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Do I need to pay $ to park at trailheads?

Official NW Forest Pass web site: www.naturenw.org

In the National Forests (and the program is also shared by one National Park, North Cascades National Park), some trailheads do require a parking fee. In May 2000 they started a new program that calls for the purchase of a "Northwest Forest Pass." Created to reduce confusion, this pass "consolidates numerous fees under a single pass" [Source of info]. Your 1999 trailhead parking passes may no longer be valid, although I hope not because we still have a couple!

Where do I buy one?

You can generally find Northwest Forest Passes at Ranger Stations, and a select list of businesses. Your best bet is to go on-line prior to your departure to the homepage of the National Forest you wish to visit. They will have a list of where you can buy passes nearby. Note that the Mountlake Terrace Ranger Station no longer provides maps and passes! Go figure.

Here is what the NFS has to say about it [Source of info]:

Northwest Forest Passes are now required year-round in Oregon and Washington to park at specific fee demo sites on National Forests.

The Northwest Forest Pass is part of a nationwide Recreational Fee Demonstration Program. As public demand for recreation opportunities has continued to increase, our budgets have decreased. The Fee Demonstration Program is being tried as another way to generate funds for much-needed maintenance work on our trails and trailheads.

Northwest Forest Passes must be displayed on the rear view mirror of all vehicles parked at fee demo sites. Passes must be purchased in advance.

80% of the funds collected will be returned to participating Forests to fund trailhead and trail maintenance projects.

The Northwest Forest Pass is for parking at participating trailheads, picnic areas, boat launches, rustic campsites, visitor centers and interpretive sites in the national forests of Oregon and Washington and in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. The public can expect to need a Northwest Forest Pass where there are facilities, trails or developments that the Forest Service provides to enhance their experience. There are hundreds of places of this kind where the public can still park for free. General access to the national forests is always free.


Annual Northwest Forest Passes (good for one year from date of purchase) cost $30.00. Day passes are $5.00.

Golden Age and Golden Access cardholders may purchase their cards at a 50% discount...

Last updated 8/00