National Park Senior Lifetime Pass Increasing to $80 National Park Senior Lifetime Pass Increasing to $80

National Park Senior Lifetime Pass Increasing to $80

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One of the perks for Seniors visiting National Parks has been the extremely low cost of a lifetime pass. Currently, for only $10, Seniors can pick up lifetime access to all US National Parks. Fees are increasing as part of a larger plan to finance several major projects and to improve the services offered by the National Park Service.

While an exact date of when the increase will take effect has not been set, the park service expects it before the end of 2017. When the change occurs the fee for a lifetime pass for Seniors who are over 62 will increase from $10 to $80. However, Seniors will still be able to purchase an annual pass for only $20, and if at a future date they opt to purchase a lifetime pass, then they can have the $20 credited towards the $80 cost of the lifetime pass.

Jackson Lake

Why The Increase?

The change is being put in place after the National Park Service Centennial Act was approved by Congress earlier this month. The Act will raise park fees, and set up an endowment that is aimed to pay for improving visitor services, and fund other projects. This is the first increase in the cost of a Senior pass since 1994, when the fee jumped to its current level. The Act also aims to improve the experience of park visitors, and provide people with more opportunities to do voluntary work at various parks across the country.

Until the change is implemented, Seniors who wish to purchase a pass can still do so at the lower price of $10. Passes can be bought from any National Park, or they can be purchased online, where they cost $10 plus an additional $10 service fee.

Until the Parks Administration announces the change, they are letting people know informally that this price hike is coming. According to Parks’ Service Spokeswoman, Kathy Kuper “We don’t want anyone to feel blindsided and say, ‘Why didn’t anyone tell us about this.'”

Source: AARP Travel

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  • I missed the $10/lifetime price by just a couple of months, but would still like to get the lifetime pass. I have read that we can spend $20 for an annual Senior pass, and trade four annual passes for an $80 lifetime pass. What are the regulations for assuring that four annual passes qualify for the exchange for a lifetime pass? For example, could I buy one for 2019, skip 2020 during the corona virus lock-down, and then buy annual passes in 2021, 22 & 23?

    • Hey Chuck, I’m sorry to say I wasn’t able to find anything concrete on this. I think skipping a year would be okay, but I’d recommend checking with the park service to be sure.

      From USGS:

      For questions about the pass, contact 1-888-ASK-USGS and press 3. (888-275-8747, option 3)

  • This is great bargain for any senior that has immediate or future plans to visit many of our great National Parks.

  • Timely notice! Just turned 62 earlier this month, so I will not delay applying.

  • I got this pass several years ago, and I was amazed at the price and the value. We purchased it at a park near our home in the Hudson Valley (NY), and have used it in Virginia, Hawaii, and most recently in Utah. The most amazing thing is when you enter by car, the pass covers any passengers traveling with you in a non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas or you and three additional adults where per-person fees are charged. That is a super deal. If I recall, the entry fee just at Zion was $30 per car.

    Even at the increased price, I still think this is a great deal. Now I am going to be extra careful with my pass!

  • Agree with some of the above commenters. $80 is an incredible bargain to have unlimited access to see some of the most breathtaking views our country has to offer.

  • Cathy Krasnianski says:

    While I understand the need for the increase, the hike may be too much for many seniors on a fixed income, and they’re about to feel the pinch even more in the coming years. What a shame.

  • Despite the tremendous price increase still a good deal.

  • Good to know!

  • I’ll have to get a lifetime pass for myself and my wife before the price rise. Thanks for the alert

  • nice one. will buy one soon.

  • for me this sucks. I’ve been waiting to get it and I will be 61 in a few days, so I am going to miss the great deal by one year.

  • It is time to run in and scoop up this lifetime deal! As always, thanks for the info.

  • Just went to both Yellowstone and Yosemite this summer! Even if the senior pass increases to $80, it’s an incredible steal.

  • $10 is a great deal!

  • ADAM PARSONS says:

    What do you get these days for $10. Bargain in my Opinion!

  • Given the current price and increase, it seems worthwhile to get the lifetime pass now if there’s any chance I’ll ever use it.

  • wow that is a huge increasing~~

  • Thanks for the “heads up.”

  • Robin Gronsky says:

    Although it is a shame that they are raising the fee, it is worth it if they use the additional income to improve services and infrastructure at the parks.

  • I wonder how much it will cost, when I become a senior.

  • This is once $10 and lifetime of access to the Parks? WOW!

    Open for foreigners too?

  • James Eastwood says:

    Its unfortunate that the fee had to jump but c’est la vie. Inflation exists and is a somewhat necessary part of the economy as long as it is kept in check and doesn’t runaway. I suppose it would be better to increase the fees paid by people still earning a job-based income rather than retired persons on a fixed income but once again these are decisions made at high levels hopefully by intelligent people, hopefully with all of the facts in front of them.

  • $10 seems pretty low. I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, I like that National Parks are for everyone and affordable. On the other hand, prices being this low means one has to ‘pay’ non-monetary costs when using the service, e.g. waiting in line, facing large crowds in the popular parks, taxpayers that don’t use the resources have to subsidize the users paying fees not high enough to cover maintenance, etc. I tend to like peak-load pricing a lot, but I’m conflicted on this one.