Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard about the proposed peak season fee increase for 17 US National Parks. The National Park Service recently announced this increase, and cited that the additional funds are needed for repair, upkeep and improvements to the national parks. That said, it’s still a proposed increase, and if adopted it will only be effective during the peak seasons of these parks. The peak season fee at the following parks will increase to $70 under his proposal.
Peak Season January 1 to May 31
- Joshua Tree National Park
Peak Season May 1 to September 30
- Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Denali National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Olympic National Park
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Zion National Park
Peak Season June 1 to October 31
- Acadia National Park
- Mount Rainier National Park
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Shenandoah National Park
The fee increase will go into effect on the first day of the peak season in 2018. Admission fees will remain unchanged for the rest of the year.
Although this seems like a staggering increase, our national parks are still a bargain. Where else can a family of four – or more – pay just $70 for a whole week? Additionally, Access Passes are still free, and will continue to be accepted all year. And even though the Senior Passes are now $80, they are good forever. Let’s not forget that fourth-graders and their families also get free admission too. Additionally, a yearly national park pass is available for $80, so it you’re going to visit more than one national park in the peak season it’s the most economical option. And if you live near a park and plan to visit it often, all the parks have their own annual passes available.
Last but not least, consider visiting the parks during the off season. To be honest, I live near Yosemite and refuse to visit it in the peak season because it’s just too crowded. That said, it’s beautiful in the late fall and early spring. The same holds true for many of the other national parks on the list.
In any case, this isn’t a done deal yet, but you may want to keep this proposed increase on your radar, if you plan to visit any of these parks during their peak seasons next year.