Our national and state parks should be at the top of your family’s adventure list. To make your planning easier, we put together a list of fees and passes required to visit them.
America the Beautiful Pass This pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites around the nation. The pass covers entrance fees at national parks, national wildlife refuges, lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The annual pass costs $80. US citizens with permanent disabilities, currently serving military (active, guard or reserve) and 4th graders are eligible for a free annual pass. Seniors over 62 can buy a lifetime pass for $80, or $20 annually.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Entrance to the park is free, but it will cost $10 per car for parking. For seniors over 62 the fee is $5, active military members are free of charge. Your paid parking voucher is good for reentry for one year after purchase. America the Beautiful passes are not valid at Mount Rushmore.
Wind Cave and Jewel Cave Entrance to these parks is free, which gives you access to hiking trails within the park. Admission and tours of the caves cost an additional fee.
Devil’s Tower Our nation’s first national monument is worth the trek over to western Wyoming. Learn about the formation of this rocky monolith, as well as the culture of the Native American tribes that hold it sacred. A weekly pass costs $25 per vehicle, or $45 annually.
Badlands National Park This otherworldly landscape will leave your family speechless. It’s like few places on Earth, and has even been used in several Hollywood movies as a set for other planets. A daily pass costs $30 per vehicle, and you can easily spend all day here hiking, driving scenic loops, or watching the wildlife.
South Dakota State Parks and Recreation Areas
The Black Hills is not only home to great national parks, we have several state parks that rival the best in the nation. Each of these parks and recreation areas have their own fees, but South Dakota offers several free days throughout the year:
The weekend before Memorial Day
Custer State Park Our state’s first and biggest park is home to the second largest bison herd in the country. Not only that, herds of elk, bighorn sheep and deer also roam the prairies. Stay for lunch, or camp for the weekend, Custer State Park is truly a natural playground. A weekly pass costs $20 per vehicle. Annual passes are $36 per vehicle, $18 for one additional, or $80 for a transferrable annual pass.
Angostura Recreation Area This reservoir in the southern hills is a family favorite due to its warm waters and sandy beaches. A daily pass costs $8 per vehicle, annuals are $36 for the first vehicle, $18 for the second, and $80 for a transferrable annual pass. Camping overnight costs $26/night for sites with electric hookups, and $22/night without.
Bear Butte State Park This geological formation is one of several intrusions of igneous rock in the Black Hills. It provides amazing vistas of the surrounding region, and the site is sacred to many American Indian tribes who come here to hold religious ceremonies. A daily pass is $8 per vehicle, annuals are $36 for the first vehicle, $18 for the second, and $80 for a transferrable annual pass. Camping overnight at non-electric sites is $11/day, horse camp sites are $18/day.
The Mickelson Trail The Mickelson is a 109 mile stretch of railways turned into a well-maintained trail system. With 15 trailheads throughout the Black Hills, your family can jump on and off at a different place every time as you explore the 100+ railroad bridges and 4 rock tunnels. A daily pass is $4, and annual is $15; a pass is required for any person over 12 years of age using the trail.
**All fees were current as of publishing date. Please see websites for individual parks for the most current information.**