sign at the Gatlinburg entrance to the Smoky Mountains
January 18, 2023

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a beautiful park filled with many areas to explore! In order to maintain the beauty and keep it thriving for generations to come, a parking fee will be required starting in early March 2023. Here is everything you need to know about the Great Smoky Mountains parking fee coming 2023:

Why Are There Parking Fees?

mountains in the great smoky mountains national park

Starting March 1, 2023, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will begin charging a parking fee. Visitation to the national park has had a 57% increase over the past decade. With the tremendous increase in visitors comes a need for increased staff and maintenance at the park. Sadly the national park operational budget has not kept up with the facilitation needs. Park Superintendent Cassius Cash is supportive of the new funding source called the Park It Forward campaign. The former Senator of Tennessee Lamar Alexander is also very supportive of the parking fees at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Every dollar raised from the parking fees will 100% go back to the park!

What is The Parking Cost?

The Great Smoky Mountains parking fee is as follows: $5 for a daily fee, $15 for a tag for up to 7 days, and $40 for an annual tag. Keep in mind there will be no parking cost for Tribal citizens in the national park! This fee only involves parking of a vehicle so you will still be able to drive all the roads in the national park without paying a fee. If you are only parking for 15 minutes or less, you will be happy to hear there is no tag required for this short window! For those who just like to drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and sightsee from the comfort of your car, the fee will be no impact to you. This minimal cost will provide funds to keep our national parks beautiful and thriving for generations to come!

Parking passes went on sale January 17. You can purchase $40 annual parking tags online or through Great Smoky Mountains Association or at any of the park’s visitor centers. Annual tags purchased before March 1 will be valid through March 2024. $5 daily passes and $15 weekly passes will be available for purchase February 21 here.

How Do The Fees Help the Park?

John Oliver Cabin

The Great Smoky Mountains Parking fee will provide tremendous support to the national park! Some examples of fund usage include an increase in park ranger presence, increased maintenance of facilities and trails, restoration of recreational habitats, and more! Expect a better visitor experience overall. There will be an increased focus on the maintenance of the historic structures in the park so everyone can enjoy them for years to come. Historic structures in the park consist of cabins, churches, mills, and more! The funds will provide year-round support and will overall increase safety in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Now you know everything you need to know about the Great Smoky Mountains parking fee coming 2023. This small fee will provide so many benefits and help the park succeed in the future! The park is a wonderful place to enjoy the natural wonders. There are 4 entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When you are driving around the park, be sure to stop by one of the visitor centers. Here is your guide to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitor centers.