Personal Finance

You need to buy this National Park pass before the price increases by 700 percent

Key Points
  • The National Park Service will raise senior lifetime passes to $80 from $10 on August 28.
  • Those with a pass will be grandfathered in.
This National Park pass just got a 700 percent price hike

For older Americans who enjoy the great outdoors, it's about to get a lot more expensive.

The National Park Service $10 senior lifetime pass was a no-brainer steal. Now after 23 years, the pass jumps to $80.

The agency announced it will raise prices for the passes on Aug. 28, so act fast if you want one. The passes, which provide access to 2,000 sites, are for people age 62 and over. The price hike does not affect those who already hold the passes.

The new price is now the same as "America the Beautiful" passes, which are annual passes for the general public.

National Park Service turns 100

Pauline Frommer, editorial director for, doesn't believe park attendance will be affected by the price increase.

"It is a shocker to increase 700 percent. You don't usually see those types of increases so it's a real shame," Frommer said. "But I don't think this will affect National Parks. Visitation numbers have been incredibly high for the Park Service and a large percentage of visitors are from overseas."

The legislation mandating the price hike includes a new payment plan to help seniors get a lifetime pass. For the first time, the National Park Service will issue an annual senior pass for $20 and once four annual senior passes have been purchased, the individual will automatically qualify for a senior lifetime pass with no additional fee.

The $80 price point still makes senior passes a steal, said Kathy Kupper, public affairs specialist for the National Park Service.

A tourist visits the Chromatic Pool at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
Getty Images

"Going to one park, such as iconic parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, or Grand Canyon could cost $30 and going to all three could cost up to $90," Kupper said. "Senior lifetime passes also have the additional benefit of having everyone in their car admitted for free."

The National Park Service distributed about 662,000 senior passes in fiscal year 2016, Kupper said. The most visited parks are Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia.

You can register for senior passes online, by mail, or by any park site issuing passes. While the National Park Service will still be issuing passes at the old price until Aug. 28, Kupper recommends purchasing yours at a physical park site as the quickest way to start exploring.