Banff National Park
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Free Entry Into National Parks in Canada All Year Long

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C anada may be celebrating 150 years as a confederation in 2017 — but you get the gift, as you can visit any of the national parks at any time during the year free of charge.

Free Entry Into National Parks in Canada All Year Long

You read that correctly — you will not be required to pay an entrance fee this year when visiting national parks, national marine conservation areas, and national historic sites in Canada. The 2017 Discovery Pass will provide free admission for the entire year for unlimited opportunities to visit the places of Parks Canada from coast to coast to coast from Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017.

As an additional bonus, you can get a 15 percent discount off your next purchase of official merchandise of Parks Canada, as every purchase supports national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas.

You can order your Discovery Pass for 2017 via the official Internet web site of Parks Canada; and a maximum of four Discovery Passes will be shipped per order — but if you are traveling within four weeks, you should obtain your Discovery Pass upon arrival or pick it up in person at one of these locations, as shipping can take up to three weeks from the time you place your order.

The 2017 Discovery Pass must be hung from the rear view mirror of the vehicle facing forward; or placed on the front driver side dashboard facing up.

Select Terms and Conditions

You only need one pass for your group or family if you are travelling together. The 2017 Discovery Pass is valid for any group of visitors entering a national marine conservation area or historic site together or arriving in the same vehicle at a national park.

The Discovery Pass ensures free entry only to places managed by Parks Canada. It does not apply to provincial, municipal or private parks, nor to the many historic sites not managed by Parks Canada. Please refer to the complete list of Parks Canada places when planning your visit to take full advantage of the Discovery Pass.

The Discovery Pass may not cover activities such as guided tours, parking, and other programs and services.

Camping, backcountry overnight use, and accommodation fees are not included with the Discovery Pass.

If you have questions regarding the above information, please contact our National Information Service at 1-888-773-8888 or


I recently visited Banff National Park in Alberta; and I obtained my Discovery Pass at the entrance on the Trans Canada Highway. There was no line; the interaction only took minutes; I was given a variety of printed materials which included a map; and the person in the booth was friendly and welcoming. The process could not have been easier for me.

Combine the free Discovery Pass and the discount of 15 percent off your next purchase of official merchandise of Parks Canada with the favorable currency exchange rate between the Canada dollar and the United States dollar; and you have the potential to save a significant amount of money when visiting Canada.

I intend to post plenty of photographs of my trip to Alberta in future articles — but in the meantime, get yourself to Canada and enjoy its national parks free of charge. You will especially not regret visiting Banff National Park if you enjoy nature and the wilderness — as well as beautiful scenery and breathtaking views…

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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