How to Visit Canada’s National Parks For Free
In honor of its 150th anniversary, Canada is offering everyone free access to all national parks this year.
All 47 of Canada’s national parks will have free admission this year for visitors (of any nationality) who enter with a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, available online. In order to get a Discovery Pass, travelers must “buy” the free pass online and wait for it to be sent to their homes.
Once visitors have a Discovery Pass, they can just hang it on in a car’s rearview mirror to get free admission to the park for everybody in the car (it’s generally a $7 admission). However guests staying in parks overnight still must pay camping fees and any add-ons, like tours, will cost an additional fee.
Related: A Guide to Voyageurs National Park
After exploring all 47 of the national parks, pass holders can also get free access to Canada’s 171 national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
The Discover Pass will expire on December 31—which means visitors only have nine months to visit the best that Canada has to offer.
To take full advantage of the pass, make sure to stop at Banff National Park. It’s perhaps the most well-known (and most-visited) in the Canadian national park system, as well as the oldest. The park spreads over 2,500 square miles in the Rocky Mountains. It features lakes, waterfalls, hot springs and trails and roads for hiking or driving.
Other top Canadian national parks include Pacific Rim National Park—which actually includes three separate geographic areas, an archipelago of 100 islands, 10 miles of sandy beach and 50 miles of backpacking routes—and Jasper National Park, which is described as the “gentle giant of the Rockies.”