Mt Hood Recreational Passes: A guide to exploring the outdoors

There’s an old saying that goes, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” If Mt. Hood is beckoning you with its majestic peaks, lush forests, and stunning vistas, there’s no better time than now to answer that call. But, as the saying doesn’t tell you, you’ll need the right pass to enjoy all that Mt. Hood has to offer. That’s where this guide comes in handy! It’s packed with essential Mt. Hood Recreation Pass information, covering the day pass, NW Forest Pass, and Sno-Park Pass.

The Annual Northwest Forest Pass is honored at all day use, standard amenity recreation fee sites managed by the Forest Service in national forests in Washington and Oregon.

Sno Park Required, Mt Hood Real Estate

What are Mt. Hood Recreational Passes?

Mt Hood recreational passes are a requirement for accessing certain areas of the Mount Hood National Forest, such as campgrounds, day-use areas, and trailheads. These passes are part of the Recreation Enhancement Act, which allows fees to be charged for access to public lands. The fees collected from the passes go towards maintaining and improving the recreational facilities in the area, ensuring that they remain accessible for years to come. Keep in mind that the recreational pass is not the same as a campground fee, state park entrance fee, wilderness permit, or any other type of license such as a fishing license or forest product harvesting permit. 
click here for Harvesting Permit information

Where can I buy Mt. Hood Recreational Passes?

Check out this map for retail locations

The Mt Hood Recreation Pass can be purchased at several locations in the area, including ranger stations, visitor centers, and online. It’s important to note that some sites may only accept cash, so be sure to bring enough with you.

If you are coming up to Mt. Hood you can typically find these passes at sporting stores like REI and Big 5 Sporting Goods as well as Fred Meyers, Bi-Mart, and several other stores. The link above will open a map that will guide you to the closest in-person pick up area. 
You can also buy day passes online here . If you do not know your license plate for the digital day pass, just put “RENTAL” in the license plate section. 

The Sno-Park pass can also be picked up at ranger stations, many retailers, and most ski areas where one is required. Check out the vendor list here. You can also purchase online and print out an interim permit as you wait for the annual one to be mailed here.

What types of Mt. Hood Recreational Passes are available?

There are two types of Mt Hood Recreation Passes available:

  1. NW Forest Pass – This pass is valid for 12 months from the month of purchase and costs $30, it is required between Early May and the end of October.

  2. Day Pass – This pass is valid for one day and costs $5.

  3. Sno-Park Pass – This pass is required between November 1st until April 30th. It is available as a 1 day for $4, 3 day for $9, and an annual pass for $25.

Mt Hood Real Estate, Mt hood Day pass, mt hood recreation pass
mt hood recreation pass, mt hood living, mt hood real estate, mt hood annual pass
sno park pass

How long is the recreation pass good for?

The daily pass is good for one day, until midnight of the day displayed.

The yearly pass is good for one year from the month of purchase, until the last day of the month. If you buy a pass June 1st,2023 it will be good until June 30th,2024.

The Forest Pass is required from May 15th to October 15th and the Sno-Park Permit is from November 1st- April 30th.

Can I use these elsewhere?

The Northwest Forest Pass can be used at many forests in the Pacific Northwest. It is best practice to check in advance where you plan to go where it is accepted as Washington also has its own Discovery Pass that is required at certain areas. A few areas in Washington that allow the NW Forest Pass are  Mt. Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and  Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
You can also use this pass in Idaho in the Panhandle National Forests.

The Sno-Park pass is valid where required in Oregon but not Washington, However, It is interchangable with the required passes in Idaho and California, so make sure to pack it with you

Are there any discounted Passes?

Of course! There are discounts available in many forms.

Senior Pass

If you’re 62 or older, you qualify for this pass, which offers lifetime access to more than 2,000 recreation sites across the country, including Mt. Hood. It costs $80, and it’s a one-time purchase. You read that right – one-time!

Every Kid Outdoors Pass

Got kiddos in the fourth grade? They’re eligible for the Every Kid Outdoors Pass, which grants free access to national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges for an entire year. It’s a fantastic way to get the young’uns interested in nature!

Access Pass

For those with permanent disabilities, the Access Pass is an excellent option. This pass offers lifetime access to more than 2,000 recreation sites, just like the Senior Pass. Here’s the kicker – it’s free of charge!

Volunteer Pass

Are you a nature lover with a penchant for giving back? If you volunteer 250 service hours with federal agencies, you can earn a Volunteer Pass. This pass offers a year of free access to sites that charge standard amenity fees.

Military Pass

As a small token of gratitude for their service, all active military personnel and their dependents are eligible for the Military Pass. This pass offers annual access to all federal recreation sites.

Golden Age and Golden Access Passports

If you’re a bit of an old-timer and still holding onto a Golden Age or Golden Access Passport, you’re in luck! These passes are no longer sold, but they’ll be honored for the lifetime of the pass holder.

Here is our Tips!

For the NW Forest Pass, we recommend purchasing one in person from the ranger station. Why? Because if you buy one there, they will give you a free sticker version for your convertible or motorcycle.
We also recommend buying one per family. You can switch them car to car as needed, however, you still need one pass per parked car.

Sno-Park Pass: As an avid winter enthusiast, I recommend actually keeping this in your wallet or purse. Here’s why: Sometimes you may carpool with friends who do not have one, some times you may swap out your car for another. The Sno-Park pass comes with a removal adhesive so that it can be stuck to your window. I would leave the adhesive strip in place and just set the pass on your dash.


Check out this Resource Page to learn more about the Mt. Hood and surrounding Areas

Want to live out here? Check out all of the local listings below!

Compare listings

Price Range From To
Other Features