Golden Age Passport

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Golden Age Passport.jpg
Golden Age Passport gives 50% discount camping at Federal Parks

Golden Age Passport was a pass issued by the National Park Service until January 1, 2007. It has been replaced with the Senior Pass of the new pass series now called America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, created by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and authorized by Congress in December 2004.[1][2][3][4]

The Senior Pass is a lifetime entrance pass to United States national parks for those 62 years and older.[2] To obtain this a senior citizen need only go to any National Park Service facility that charges an entrance fee with the following:

  • Proof of age (must be 62 years or older).[5]
  • Proof of citizenship (must be citizen or permanent resident of the United States)[5]
  • Ten Dollars cash (the one-time processing fee as of January 1, 2008).[2]

The pass is also available for $20 by mail from the US Geological Survey (extra $10 is for postage and handling).[6]

Some consider this one of the best travel bargains in the United States.[7][8][9][10][11][12]


The National Park Service words the Senior Pass on their website as:

This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. Valid at Federal recreation entrance or standard amenity fee sites for: pass holder and occupants of single, private, non-commercial vehicle OR one motorcycle; OR pass holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged. The pass can only be obtained in person at the park. The Senior Pass provides a 50 percent discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services. In some cases where Expanded Amenity Fees are charged, only the pass holder will be given the 50 percent price reduction. The pass is non-transferable and generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires.[2]

The now obsolete Golden Age Passport worked in a similar manner as the Senior Pass with the exception that the accompanying persons needed to be spouse and/or children of the cardholder.[13]


There are similar passes within this series:

  • Annual Pass – a 12-month period pass, $80 as of January 1, 2008, increased from $50 of previous years.[3][4]
  • Access Pass – a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.[3][14]
  • Volunteer Pass – an annual pass for volunteers acquiring 250 service hours labor.[3][14]

The current fees for these should be verified at the National Park Service website which will also provide additional answers to frequently asked questions.[2][3]

Participating agencies included in the pass series are the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (Forest Service), Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.[2] Some Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority sites may honor the Senior Pass and the Access Pass for camping discounts.[3]

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