How To Park For Free at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Parking passes became required for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park back in March. But did you know that you can still find free parking in the national park?! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting 3 different fee-free days throughout the remainder of the year. That makes it the perfect time to visit the national park with your closest friends and family! Here is everything you need to know about parking for free in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
The National Park Service has 3 different fee-free days planned for the remainder of 2023. They are:
- August 4 for the anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
- September 23 for National Public Lands Day
- November 11 for Veteran’s Day
During these days, you’ll be allowed to park in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park without a parking pass. There is no regular admission fee to get into the park. Smoky Mountain park rangers will continue to enforce other parking regulations on these days, giving out warnings and citations for vehicles in no parking areas.
Fee-free days are a great way to visit an old favorite place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or go exploring for something you’ve never seen before!
About the Park it Forward Program
Starting at the beginning of March, parking tags became required for the country’s most-visited national park as part of the park’s new Park it Forward program. Visitors are required to purchase and properly display a valid parking tag for any vehicle parked for longer than 15 minutes inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Daily parking passes can be purchased for $5. Weekly passes are $15. Annual parking tags for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are $40. You can purchase your parking tag at a number of places, including visitors centers, kiosks in the park and online.
The money collected from parking tags goes toward providing sustainable, year-round support for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This financial support is provided in an effort to improve the visitor experience. Money goes toward maintaining hiking trails and roads, updating historical structures and protecting natural resources.
Things to Do in the Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park features a long list of fun things to do! Whether you’re visiting alone, with a friend or with the extended family, there’s something for everyone in the national park.
Pack up the SUV with the kids and head to the national park where you can enjoy a blood-pumping hike that offers up incredible views of the Smoky Mountain scenery! In fact, several hiking trails in the park take you to see waterfalls!
If you prefer a more laid back experience, enjoy one of several scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains! Or, grab your rod and reel and cast a line as part of a fishing expedition! Pack up a basket with food and have a family picnic in the national park at one of several great spots like Cades Cove Loop, Metcalf Bottoms or Greenbrier!
Make sure you take full advantage of parking for free in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on fee-free days! Before you arrive, learn all about the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!