For Colorado Resident Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities
Colorado resident veterans with service-connected disabilities who qualify, or Purple Heart Award recipients, may obtain a free Independence Pass which provides unlimited access to all Colorado state parks. The approval in the program is valid for the life of the individual as long as they remain a resident of Colorado.
The Independence Pass allows honorably discharged Colorado resident veterans with service-connected disabilities to:
- Obtain a free Independence Pass each year as long as they remain residents.
- Transfer the pass between vehicles, allowing the Independence Pass holder and others in the same vehicle to enter the park. The pass holder must be present for the pass to be valid.
- Visit any of Colorado's state parks for 12 continuous months from the issue date. (Please note: Visitors to Cherry Creek State Park are charged an additional $3 annual fee for the Water Basin Authority.)
What documentation do I need to get an Independence Pass?
To qualify for the Independence Pass, you must be a Colorado resident and provide a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs stating that you were honorably discharged and are receiving compensation from the VA for one of the following:
- 50% or greater disability (if there are multiple ratings, the combined rating must equal 50% or greater)
- Loss of use of one or both hands or feet
- Permanent loss of vision in both eyes
Purple Heart recipients must provide a Purple Heart Certificate or DD214 showing a Purple Heart Award (please note: The Purple Heart Medal itself is not proof of the award).
How can I apply for an Independence Pass?
You can download the application and return it as outlined below:
Applications are also available at Colorado Parks and Wildlife offices and state parks upon request. Submission of your application can be done either by:
For fastest processing, email your completed application and supporting documentation (as stated above) to firstname.lastname@example.org.; or
- Mail or deliver your completed Independence Pass application to:
Colorado Parks & Wildlife
Attn: Independence Pass
Denver, CO, 80216
Please complete the application fully and legibly and include the appropriate documentation. Failure to do so will delay processing of your application and may result in your application being denied.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does "CID" mean on the application?
"CID" refers to your account number with Colorado Parks and Wildlife if you have ever purchased licenses, passes, or made camping reservations in the past. If you do not know this number, or do not have an account with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, you can leave this box blank and it will be filled in for you.
How long will it take to receive my pass?
Please allow at least 15 business days for verification and processing time. Less time is required for processing for applications submitted via email or in person.
Do I apply for the Independence Pass each year?
No. You only need to apply for the pass once. Once you are approved, you will be able to obtain your pass each year online, in person at any CPW location, or by phone at 1-800-244-5613, as long as you remain a resident of Colorado.
How do I renew my Independence Pass?
Once you are approved in our system, you will be able to obtain your pass each year online, in person at any CPW location, or by phone at 1-800-244-5613, as long as you remain a resident of Colorado.
Does the Independence Pass offer any camping discounts?
Independence Pass Holders 64+ years of age will receive a $3 discount per night Sunday through Thursday (except on holidays). Customers must have a current, valid Independence Pass at the time of reservation and at the time of their stay, and be the primary occupant of their campsite. At the time of their stay, pass holders must provide photo identification with proof of age along with their Independence Pass to receive the discount.
I have a Disabled Veterans license plate. Will I receive camping benefits?
No. The law for individuals with Disabled Veterans Colorado license plates provides free entrance to state parks, but does not provide special camping rates. If you are 64+ years of age and a Colorado Resident, you must apply for the free Independence Pass for special camping benefits.
I have a National Park Service disability pass. Can I use it as documentation for the Independence Pass?
No. The criteria for disability programs vary across different agencies and organizations. The documentation for this program is set by Colorado State Statute CRS 33-12-106.
How were the qualifications for this program determined?
The rules for the Independence Parks Pass Program, including qualifying documentation, are set by Colorado Revised Statute 33-12-106.