Before your trip to Utah, Arizona, or anywhere that you plan on visiting a United States national parks or forests, there is one item that you must purchase: The America the Beautiful Park Pass. It can easily be overlooked but when visiting any of these places, there are entrance fees that are required in order to enter the grounds (and quite a hefty on at that).
Typically parks make you purchase a weekly pass which permits one private vehicle, motorcycle, or non-commercial vehicles. Prices range depending on where you go, but to give you an idea, here are the following fees associated with going to Zion National Park and Arches National Park in Utah:
Zion National Park Pass (Valid up to 7 days): Private Vehicle ($35), Motorcycle ($20), non-commercial vehicle ($35 per person if 15 or less people, $20 per person if 16 or more), and Individual by foot or bicycle ($20)
Arches National Park Pass (Valid up to 7 days): Private Vehicle ($25), Motorcycle ($15), and Individual by foot or bicycle ($10)
With full intentions of visiting more than these two parks in the time that you're in Utah, you would be paying $60 to visit 2 parks with a private vehicle. Looking at it from that perspective, things can add up quick so here at TrekPrep we want to help by explaining the America The Beautiful Pass Annual Pass and why it's worth it.
Quick Facts about the America the Beautiful Annual Pass
-What is it?: This pass allows for a driver and all passengers (up to 4 adults) in a personal vehicle to access more than 2000 federal recreation sites across the United States. This pass covers the entrance, amenity, and daily usage fees at any national forest and lands that are managed by either the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S Army Corps of Engineers.
- Price: $80 for 1 year
- How long is the pass valid?: 1 Year
- Who can get a pass?: The pass is available for anyone ages 16 and older
- How can I purchase?: You can buy a pass 3 ways. The first is in person at the recreational site (this means the entrance gate at any national park). The second is online at USGS.gov. The third is by phone at 1-888-275-8747 (extension 3)
- Is this pass transferrable?: No. Once you purchase the pass under your name it can only be yours
-Do I need to have my pass with me entering the park?: You have to have your pass when entering the park. The rangers at the recreation site don't have the ability to search your name in a system to verify you have purchased a pass
Other than the Annual Pass, there are several other options of passes available that are more specific. This includes the Annual Pass for Military (free of charge), Annual 4th Grade Pass (free for any 4th grader through to the following summer), Senior Lifetime ($80) or Annual ($20) Pass for anyone over the age of 62, Access Pass for the disabled (free of charge), and the Volunteer Pass for those that complete 250 service hours with Federal Agencies. For more information regarding these passes, please visit the passes page at nps.gov for more.
Whether you're planning a trip out west to Utah, Arizona, or any state and plan on visiting a national park, purchasing the America The Beautiful Annual Pass is a great investment. Not only do you more than likely breakeven on your vacation visiting the parks, there's probably a good chance that within the next year you will want to see another park which will save on costs. While you can visit the parks free of charge after the rangers go home for the night around 6:30pm, if you want to make the most out of the day at any national park while being cost efficient this pass is for you. Furthermore, while purchasing online helps with getting the pass, there is no shortage of them so waiting until you get to the park entrance to purchase one works just fine.
Thank you and we hope you enjoyed reading this short article on the America The Beautiful Annual Pass. If you want to learn more about Utah's national parks, please visit our 9 day road trip itinerary through Utah and Arizona to learn more!