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Self-registration stations are available when the property office is closed.
- Contact information
- For more information, contact:
- Wisconsin State Parks
Wisconsin State Park System Admission fees
User fees and state taxes provide most of the money for operating Wisconsin state parks, forests and trails. The fees include vehicle admission stickers, state trail passes and camping fees. Admission fee waivers are available for school groups, disabled veterans and former POWs, conservation patron license holders and others. Ice Age Reserve units honor various National Park system passes but do not issue them.
Vehicle Admission Stickers
A vehicle admission sticker is required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker. Buy your sticker either when you get to the park or in advance. You can buy either an annual sticker, for admission to all state parks and forests for the calendar year or a daily sticker, valid only on the date of issue. If you have only a little time to visit, you can buy a one-hour sticker at most state parks and forests. Any vehicle licensed for road use that is towed or carried into a state park fee area is provided free admission.
The 2014 annual vehicle admission stickers and passes are honored through Dec. 31, 2014.
|Sticker Fees||Annual||Half price*||Daily||One-hour**|
|Vehicle with WI license plates||$25||$12.50||$7||$5|
|Vehicle with WI plates, resident age 65 and older||$10||N/A||$3||N/A|
|Vehicle with out-of-state plates||$35||$17.50||$10||$5|
|Bus, Wisconsin license||$10|
*Half-price annual stickers are available for additional vehicles registered to the same household address.
**One-hour stickers are not available at all state parks or forests.
If you have a motorcycle
The vehicle admission sticker rule applies to motorcycles as well as cars and trucks. If your motorcycle does not have an adequate windshield or the sticker may damage the windshield, fasten the sticker in one of these places:
- on the front fork;
- behind the license plate; or
- under the seat.
In some cases, a ranger may not see the sticker and issue you a notice. If this happens, return to the park or forest office to show your sticker and void the notice.
If you have a valid, current-year sticker and you are trading in your car or replacing a windshield with a state park sticker on it, you can get a replacement sticker for your new windshield at no charge by following the steps below.
- Note the serial number of your current-year sticker.
- Scrape enough of the old sticker off (it will come off in pieces) to prove you have it.
- Print out the Annual Admission Sticker Replacement Application form.
- Fill in the form completely.
- Take or mail the form and old sticker to any state park or forest office.
Removing Old Stickers From Your Windshield
The most effective way to remove an old sticker is to scrape it off with a safety razor blade. Many state parks and forests may have a safety razor blade at the contact station. Goo-gone, windex or other household adhesive removers can be helpful if there is any residue left on the windshield.
How to buy
Purchase vehicle admission stickers and state trail passes
There are many options for buying state park stickers and state trail passes:
- Most visitors buy their daily or annual sticker when they get to a state park and forest entrance. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted when the park office is open. Self-registration stations are available for payment of fees when the office is closed.
- Department of Natural Resources service centers sell stickers and state trail passes.
- Some businesses near state trails sell state trail passes.
- Annual admission stickers and state trail passes can be purchased over the phone by calling the DNR at 888-936-7463 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
- Stickers and passes can be purchased online as part of gift packages from the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks.
There's an additional $5 fee for anyone who fails to pay the fee before using the park, trail or campsite if there's a self-registration station available.
Entrance Fee Waivers
Wisconsin state parks and forests offer several types of waivers for entrance fees and trail passes:
School, college and nonprofit fee waivers
Vehicle admission and trail fees may be waived for:
- authorized public and private school events;
- vehicles transporting students for authorized outdoor academic classes given by an accredited Wisconsin college or university; and
- groups with mentally or physically disabled persons and their attendants brought by a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is improvement of their mental or physical health.
To receive such a waiver, complete a Vehicle Permit/Trail Fee Waiver Request form and send it directly to the property from which you're requesting the waiver. The form must be received at the property at least seven days before the beginning of the planned activity. Before going to the park, confirm whether your request has been granted. Stop at the property office for a courtesy permit when you arrive.
Vehicles dropping off or picking up juvenile group campers also may have admission fees waived.;
Government business fee waivers
Admission fees are waived for vehicles registered to governmental agencies or driven by persons on official government business and for vehicles furnishing services or supplies to the Department of Natural Resources or its concessionaires.
Any vehicle licensed/registered for use on a roadway and that is towed or carried into a vehicle admission area is provided free admission. Any type of vehicle can be towed or do the towing—motor home, truck camper, motorcycle, etc.
The vehicle doing the towing or carrying must have an annual or daily admission sticker. A vehicle being towed or carried will be issued a free Courtesy Admission Sticker allowing it the same access and privileges as a vehicle with an annual or daily admission sticker.
Conservation Patron and Senior Citizen Recreation card holders
Resident and non-resident Conservation Patron Licenses valid from April 1 through March 31. These licenses provide, in addition to hunting and fishing privileges, free access to state parks, forests and recreation areas for vehicles carrying a patron holder. Also included are free access for walk-in patron-holders to Heritage Hill State Historical Park; and free access to state trails for the patron holders.
Before 1992, Wisconsin residents age 65 and older could buy Senior Citizen Recreation Cards granting them lifetime free admission to state parks. This card is no longer available for purchase, but we still honor the cards issued before 1992.
Vehicles on public highways
Visitors may drive through a state park or forest recreation area without a vehicle admission sticker. However, if the vehicle is parked within a state park, forest or recreation area where stickers are required, it must have a sticker.
Disabled Veteran and Former Prisoner of War Fee Waivers
Certain disabled veterans and former prisoners of war are eligible to receive waivers of vehicle admission and trail pass fees. Program is for Wisconsin residents.
To apply for this fee waiver:
- Download and complete the Disabled Veteran Free State Park/Forest/Trail Pass Application and take it to your County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) to certify. The application must be signed and stamped by the CVSO.
- Mail the certified application to:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Parks and Recreation
101 S Webster St PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707
Do not send medical records to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The Bureau of Parks and Recreation will mail you an identification card to be presented each time you visit a state park, forest or recreation area. The park, forest or recreation area will then issue a courtesy pass for the day. When using state trails requiring a trail pass, carry the identification card with you.
Federal Pass on Ice Age Reserve Unit
At an Ice Age Reserve Unit, admission fees are waived for a vehicle occupied by a holder of a Federal Pass, such as an American the Beautiful—National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass or a pass from a former National Park Service program such as the Golden Age, Access or Eagle Passports.
Free Fun Weekend Open House and National Trails Day
National Trails Day is held the first Saturday of every June. All trail fees on all department owned properties are waived on National Trails Day.
All DNR-owned properties will participate this year in Free Fun Weekend on the first full weekend in June. All vehicle admission sticker requirements are waived this weekend. All trail fees on state operated designated state trails are waived statewide Free Fun Weekend. Cooperatively-run state trails also may participate in the statewide open house day.
The weekend of statewide open house day coincides with "Free Fishing Weekend," the first consecutive Saturday and Sunday in June.