

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