Get The Right Pass for Your NW Adventure

Whenever you drive onto State or Federal ground, there’s a sign: “Must Display Pass” or “Pass Required” or something along those lines. Day passes are usually an option, but if you’re going to the same type of park more than once, the annual pass could be the better choice. Let’s look at a few options for NW passes, so you can figure out which pass is right for you.

Dougan Falls. Pass Required. Photo by Ashley Whitham.

Discover Pass

The Discover Pass is a Washington State pass for day-use recreation. You can purchase a Day-use pass for $10, or the annual pass for $30. It allows access for state recreation land, including more than 100 state parks, almost 2000 miles of trails, 80+ natural areas, 30+ wildlife areas, and more than 350 primitive recreation sites, like picnic areas. You do not need a pass if you are camping at a state park, or on any of the ‘free days‘, including Earth Day, National Public Lands Day, Veterans Day, and more. (Click here for other reasons you may not need a Discover Pass.) The Discover Pass covers a lot of land in Washington State. Click here to see if your site is on the list.

Little Zig Zag Falls Trail, Mt. Hood National Forest. Pass Required. Photo by Ashley Whitham.

Northwest Forest Pass

While the Discover Pass allows you access to recreation on state land, the Northwest Forest Pass gives you access to recreation on federal land. The Northwest Forest Pass is $30 for the year, and covers all day-use recreational sites in national forests in Washington AND Oregon! If the site is per-vehicle, the pass covers everyone in that non-commercial vehicle. If the site charges per-person, the pass covers only the pass holder.


Oregon Pacific Coast Passport

This multi-agency pass covers the entry, vehicle parking and day use fees for 16 federal and state sites on Highway 101. If the site has per vehicle fees, the pass covers the holder and anyone in their non-commercial vehicle. If the site has per person fees, the pass covers the holder only. For a 5-day vehicle passport, the cost is $10. Or purchase the annual passport for $35. Check out their brochure to see which locations are covered by the passport.


Oregon State Parks Parking Permit

For day-use parking in Oregon’s State Parks, you can purchase the day-use parking permit. For a one-time use, you can purchase a daily permit for $5 per vehicle per day. If you plan to enjoy Oregon State Parks for more than 1 day, you can purchase the 12-month day-use permit for $30, or plan ahead and purchase the 24-month day-use permit for $50. These permits are valid in parks operated by Oregon State Parks, and cannot be used for camping or extra vehicle fees.


Sno-Park Parking Permits

Are you a lover of the winter sports? Sno-park permits are for use from November 1 – April 30. There is an annual permit for $25, a 3-day permit for $9, and a daily permit for $4. Oregon permits are honored in California and Idaho, and Oregon honors Sno-Park permits from California and Idaho. Read more on Oregon’s brochure.

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park. Fee Required, covered by America the Beautiful Pass. Photo by Ashley Whitham.

America the Beautiful Pass

The ‘America the Beautiful‘ Pass is a national, annual pass that allows access to National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands. The pass costs $80 annually, and is nontransferable. If the admission is per car, the pass covers the non-commercial vehicle that the pass holder is in. If the admission is per person, the pass covers the pass holder plus 3 persons.


*All passes are subject to changes in price and restrictions. Best of the Northwest can try to keep information current, but it is up to you to do your own research before purchasing any product or pass.