About the Access Pass:
The Access Pass is a free, lifetime pass available to United States citizens or permanent residents, regardless of age, that have a permanent disability.
The Pass can be used at over 2000 Federal recreation sites across the nation, including National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and many National Forest and other federal recreation lands. The Access Pass admits the Pass owner and any passengers traveling with him/her in a single non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas or the Pass owner and three additional adults where per-person fees are charged. The Access Pass may also offer a discount on some expanded amenity fees, such as camping. Discounts offered by the Pass vary widely across the many different types of recreation sites. Pass owners are encouraged to check with sites they plan to visit before obtaining a Pass to verify that their Pass will be accepted. Anytime a Pass is used, photo identification will be requested to verify Pass ownership.
A free, lifetime pass - available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability (does not have to be a 100% disability) - that provides admittance to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by five Federal agencies.
See Access Pass Benefits section.
The Access Pass may be issued to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of any age that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability (does not have to be a 100% disability) that severely limits one or more major life activities.
A permanent disability is a permanent physical, mental, or sensory impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
The disability requirements for the Access Pass are not based on percentage of disability. To qualify for the Pass the disability must be permanent and limit one or more major life activities.
Some examples of acceptable documentation include:
- Statement by a licensed physician (Statement must include: that the individual has a PERMANENT disability, that it limits one or more aspects of their daily life, and the nature of those limitations.) ;
- Document issued by Federal agency such as the Veteran's Administration, Social Security Disability Income, or Supplemental Security Income;
- Document issued by a State agency such as a vocational rehabilitation agency.
How to Obtain an Access Pass:
The Pass may be obtained two ways, either at a federal recreation site where entrance or standard amenity fees are charged or through the mail. To obtain a Pass you must have photo identification to verify that you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, which could include:
- A U.S. State or Territory issued Driver’s License, Identification, or Birth Certificate
- A U.S. Passport or Passport Card
- A Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
You must also provide documentation that you have a permanent disability, which could include:
- A statement signed by a licensed physician attesting that you have a permanent physical, mental, or sensory impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, and stating the nature of the impairment; OR
- A document issued by a Federal agency, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Administration, which attests that you have been medically determined to be eligible to receive Federal benefits as a result of blindness or permanent disability. Other acceptable Federal agency documents include proof of receipt of Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI); OR
- document issued by a State agency such as a vocational rehabilitation agency, which attests that you have been medically determined to be eligible to receive vocational rehabilitation agency benefits or services as a result of medically determined blindness or permanent disability. Showing a State motor vehicle department disability sticker, license plate or hang tag is not acceptable documentation.
Obtaining a Pass Through the Mail
To obtain an Access Pass through the mail you must complete this application, provide a photocopy of proof of citizenship or residency, documentation of disability and pay the processing fee. The cost of obtaining an Access Pass through the mail is ten dollars ($10) for processing the application (the Pass is free).
Obtaining a Pass in Person
When you arrive at the recreation site, the officer selling the pass will verify your documentation of disability and that you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident by checking your identification. You will then be issued the Pass. The Pass is free if obtained in person, there is no processing fee. Before making a trip to obtain a Pass, be sure to contact the site to ensure that they have passes available.
Lost or stolen Passes cannot be replaced at this time. If your Pass has been lost or stolen you must purchase a new one. Worn or damaged Passes can be replaced free of charge at any recreation site where Passes are issued, or through the mail by returning the Pass with this application and paying the ten dollar ($10) processing fee.
Some examples of documentation that is accepted and not accepted:
Notice of Award (SSDI)
Summary of Benefits (VA)
Award Letter (VA)
** Letter must denominate any disability percentage **
Notice of Benefit Increase (SSDI)
Golden Age Passports are valid for a lifetime however, if they physically wear out you will need to obtain a replacement Access Pass with proper identification.
- Can my permanently disabled child get an Access Pass?
Yes. There is not an age requirement for this pass.
- Where can I use my Access Pass?
Please contact a site directly if you have a question about pass acceptance and fees.
The Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, USACE, and Bureau of Reclamation honor the Access Pass at sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fees (Day use fees) are charged.
In addition, the Tennessee Valley Authority may honor the Access Pass for entrance or camping discounts.
Access Pass Use
- Who is admitted with an Access Pass?
The Access Pass admits pass owner/s and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas and pass owner + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, where per-person fees are charged. (Children under 16 are always admitted free.)
Note: Photo identification will be requested to verify pass ownership.
- If I have more than four people in my car, how many passes do I need?
- One pass covers the vehicle at sites that charge "per vehicle".
- At "per person" sites, the applicable fee will be charged for each additional person.
- My family is traveling in two cars; will one Access Pass let all of us into the site?
- What about motorcycle drivers who have an Access Pass?
An Access Pass permits entrance for one motorcycle.
- What if I forgot to bring my Access Pass?
You will be required to pay the applicable Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s).
- What if my Access Pass is lost, stolen or damaged?
- If lost or stolen, you'll need to apply for another one.
- If damaged, it can be replaced as long as a portion of the pass is identifiable and you show proper identification.
- How do I show my pass at a site that doesn't have an entrance station?
At Federal recreation sites that don't have entrance stations you need to display your pass or show proof of pass ownership to compliance officers via one of the two following methods:
A pass can either be displayed on your rearview mirror using a free hangtag or on your dashboard with the signature side showing. Remember, the hangtag itself is only a way to display your Pass, and is not valid for entry unless it holds a valid Pass.
If you own an open-topped vehicle (jeep, motorcycle, etc.) you may obtain a free decal to attach to your vehicle that will serve as proof of payment at sites that don't have a staffed entrance station.
- Decals are issued on annual basis, even for owners of lifetime Senior/Access passes
- Decals are NOT valid for entry at staffed entrance sites - you MUST show your pass
- Decals must be obtained in person and you must show the following: your Pass, driver's license and vehicle registration. The name on all three documents must match.
- All sites that issue passes issue free hangtags
- Can I use my Access Pass at state parks or local city/county recreation sites?
No. The Access Pass is valid only at participating Federal recreation sites. Visit http://www.recreation.gov for information about Federal recreation sites.
Access Pass Benefits
Please contact a site directly if you have a question about pass acceptance and fees.
- In addition to free entry, does the Access Pass include any discounts at Federal Recreation sites?
- What are the discount guidelines?
The pass program is managed by five Federal agencies that operate under different regulations and have different fees. Therefore, the discount program for the Access Pass is not handled in the same way on all Federal recreation lands.
In general discounts are honored as follows:
- Individual Campsites: The discount only applies to the fee for the campsite physically occupied by the pass owner, not to any additional campsite(s) occupied by members of the pass owner's party.
- Campsites with Utility Hookups: If utility fees are charged separately, there is no discount. The discount may apply if the utility fee is combined (seamless) with the campsite fee.
- Group Campsites and Facilities (including, but not limited to, group facilities, picnic areas or pavilions): There is no discount for group campsites and other group facilities that charge a flat fee. If the group campsite has a per person fee rate, only the pass owner receives a discount; others using the site pay the full fee.
- Guided Tours: The pass offers discounts on some guided tours. Only the pass owner receives a discount if one is offered.
- Transportation Systems: (Inquire Locally)
- Concessionaire Fees: (Inquire Locally)
- Special Use Permit Fees: (Inquire Locally)
- Does my Access Pass provide any discounts at Cooperating Association bookstores or gift shops that are located in the Federal Recreation sites?
No. The Access Pass does not cover discounts in on-site bookstores or gift stores.