My New Senior Pass!

This is one of those “Hurray For Me!”… or “Don’t You Just Wish You Were Me?” kinda posts that you see on Facebook all the time.  Yeah… they’re super annoying, right?

BUT!… Besides the ‘Hurray For Me’ aspect of this post, I feel okay about putting it up because this is just that awesome… and… anyone in my age group can partake of this for themselves.  So besides bragging, I’m posting this as a public service.

Okay buckle up… like I keep saying, this is pretty damn cool!

How much does it cost you to drive into Yosemite or Yellowstone NP each time you go?  Or even just to drive through Yosemite NP on Highway 120 to get over the pass to Owen’s Valley… Right now it’s $30… just to drive over the pass?!… but it’s far shorter than taking 108 and 395, so you just bite the bullet and pay the money right?  Lassen, Death Valley and Joshua Tree NPs are all $20.  And even our humble little local Pinnacles NP is $15.  But Yosemite is the worst, cuz you gotta pay it just to drive to the other side of the hill!?

What if there was another way?  Sigh… just think about it.  Well if you’re over 62 years of age, there actually is another way.  For a measly $10, you can get yourself a lifetime pass to ALL the national parks in the United States.  That’s right, LIFETIME.  We visit the national parks quite a bit so this feels like we won the lottery.  But there’s got to be a trick right?  It’s just too good to be true.  Well there is no trick… it IS true.  Here are the rules taken directly from http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

Senior Pass

  • $10 Lifetime pass
  • For U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over.
  • May be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using this application form. The cost of obtaining a Senior Pass through the mail or online is twenty dollars ($20). Ten ($10) for the Senior Pass and ten ($10) for processing the application. Applicants must provide documentation of age and residency or citizenship.
  • May provide a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.
  • Generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessioners.

After waiting for what seemed like forever (that is until I turned 62), I got mine this last summer before a backpacking trip that started in Kings Canyon National Park.  And it was EASY.  I did it from my car through my open car window.  No muss, no fuss…

Here’s my pass…

Senior Pass

And now I can’t wait till my next visit to a national park to use it.

The State of California has something similar.  It’s called the Golden Bear Pass.  But it’s much more restrictive because it has to be renewed yearly and has an income restriction (you have to submit your state income tax returns).   But there’s another California Parks pass that’s almost as good which has no income restriction.  It’s the Limited Use Golden Bear Pass.  It costs $20, has to be renewed yearly and doesn’t work from the weekend before Memorial Day until after Labor Day (and just the opposite for the desert state parks).  But that’s still 9 months of access for $20.   I just applied for mine.  There’s a 4 to 6 week processing time therefore I’m waiting.  But in a few weeks, expect me to be bragging about that here too.

So… Hurray For Me!  Mostly becoming older pretty much sucks.  But there are one or two things that are more than just okay about it.