Starting in a few days, it's going to cost a few extra bucks to get into the Colorado National Monument. Entrance fees will increase five dollars and campground fees will increase two dollars beginning January 1, 2019.

Happy New Year! Okay, so this isn't the best news you've heard today. As you may recall, the entrance fee increase was approved in 2016 as a part of a phased increase over a three year period. Starting January 1, 2019, entrance fees for private vehicles will be $20 for a seven-day pass. The Saddlehorn campground fee will be $22 per night.

Wait, there's more. According to nps.gov, an additional five dollar entrance fee increase mandated by the Department of Interior will go into effect January 1, 2020.

It is important that we balance the need for additional funding to support park visitors while ensuring that our site remains affordable and accessible to everyone. - Superintendent Ken Mabery

Federal law requires that recreational fees charged on public lands be used for direct visitor benefits. What improvements have we seen lately at the Colorado National Monument? According to nps.gov, recent projects funded by recreational fees include:

  • trail work on Old Gordon Trail
  • new railings at overlooks and stabilization work on Liberty Cap Trail

This next year, planned projects include:

  • continued work on Liberty Cap Trail
  • upgrading campground restrooms
  • replacement of wooden fencing in parking area

If you have an Interagency Annual Pass ($80) or a Senior Pass ($20 Annual or $80 Lifetime), your costs will not change.

What if you want to get an Annual Pass for the Colorado National Monument? Those will stay at $40 until the year 2020.

Entrances fees are not charged to:

  • persons under 16 years of age
  • holders of Access, Military and 4th Grade passes.

That Annual Pass is looking better and better all the time, isn't it? After January 1, 2019, you would only need to visit the Monument twice to break even on the cost of the Annual Pass.

I'm feeling guilty about not visiting the Monument more often. Perhaps an Annual Pass is in order. Crunch the numbers for yourself. You might find this to be the way to go.