Explore Washington State with a Discover Pass

The Discover Pass is your key to exploring Washington State’s vast public lands. For just $30 a year this pass lets you access millions of acres filled with diverse recreational opportunities. You can buy it online, in person, or even during your vehicle license renewal.

Understanding the Discover Pass

Washington State Discover Pass HangerThe Discover Pass was introduced in 2011 by the Washington State Legislature and Governor Christine Gregoire to maintain and support the Washington State’s parks and recreation lands. The pass was designed to offset reductions in general tax support for these precious outdoor spaces.

Buying an annual Discover Pass for $30 gives you unlimited access to all state parks for a whole year. It’s transferable between two vehicles, so you can explore with different sets of wheels. Just remember to display it on your front windshield when parked. If you’re planning a day trip, a day-use pass is available for $10. It’s valid for the marked date only, perfect for a spontaneous adventure.

Failure to have a Discover Pass when required can lead to a $99 fine. But don’t worry, there are exemptions for certain situations.

Benefits of the Discover Pass

Securing a Discover Pass grants you annual access to the expansive public territories of Washington State. Simultaneously aiding in the safeguarding and nurturing of our state’s varied landscapes, ecosystems, and fauna. Your purchase signifies a commitment to the enduring health and protection of our precious natural resources.

The pass unveils a realm of outdoor pursuits within Washington’s State Parks, bridging you with the untamed beauty of its mountainous terrains and tranquil shorelines. It affords you the privilege to immerse in the state’s rich biodiversity and ecological variety.

Whether your interests lie in hiking, birdwatching, or enjoying a serene picnic the Discover Pass serves as your key to a treasure trove of recreational ventures.

Free Days 2024 No Explore Pass Needed

Explore Pass Free Days Washington’s State Parks, along with the Departments of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) and Natural Resources (DNR), present numerous “free days” when a Discover Pass isn’t necessary to access these areas.

Listed below are the Free Days for 2024:

  • January 1 — First Day Hikes; New Year’s Day
  • January 15 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • March 9 — Billy Frank Junior’s Birthday
  • March 19 — State Parks’ 111th Birthday
  • April 22 — Earth Day
  • June 8 — National Get Outdoors Day
  • June 9 — Free Fishing Day
  • June 19 — Juneteenth
  • September 28 — National Public Lands Day
  • October 10 — World Mental Health Day
  • November 11 — Veterans Day
  • November 29 — Autumn Day

These free days apply solely to day use (not overnight stays or rented facilities) and are valid at state parks, as well as lands managed by the Washington State Departments of Natural Resources and Fish & Wildlife. Note that Sno-Park permits remain necessary on free days at designated Sno-Parks during the winter season.

Check Out Washington

Introducing Check Out Washington, an innovative program enabling users to borrow a Discover Pass from their nearby library.

With your library card you can reserve a limited-edition Discover Pass for a week, granting you free access to day visits at Washington State Parks and lands managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Yet another benefit of having a library card! You can check to see if your local library is participating here.

This initiative aims to facilitate access for individuals, families, and communities to the vast recreational lands spanning millions of acres throughout the state, all at no cost.

In collaboration with the Washington State Parks Foundation, Washington State Library, and the Washington departments of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources, Washington State Parks proudly presents this program.

Purchasing Your Discover Pass

Ready to embark on your Washington adventure? Purchasing your Discover Pass is simple, whether you choose to do it online, in person, or even over the phone. Purchase your pass anytime, anywhere. It’s as easy as a few clicks and you’re set to explore.

If you’re more of a face-to-face kind of person, there’s no need to worry. You can also buy your Discover Pass at over 80 retail locations. Or you can purchase your pass from over 600 recreational license vendors across Washington State. Additionally any of the State Parks headquarters or region offices can help you purchase your pass.

You can also purchase a Discover Pass day pass. For $10 you can access all of the areas covered with a Discover Pass.

Maybe you’re renewing your vehicle license and you’d like to save time by doing two things at once? No problem! You can purchase your Discover Pass then. Just call 866-320-9933 and they’ll help you out. Your pass will arrive in your mailbox in 7 to 14 business days.

Maximizing Your Discover Pass Usage

Now that you’ve got your Discover Pass, let’s talk about how you can get the most out of it. This annual pass unlocks access to millions of acres of state-managed lands, a treasure trove of parks, and countless recreation opportunities. Make sure to plan your visits throughout the year to fully take advantage of the pass.

Remember, the Discover Pass is transferable between two vehicles, so share the joy of Washington’s outdoors with a friend or family member. Just ensure it’s displayed on the front windshield when parked in designated areas.

If you’re a fan of winter sports, note that the Discover Pass doesn’t cover Sno-Park permits required for winter activities from December through March. So, plan accordingly and arrange for a Sno-Park permit separately for winter fun.

Some Great Places You Can Use Your Discover Pass

Seaquest State Park

Deception Pass State Park

Riverside State Park Bowl & Pitcher

Patterson Lake

Douglas Falls Nature Loop Trail

Twin Falls in Olallie State Park

Little Twin Lakes

Nine Mile Falls

Dash Point State Park

Flaming Geyser State Park

Fort Worden State Park

Federation State Park

FAQ about the Discover Pass

What is the fine for not having a Discover Pass in Washington state?
The fine is $99 you may be eligible to have the fine reduced to $59 if you prove to the court you purchased a Discover Pass within 15 days after you received the fine.

How long is a Washington state Discover Pass good for?
The pass is good for one year from the date you purchase it. If you purchase a one day pass the pass is good for the date marked on the pass.

What is the difference between the Discover Pass and the Northwest Forest Pass?
The Northwest Forrest pass is good for federal lands (National Parks and forests) The Discover Pass is good for state land and state parks.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and Explore Washington State.

Remember there is always more to explore.

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Explore Washington State is committed to highlighting every corner of Washington State, publishing new content focused on hidden gems, travel tips, outdoor activities and more throughout the week. Remember, there is always more to explore!