• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN


A vase of flowers decorates the window sill in the Little Cataloochee Church.

Applications for permits to hold special events such as weddings can be downloaded from this page.

Don McGowan Photo

Wedding and Special Event Permits
Weddings and other special events such as church services require a Special Use Permit from the park and must follow specific guidelines. Completed applications for Special Use Permits for weddings and other special events, along with a non-refundable $50 application fee, must be received by the park no less than 14 days prior to the start of the event. Please download the cover letter, guidelines and application files below.

Wedding Application Documents:

Church Service Application Documents:

A Special Use Permit is also required for certain activities such as political events, public assemblies, demonstrations, the distribution of literature, and other activities commonly referred to as "First Amendment" activities.

For more information about Special Use Permits or to determine if your activity requires one, please call (828) 497-1930 or email the park with the subject line "Attn: Special Use Permits."

The Appalachian Clubhouse and Spence Cabin, rustic, historic buildings located in the heart of the park, are available for day-use rental for receptions and special events.

Commercial Filming and Still Photography Permits
All commercial film production requires a permit. Commercial still photography requires a permit in certain instances. Visitors taking photos or filming for their personal use do not need a permit. Please read Filming Guidlines, Requirements, and Fees before submitting a Filming Permit Application.

Commercial Services Permits
Commercial services are prohibited in Great Smoky Mountains National Park unless authorized by a Commercial Use Authorization or concessions contract. For additional information on commercial services please see Doing Business With the Park.

Permit to Scatter Cremated Ashes
Please download the letter of permission before scattering cremains in the park. All conditions of the letter must be followed and the letter must be carried by the party while scattering cremains in the park. Please e-mail or contact (865) 436-1207 if you have any questions regarding the conditions of the letter of permission.

Backcountry Camping Permits
Advanced reservations are required for all backcountry camping in the park. For additional information please see backcountry camping.

Permit for Scientific Research and Collecting
Please visit the National Park Service's Research Permit and Reporting website for information regarding scientific research permits. If you have specific questions pertaining to research projects in the Smokies, please e-mail or call (828) 926-6251, or visit the pages of the Applachian Highlands Science Learning Center.


Cave Exploration Permit
Entry into caves or mine shafts in the national park is prohibited. No Cave Exploration Permits are being issued at this time. Caves are closed to entry due to the recommendations by the US Fish and Wildlife Service concerning white nose syndrome in bats. Additional information about this closure

Did You Know?