Passes and Permits

Entrance Pass

An entrance pass is required for admission into the Visitor Use Area of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.  Valid entrance passes include:

  • Sacramento NWR 1-Day Pass ($6)
  • Sacramento NWR Annual Pass ($12)
  • Federal Duck Stamp (current) ($25)
  • America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass (prices vary, see below)

Entrance passes are not currently required for admission into the Visitor Use Areas of Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR spring trails areas, Sacramento River NWR, or the Steve Thompson North Central Valley WMA - Llano Seco Unit. 

Additional special use permits are required for commercial photography use, scientific research, and access to closed areas.

Special licenses, validations & passes are required for hunting - see below.


Sacramento NWR 1-Day and Annual Passes

Sacramento NWR collects a day-use fee to help pay for visitor facilities. 100% of these fees stay on the Complex and are used for educational programs, sign improvements, kiosks, platforms and other visitor facilities.

The following Sacramento NWR Refuge Passes are available at the refuge entrance fee machine or in the Visitor Center*, when open:

  • Sacramento NWR 1-Day Pass ($6)
  • Sacramento NWR Annual Pass ($12)
  • Sacramento NWR Commercial Vehicle Pass ($20) (required for buses and commercial vendors)


A Federal Duck Stamp or America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass may be used in lieu of the Sacramento NWR 1-Day or Annual Pass.

*2023 Visitor Center Closure:  the Visitor Center is currently closed during construction.

  • Sacramento NWR 1-Day/Annual passes and Federal Duck Stamps may be purchased online prior to arrival via the Rec Access webpage
  • Sacramento NWR 1-Day/Annual passes may be purchased at the refuge entrance fee machine (credit cards only and must email photo of annual pass)
    • *NOTE: the power to the fee machine is disabled during construction, but there is a QR code posted at the kiosk to facilitate pass purchase via smartphone


Most passes will have to be mailed to you but the receipt from RecAccess is valid to visit the Sacramento NWR. No need to print the receipt, just have a copy on your phone.


Federal Duck Stamp

Holders of a Federal Duck Stamp ($25) are able to access all NWRs for free. The stamp is valid from July 1 through June 30 of each year. Junior Duck Stamps are $5 and support waterfowl education for students. Both the Federal and Junior Duck Stamps are available at the Visitor Center or on the Rec Access webpage.


America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass

America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes are valid on all federal lands, including those managed by:

  • National Park Service
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • US Forest Service
  • US Army Corps of Engineers

America the Beautiful Annual Passes are available for anyone, but there are also special Senior, Access, Military, Volunteer and 4th Grade passes, which are available online through the USGS Recreational Passes webpage or at the Visitor Center when open:

  • America the Beautiful Annual Pass* ($80, valid of for 1 year)
  • America the Beautiful Senior Pass* (must be over 62 years old, valid for lifetime or one year)
    • Lifetime Senior Pass is $80
    • Annual Senior Pass is $20 (good for 1 year)
  • America the Beautiful Access Pass (freee, US residents with permanent disability, valid for lifetime)
  • America the Beautiful Military Pass (valid for 1 year, free with CAC military ID)
  • America the Beautiful Volunteer Pass (valid for 1 year, volunteer with over 250 hours)...passes are awarded through the volunteer agency
  • America the Beautiful Every Kid in a Park 4th Grade Pass (free to all US 4th Graders)...visit the Every Kid Outdoors webpage


Hunt Area Passes and Permits

Hunting on Sacramento , Delevan, Colusa and Sutter NWRs requires special licenses, validation and passes.  See the Hunt Area Permits, Regulations and Shoot Times webpage for more information.


Special Use Permits

Special Use Permits enable the public to engage in legitimate wildlife-related activities that would otherwise be prohibited by law. Service permit programs ensure that such activities are carried out in a manner that safeguards wildlife. Additionally, some permits promote conservation efforts by authorizing scientific research, generating data, or allowing wildlife management and rehabilitation activities to be considered.

Examples of activities that require a Special Use Permit (if deemed compatible by the refuge manager):

  • Commercial filming (audio, video, photographic products of monetary value)
  • Commercial activities such as guiding hunters, anglers, or outdoor activities
  • Research and monitoring activities by students, universities, or other non-FWS organizations
  • Large organized groups (birding, wildlife watching, festivals)

Visit the National Wildlife Refuge System website for Special Use Permit Applications. Special use permit applications will be evaluated by the refuge manager to determine whether or not they are compatible with the purposes of the refuge.

For more information contact: or 530-934-2801