Recreation Passes & Permits

The Forest Adventure Pass

National Forest Adventure Pass

The Recreation Fee Program, which includes the Adventure Pass, helps:

  • Conserve, protect, and restore natural and cultural resources
  • Enhance recreation opportunities by funding trail maintenance, upgrades, safety features, clean facilities and new developments

Wherever you live in Southern California, you're just a short drive away from a spectacular wildland adventure, with recreation opportunities in the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests.

On the Cleveland National Forest, you can enjoy hiking, biking, camping, climbing, off-highway vehicle travel, picnicking, and even fishing. All within a short drive of San Diego, and Orange or Riverside Counties.

For a list of sites on the Cleveland that now require an Adventure Pass, please visit the Cleveland Recreation Fee Site, or for more information on the Los Padres, Angeles, or San Bernardino fee sites, please visit the Adventure Pass website.

The Adventure Pass is offered in annual, secondary and daily passes. 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.

  • The annual pass is $30 and good for 12 consecutive months. It covers one car with up to 4 individuals.
  • The secondary pass is used in conjunction with the Adventure Pass and to cover 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.

Other Permits & Passes

Forest Campgrounds require additional permits for use, as does dispursed camping, and some trails, such as Cedar Creek Falls. For information on whether or not a recreation area requires a permit or pass, please see our Standard Amenity Fee Site

In general, you can purchase many of these passes and permits at any Forest Service office near you.

Forest Permits

Wilderness/Long Distance/Backpacking

A Wilderness & Visitor Permit is required for overnight camping or hiking in areas outside of established campgrounds on the Cleveland. All District now accept permit application online. Please allow 2 - 3 days for processing and contact the respective Ranger District if there are any questions.

The only area where this permit is not valid is along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on the Descanso Ranger District from March 1 to May 31, 2020. A PCT Developed Camping Permit is required for those looking to backpack on the PCT during this timeframe. For information regarding Cleveland PCT permitting and general trail information, please see our designated  Pacific Crest Trail page.

Please reference the District specific permit information below to ensure the correct application is filled out for your chosen location:

  • Descanso - requires a Visitor's permit to camp outside of any developed campground on the District. This includes camping within the Hauser and Pine Creek Wilderness areas. Dispersed camping is not allowed within the boundaries of the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. For information on dispersed camping opportunities, please refer to the Descanso Dispersed Camping Guide or call the Descanso District Office at (619) 445-6235. For quicker assistance, please complete the Visitor Permit Application. If you are experiencing issues sending this form, please save it and email to

ATTENTION: The permitting system for long distance backpacking has changed for the 2020 PCT season. Visitor permits along the PCT will no longer be issued from March 1 through May 31, 2020. Visitors looking to section hike the PCT are prohibited from dispersed camping within ½ mile of the trail and are required to stay in developed campgrounds while traveling through the Descanso Ranger District. For more information on the permitting changes and the PCT Developed Camping Permit please visit the Pacific Crest Trail page.

  • Palomar - Backcounty camping can be done anywhere on the District. Dispersed camping restrictions on the PCT through the Descanso Ranger District do not apply to the Palomar Ranger District. For information regarding best spots or particular points of interest, please contact the Ranger District at 760-788-0250. For quicker assistance, please complete the online Palomar Wilderness Application (Users have noted difficulty in sending - please download and save to your computer before filling out and submitting). If the form still does not work, please save it and email it to
  • Trabuco - Wilderness permits are required for camping and are available only within the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. Only a limited number are issued per day. Please allow 2 days for processing. Complete and submit the Trabuco Wilderness Application. If you are experiencing issues sending this form, please save it and email it to

Campfire Permits

Wood or charcoal fires are never allowed outside of developed campgrounds or picnic sites on the Cleveland. However, portable stoves or lanterns that use gas, kerosene, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are permitted unless elevated fire conditions prohibit their use. Please see our Fire Restrictions page for current information.

National Recreation Passes

Interagency Annual Pass 2019 - Every Kid Outdoors Interagency Annual Military Pass Annual Senior Pass Lifetime Senior Pass Interagency Access Pass Interagency Volunteer Pass

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. National passes are honored nationwide at Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service sites charging entrance or standard and expanded amenity fees.

There are several pass options to consider. To make the best choice on which pass to purchase, you should consider your recreation plans for the year:

  • Are you planning limited ventures on a single forest? Your best value may be a single-day pass.
  • Are you a frequent visitor to one or more sites? a multi-day pass or annual pass that covers a forest or region may be the best option.
  • Are you planning trips across various states or federal lands? An Interagency Annual Pass is perfect for traveling adventurers that plan to visit lands managed by other federal agencies.
  • Do you qualify for a discounted annual or lifetime pass? Lifetime passes are provided at a discounted rate for seniors and those with permanent disabilities, while free annual passes are provided to active duty military and their dependents.
  • Are you, or a member of your family in the 4th grade or 10 years old? The "Every Kid Outdoors" pass gives fourth graders free access to 2,000-plus federal recreation sites. Detailed information about that pass is available on the Every Kid Outdoors site.

The USGS Store provides Frequently Asked Questions about Recreational Passes. For more information about permits and passes, see our national Recreation Fees and Passes website.


Recreation Fee Area Maps and FAQs

Recreation fee area maps by district and frequently asked questions about fees and revenues.

Related Links


  • Fee revenues make a difference
    Thank you. Your fees make a difference!

    National Forests in California are using recreation fee revenues to improve and enhance recreation opportunities. See how your fees have made a difference!