Adventure Pass | Interagency Recreation Pass | Wilderness permits | Every Kid in the Park |
The Adventure Pass is for recreation use, designed to meet the special needs of the extraordinary geography of the southern California region and address the specific challenges we face with heavy dispersed recreation use. Currently, not every site on the Cleveland requires an Adventure Pass and many forest areas can be accessed without charge. As a general rule of thumb, any trail, recreation area, campground, or maintained forest ground that offers amenities such as toilets, parking lots, restrooms, trash cans, or running water will require an Adventure Pass.
The Adventure Pass is offered in annual, secondary and daily passes. The annual pass is $30 and good for 12 consecutive months. It covers one car with up to 4 individuals. The secondary pass is to be used in conjunction with the Adventure Pass and covers a second vehicle. This pass is $5 and also good for the duration of the Adventure Pass. The daily pass is a self scratcher good for 24 hours and costs $5. These passes can be purchased at many local vendors, the Forest district offices, or the main Cleveland National Forest office at 10845 Rancho Bernardo Rd in San Diego.
Forest Campgrounds require additional permits for use, as does dispursed camping, and some trails, such as Cedar Creek Falls, requires an additional permit to hike. For information on whether or not a recreation area requires a permit or pass, it is best to contact the designated Ranger districts. For the Orange/Riverside County area, please contact the Trabuco District. For the East San Diego County area, such as Alpine, please contact the Descanso District. For the North County San Diego area such as Escondido, please see the Palomar District.
The Forest Service offers a variety of Recreation passes, each serving different functions. Some of the more popular ones include the Interagency Annual Pass (also known as the America the Beautiful Pass), and the Every Kid in the Park pass, but we also issue wilderness, backpacking, long distance, remote camping and campfire permits working in conjunction with the state of California.
America the Beautiful
America the Beautiful passes cover entrance fees found at federal recreation areas such as National Parks and wildlife refuges. They also cover the use of facilities and services at many day use sites on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands. There are several pass options to consider. To make the best choice on which pass to purchase, you should think about your recreation plans for the following year.
Annual Pass - the annual pass is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase for the individual names(or 2 if both signature lines are used) plus 3 adults ages 15+. The cost is $80 and expires on the last day of the month purchased. Children ages 15 and under are free. This pass is non transferable and can be used at any Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service site.
Senior Pass - the senior pass is valid for the lifetime of the passholder and covers the assigned individual plus 3 adults ages 15+. The cost is $10 and is issues to seniors ages 62+. Passes must be obtained in person and proof of age and US citizenship is required. This pass is non transferable and can be used at any Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service site.
Disabled Veteran/Military Pass - Military individuals can receive the annual pass free of charge with CAD card or proof of active service. The card issued is the annual pass, and the same restrictions apply. Military passes are good for active duty only and is not applicable to those in the Reserves. 30% or more Disabled Veterans are eligible for a free lifetime pass which can be used at any Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service site. Passes must be obtained in person and proof of disability and US citizenship is required.
Disabled Americans Pass - Those with a permanent disability are also eligible for a free lifetime pass. Applications must be accepted in person and proof of permanent disability must be provided. This can include a doctors note or state/federal disability letter. This cannot include a handicap placard, which cannot be used as proof of disability.
Wilderness/Long Distance/Backpacking/Campfire Permits
Depending on the function desired, this permit is mostly suited for those looking for overnight camping or hiking in areas outside of established campgrounds. This includes those traveling the PCT beginning on the Cleveland who require a long distance or backpacking permit where mileage and entry/exit points are defined. The campfire permit is a state permit issued by the Cleveland which can only be provided in conjunction with PCT permits as campfires are prohibited on Forest land. For more information on PCT permits please contact Maureen Anderson at the Descanso District. Or, for more information regarding Cleveland PCT trails and facts, please see our designated PCT Page. As a general overview, the following districts have varying guidelines on Wilderness permits, as are outlined below:
- Descanso - provides permits to camp in Wilderness Areas anywhere except within the boundaries of the Laguna Mountain Recreation area, where backcountry camping is prohibited.
- Palomar - does not require or issue permits for Wilderness camping and any area can be utilized. For information regarding best spots or particular points of interest, please contact the ranger district directly.
- Trabuco - provides permits for Wilderness camping only within the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness area and only a limited number are issued per day.
Every Kid in the Park
Every Kid in the Park pass provides free access to Federal lands, forests, parks, and waters for one 4th grader and up to up to 3 adults. Initiated September 1, 2015, this new program encourages children to get outdoors and enjoy the history, culture, and excitement that comes with experiencing these areas, initiating passion and commitment to preserving places that matter. To obtain the pass, 4th graders must go to www.everykidinapark.gov and complete an online game, which can be found under the "Get Your Pass" tab. Upon completion, the child can download and print a personalized voucher to take to any Federal lands or waters office locations to exchange it for a year long pass. Please go to EKIP Pass Issuance List for a complete list of locations that can issue passes.