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New Parking Fees For Great Smoky Mountains National Park With Park It Forward

Entrance sign to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the fall
photo by jdross75/stock.adobe.com

Parking fees are coming to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in March 2023 with Park It Forward program.

The National Park Service announced their Park It Forward program will start March 1, 2023 at The Great Smoky Mountains National Park . There are no entrance fees to the Great Smoky National Park, but visitors will have to pay for parking.

What is Park It Forward?

The Park It Forward proposal was first announced in April 2022, with the public encouraged to formally submit their comments. The public’s most prevalent comment was the idea for an annual parking tag. In response to this, the national park announced it would have an annual tag, along with other parking tags to help finance the park. 

With the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s visitation skyrocketing 57% in the last decade, a new funding source was required to keep the park running for future generations. 

The Great Smoky National Park is one of the few national parks that is prohibited by law from charging visitors an entrance fee. But under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act it can legally charge a parking fee.

Vehicles will be welcome to enter and exit the national park without paying a fee. The parking fee is strictly for vehicles that are going to be parking at the visitor centers, Cades Cove, trailheads, and other popular spots in the park.

Parking Tag Fees

Effective March 1, 2023 there will be three options for parking tags for visitors.

  • Daily – $5
  • Up to 7 Days – $15
  • Annual – $40

These are available for all vehicle sizes and types. Visitors will be able to purchase the parking tags online or onsite. Also, parking tags will not be required for motorists who pass through the area or who park for less than 15 minutes.

When Will The Parking Fees Take Effect?

The parking fee will be effective March 1, 2023. After this date, a parking tag will be required to park anywhere in the national park. 

Will a Parking Tag Guarantee a Parking Spot?

Sadly, no. The parking tag will NOT guarantee a parking spot. Parking at The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is on a first come, first serve basis.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Want all the best insider tips to visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National park? Check out our visitor guide of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or our list for the Best Waterfalls In Gatlinburg TN.

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