Before you lace up your hiking boots or fill your pack with snacks for the trail, you need to check that you have the correct recreation pass for your adventure.
Different passes are required for different places, and the simplest way to see what pass you need is to visit the site of the lake, trail, or park that you will be exploring. If you want to be fully covered and not plan ahead for your excursion, it is best to have a Discover Pass and the Interagency Annual Pass. Here is a list of recreational passes and their costs.
For more help, check out the "Which Pass Do I Need? Q & A"
U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Many of Washington's National Wildlife Refuges - including Nisqually, Dungeness and Ridgefield NWR - require a recreation pass as well. Where applicable, the fee is usually $3 per family ($15 annually), payable at the visitor center or trailhead. They also accept the Interagency Annual, Access and Senior passes, as well as the Federal Duck Stamp pass.
Discover Pass Day Pass: $10/car. Allows visitors to park at state recreation lands for one day.
Discover Pass Annual Pass: $30. Allows visitors to park on state recreation lands for one year from issue.
The Discover Pass is required to park at Washington State Parks, Department of Natural Resources lands and Department of Fish and Wildlife trailheads. More than 7 million acres of Washington state-managed recreation lands are covered – including campgrounds, parks, wildlife areas, trails, natural areas, wilderness areas and water access points. For details about the pass, see the state's Discover Pass website.
America The Beautiful Annual Pass
America The Beautiful Annual Pass: $80. This pass provides entrance to all Forest Service, national park and other federal site charging fees for one year. Purchase at a National Forest office or online. Check out details here. Buy It Now!
U.S. Forest Service
All USFS trailheads in Washington and Oregon with developed facilities (toilet, picnic table) charge a user fee - this includes most trailheads in the Cascades and Olympics. A list of sites is here.
National Forest Recreation Day Pass: $5/car. Allows you to park at trailheads for one day.
Northwest Forest Pass: $30. An annual pass honored at all Forest Service day-use or entrance fee sites in Washington and Oregon. Buy It Now!
Winter Recreation- Washington Sno-Parks
Washington's Sno-Park Permits allow you to park at plowed lots accessible to groomed and backcountry trails. You can find your nearest non-motorized Sno-Park here, or you can snowshoe or ski on the nearest motorized Sno-Park.
Day Permits: $20/day. Day Permits are valid at any Sno-Park location, including Special Groomed Trail locations,* until midnight of the purchase date.
Seasonal Permits: $40/season. Seasonal Permits are valid at all Sno-Park locations EXCEPT those designated as Special Groomed Trail locations. If you know you'll be going out two or more times, buy the Seasonal Permit.
Special Groomed Trails Permits: $40/season add-on. This optional add-on to the Seasonal Permit allows you to park at Cabin Creek, Chiwawa, Crystal Springs, Hyak, Lake Easton, Lake Wenatchee, Mount Spokane and Nason Ridge where trails are groomed for cross-country skiers.
Discover Pass and Sno-Parks in State Parks: If you have a Sno-Park Seasonal Permit (the key word here is 'Seasonal') you do not need a Discover Pass to snowshoe within state parks. However, if you purchase a Sno-Park Day Permit you will also need either a Day Discover Pass or an Annual Discover Pass.
Entrance fee: $15/car. Charged at Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks. Good for seven days. There is no fee to enter North Cascades National Park.
Annual pass: $30. Provides entrance for a year to either Olympic or Mount Rainier National Park. This pass is only good at the park where it was purchased.
Annual Pass - Military: Free. Launched in May 2012, the Military Pass provides free access to federal land for all active military personnel and their dependents. Check out details here.
Information from Washington Trails Association