Fees & Passes

Overview of entrance requirements

Free
No entrance pass required

Most visitors need

  • Parking/Transportation
    Parking, shuttle, or other transportation-related fees may apply.

An entrance pass is not required to access Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Other National Park Service sites may require an entrance pass or fee. Depending on your trip plans, an interagency pass may save you money.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not charge an entrance fee. However, parking tags are required for all vehicles parking for longer than 15 minutes.
 
 

Parking Tag Required Effective
March 1, 2023

 
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Duration:
1 minute, 30 seconds

Learn all you need to know about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park parking tag program.

 

Parking Tag Basics

  • Three tag durations are available for purchase for all vehicle sizes and types:
    • Daily - $5
    • Weekly - $15
    • Annual - $40
  • Parking tags are not replaceable, refundable, transferable, or upgradable.
  • Each tag is valid for a single vehicle and must include a license plate number matching the vehicle in which it is displayed.
  • Parking tags are available for purchase both online and onsite.
  • Display of physical parking tags in each vehicle is required. Digital representations are not accepted.
  • Parking tags are not location-specific. A parking tag is required to park anywhere within the boundaries of the Smokies.
  • Parking tags are not required for motorists who pass through the area or who park for less than 15 minutes.
  • Interagency passes (senior, access, etc.) are not accepted in lieu of a parking tag.
 

Parking Tag Purchase Options

 

Daily, weekly and annual parking tags are available for purchase at the stores listed below. Hours may vary seasonally. Daily and weekly parking tags purchased in person must be used starting on the date of purchase. Daily parking tags expire at 11:59pm ET on the date of purchase. Weekly parking tags expire at 11:59pm ET 7 days from the date of purchase. 

In person sales locations:

  • Gatlinburg Welcome Center - 1011 Banner Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Sugarlands Visitor Center - 1420 Fighting Creek Gap Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Greenbrier Grocery - 2406 E. Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • The Great Smokies Welcome Center - 7929 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882
  • Cades Cove Visitor Center - 686 Cades Cove Loop Road, Townsend, TN 37882
  • Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont Store - 9275 Tremont Road, Townsend, TN 37882
  • Clingmans Dome Visitor Center - 7078 Clingmans Dome Road, Cherokee, NC 28719
  • Oconaluftee Visitor Center - 1194 Newfound Gap Highway, Cherokee, NC 28719
  • Swain County Visitor Center - 2 Everett Street, Bryson City, NC 28713
  • Visit NC Smokies Visitor Center - 91 North Lakeshore Drive, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745

 

Daily and weekly parking tags are available for purchase by credit card from Automated Fee Machines, available year-round, 24 hours a day. Daily and weekly parking tags purchased at Automated Fee Machines must be used starting on the date of purchase. Daily parking tags expire at 11:59pm ET on the date of purchase. Weekly parking tags expire at 11:59pm ET 7 days from the date of purchase. 

Automated Fee Machine Locations:

Enjoy the convenience of purchasing your parking tag before you arrive and have it shipped straight to your door. Annual Parking Tags are available for purchase online through Great Smoky Mountains Assocation.

Enjoy the convenience of purchasing your parking tag before you arrive.

  • Daily and weekly parking tags are available for purchase online through recreation.gov. Visitors MUST print and display their parking tag. Park staff will not print the tag for you.

  • Visitors are required to enter the date of their visit and their license plate number at the time of purchase. Tags may be purchased six months in advance of your visit. 

  • Daily and weekly parking tags expire at 11:59pm ET on the date printed on the tag.

 
 


 
Annual and daily parking tag displayed in windshield
Image of an annual and a daily parking tag displayed in a vehicle's windshield

NPS Image

Display Your Parking Tag

Annual parking tags must be displayed in the front, lower passenger side windshield. Daily and weekly parking tags must be placed face-up on the front, lower passenger side dashboard.

 

FAQ

 

No. Each parking tag is valid for a single vehicle and must include the license plate for the vehicle in which is it displayed.

Annual parking tags must be displayed in the front, lower passenger side windshield. Daily and weekly parking tags must be placed face-up on the front, lower passenger side dashboard.

No, parking tags do not guarantee a specific parking spot in a specific location or for a specific time frame. Parking at the busiest areas require visitors to plan ahead to choose off-peak hours, days, and seasons to better the chances of parking availability.

Failure to comply with the parking tag requirements may result in a warning, a citation, or your vehicle being towed at your expense. A variety of staff positions will assist in raising awareness of the program through presence across the park.

Daily and weekly parking tags expire at 11:59pm ET on the date printed on the tag. Annual tags are valid for 12 months from the month of purchase. For example, an annual parking tag purchased in March 2023 will be valid until March 31, 2024. 

No. The same parking tag options and prices apply to all motor vehicles, including motorcycles, UTVs, RVs, etc., regardless of size. Please keep in mind that parking is extremely limited for oversized vehicles.

Yes. You can specify the date(s) you plan to visit if you purchase your daily or weekly parking tag online through recreation.gov. However, if you purchase your daily or weekly parking tag in-person, it will be validated on the date of purchase.

Interagency passes (aka America the Beautiful passes) are not accepted in lieu of the parking tag and do not provide a discount for the purchase of the parking tag. The park continues to apply a 50% discount on camping fees for two America the Beautiful pass types, Access and Senior. You can learn more about the America the Beautiful pass types at the NPS Entrance Passes webpage.

Yes, the National Park Service does provide parking tags at no cost to Tribal leaders who will then distribute the tags to Tribal citizens who are coming to the park for traditional activities. The National Park Service expressly allows citizens of American Indian Tribes to enter parks for traditional activities without paying fees. The NPS acknowledges that the phrase “’traditional’ activities” is neither a static concept nor is it a set of neatly listed activities that can be defined by the NPS but should be defined by the member of the respective communities themselves.

The annual tag option is specifically provided to meet the needs of local residents for year-round, repeated access.

Yes, the Smokies does participate in the NPS fee-free days. Visitors do not need to display a valid parking tag on fee free days.

The park uses the Special Use Permit system to issue permits at no cost for Decoration Days, family reunions for descendants across the park, and cemetery visits. Decoration Day permit holders are exempt from the parking tag fee for the duration of their permit. Each cemetery visit is unique and park staff work directly with descendants to coordinate special access including annual boat shuttles, vehicle shuttles, and use of administrative roads.

No. Parking lots associated with commercial services are not exempt from the parking tag requirement.
 

Yes. Vehicles with valid, state-issued disabled placards or license plates (including disabled veterans license plates) are exempt from the parking tag requirement.

Three special use permit types are exempt from the parking tag fee: burials, cemetery visits including Decoration Days and first amendment activities. No other special use permit types, including weddings, are exempt from the parking tag fee.

No. Having a picnic pavilion reservation does not exempt you from the parking tag requirement.

No. Backcountry campers are not exempt from the parking tag requirement.

Frontcountry campers parked at their designated campsite are not required to have a parking tag. If they park elsewhere in the park, a parking tag is required. Please note that parking tags are required for vehicles in excess of what is allowable for each campsite. Information about how many vehicles are allowed at each facility is available on recreation.gov.

No. Having a Commerical Use Authorization (CUA) does not exempt you from the parking tag requirement. The same requirements and the same price structure applies to CUA holders.

The annual parking tag is a cling and can be adhered to the motorcycle windshield or other highly-visible surface. The daily and weekly tags are paper but also need to be prominently displayed. Making sure the tag does not blow away or fall off is the responsibility of the visitor. One option is to tape the tag to the inside of the motorcycle windshield or instrument display. Motorcyclists should plan ahead and come prepared to adequately display their parking tag.

All revenue generated through these user fees will remain in the Smokies to directly support operational costs for managing and improving services for visitors including trail maintenance, custodial services, trash removal, and supporting more staffing to increase the presence of personnel across the park.

Parking tag sales are not limited or capped, therefore, the program is not anticipated to relieve congestion or solve parking issues in the park. Parking tag revenue will be used to better serve the visitor with one of the goals being the reduction of congestion.

No. The park does not limit the number of parking tags that are available for sale.

Each parking tag must include a license plate number matching the vehicle in which it is displayed. You will need to wait to purchase your parking tag until you know the license plate number of your rental vehicle. You can purchase your parking tag in-person either at an Automated Fee Machine or in store.

Parking tags are non-transferable. Each parking tag must include a license plate number matching the vehicle in which it is displayed. If your license plate number changes for any reason, you will need to purchase a new annual parking tag.

 

Parking Tag Fee Exemptions

 

Find information about exemption processes in the content below.

National Park Service regulations allow school groups and other bona fide national and international educational institutions to obtain a waiver of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park parking tag fee, provided that the visit is for educational or scientific purposes, and the resources or facilities the group proposes to use support those purposes. Educational fee waivers are not granted automatically. Educational groups must apply and meet the criteria to receive the waiver.

Submission Information:

  • Fill out sections 1, 2, and 5 of this form: NPS Form 10-1750
  • Submit form 2 weeks in advance of the visit to grsm_fee_program@nps.gov

If the application is approved, a parking placard will be emailed to you to be displayed during your visit. Each vehicle must display the parking tag placard while parked in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Park staff will not print parking tag placards onsite. Visitor center staff are not authorized to approve fee waivers. Fee waivers must be processed in advance of your academic visit. Note: Parking tag exemptions for chaperones are covered at a ratio of 1 adult per 5 students K-8th grade, and 1 adult per 10 students in 9th grade and above.

National Park Service regulations allow permitted researchers to be exempt from paying for a parking tag while they are engaged in their permitted research activities. Perspective researchers will receive parking tag placards with their permit when it is issued. Researchers must inform the research coordinator of the minimum number of vehicles that will be needed for their work at any one time and will be issued that many placards. Placards must be printed in color and be visible through the front windshield while the vehicle is parked. Placards will be renewed annually for the duration of the issued research permit. As with any other parking tag, the placards issued to permitted researchers do not authorize parking outside of designated parking areas nor guarantee a parking space at any specific location within the Park; researchers must plan their schedules to arrive at popular locations outside of the peak visitation times. 

Learn more and contact the park's research coordinator from the park's research page.

Three special use permit types are exempt from the parking tag requirement: burials, cemetery visits including Decoration Days and first amendment activities. No other special use permit types, including weddings, are exempt from the parking tag requirement. Learn more or apply for a permit online.

Vehicles with state-issued disabled placards or license plates do not need to purchase a parking tag.
 

Partner Communications Toolkit

Check out our Partner Communications Toolkit for lots of great resources!

 

2023 Fee Program Change Background Information

Review the full list of fee program changes effective March 1, 2023 including results from civic engagement.

Last updated: February 15, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Phone:

(865)436-1200

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