The America the Beautiful pass gives seniors age 62 and older access to federal recreational lands for a lifetime. The pass costs $10, but the price will jump to $80 starting Monday.
That’s because last December Congress voted to increase the pass price for the first time since 1994.
It’s a good deal too. Consider that entry to Death Valley National Park costs $25 per vehicle, and Yosemite National Park charges $25 to $30 per vehicle, depending on when you go. And you won’t need to buy an Adventure Pass to visit local forests; the pass covers that entry too.
With the pass, seniors get free visits to more than 2,000 sites managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The pass is good for all passengers in a vehicle or up to four adults at sites where per-person fees apply.
Even if you act before Monday, however, don’t expect to get your pass right away.
The park service on its website says it has received 250,000 online and mail-in requests so far this year, compared with a previous annual high of 33,000 passes.
The agency is printing more passes to be sold at park sites. In places where they’ve run out of passes, seniors will be issued a rain check.
There’s also a current backlog of online/mail-in requests.
Those who order online or by mail will be able to show their order confirmation and a valid ID until their America the Beautiful pass is issued.