Tucson, AZ – Visitors to Saguaro National Park will notice some changes in January.
First, Saguaro National Park is changing the way the park manages overnight camping permits in the Rincon Mountain Wilderness. Starting today, campers will go to Recreation.gov to reserve their camping permits for trips starting on February 1 or later. The visitor center will not issue permits in person after January 31. Permit reservations are taken 2 months in advance of the permitted start of a trip.
“We are responding to a visitor request to make obtaining camping permits easier, especially for through hikers on the Arizona Trail,” according to Chief Ranger, Ray O’Neil. “Visitors will be able to make camping arrangements online from their homes prior to their trip or on their mobile devices without having to come into the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center to pick up the permit.”
The park has managed wilderness camping permits in person or via fax and snail mail. Park staff believes this will create a more responsive and faster service for campers without an increase in cost per permit. Permits will continue to cost $8 per campsite per night.
Saguaro National Park has six campgrounds in the Rincon Mountains, all of which are accessible only by hiking or on horseback. For more information and the link to the recreation.gov website, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/sagu/
In addition, the National Park Service formally announced that Saguaro National Park will modify its entrance fees to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs to enhance the visitor experience. Effective January 1, 2020 entrance fees to the park will be $25 per vehicle, $20 per motorcycle, $15 for individual pedestrian or bicycle, and an annual park pass will cost $45. This change is the final incremental increase designed to align the park with the national fee schedule designed in response to visitor comments on a proposal in October 2017, where each fee collecting park would implement a modest increase rather than the higher peak-season fees initially proposed for only 17 highly-visited parks.
Saguaro National Park is one of 117 National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee, the other 300 smaller national park units will remain free to enter.
The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and the Lifetime Senior Pass will remain at $80. The Annual Senior Pass will remain at $20 and the Active Military and Access Passes will continue to be free.
The revenue from entrance fees at Saguaro National Park enables the park to address ongoing park-wide trail maintenance and ensure quality experience for park visitors.