Is There Free Parking in Gatlinburg?

One of the most common questions we receive – “Is there free parking in Gatlinburg?” Even though finding free parking in Gatlinburg can be tough, there are a couple of places and things you can do to save money on parking. Here’s a few ideas and the best free parking places in Gatlinburg:

Parking on River Road is free, but parking spots are limited.

These parking spaces are located next to the river along River Road which runs from Ripley’s Aquarium to the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Generally, spaces open up pretty often, so you may be able to get one when if you circle around a couple times. In the summer months or during major events, you can count on these spaces staying full.

Free Park & Ride Lots in GatlinburgWhat You Need to Know About the Gatlinburg Trolley Service

When you are riding the Gatlinburg trolley, you can park at one of the free Park & Ride lots in Gatlinburg to catch a ride on the trolley. These lots are located at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center and the City Hall Complex on Highway 321.

Even though the Gatlinburg trolley isn’t free, it’s a cheaper alternative to parking in a paid lot.

Parking at Area Businesses

If you are planning to visit just a single restaurant or business, many offer free parking. For example, the Nantahala Outdoor Center as well as many area restaurants offer free parking in Gatlinburg at their location. The downside is that you can’t park there all day, so if you’re visiting Gatlinburg for the entire day, it would be better to park somewhere else. Otherwise, if you’re just leaving your cabin and heading out to dinner, plan to park at the restaurant while you eat.

Choosing a Paid Parking Lot in Gatlinburg

If you decide to pay for parking in Gatlinburg, it’s best to choose a single parking lot and park for the day. You can walk all over Gatlinburg and you can catch a trolley in many places, so you shouldn’t need to move your car from lot to lot for any reason. Plus, the cost will really add up if you park from lot to lot throughout the day.

Did we miss anything?

Do you know of any free parking in Gatlinburg we may have left out? Let us know so we can add it to our post! Tell us in the comments below!


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by Emily Wolff

Hi, my name is Emily Wolff. I am a writer, editor and content marketer based in East Tennessee, right in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember, but I truly fell in love with it as a young adult. Some of my favorite things aside from writing include traveling, makeup, magazines, elephants and ice cream with sprinkles. Thank you for taking the time to read about me; I hope you’ll continue to follow my writings about the Smoky Mountain area on this website!

  • Gary Mustain

    Definitely won’t be parking available along River Road now. Avoid the parking garage behind Ripley’s Aquarium, it can take HOURS to get out of on a busy day unless you can find a spot on the lowest level.

  • AL

    This is the Un-attractive part of” Visiting Gatlinburg”. Paying for Parking keeps some people away, Especially the People that just want to go to certain shops that will take just a few mins.
    My 1st visit there I was in shock @ having to Pay. I was there like 30 mins…and had to pay More than what I spent.

  • David King

    How much is the parking fee?