Great Smoky Mountains National Park Just Increased Its Parking Prices — What to Know for Your Next Trip

The new rates were implemented on March 1.

As of Wednesday, parking at Great Smoky National Park just got a bit more expensive.

As of Wednesday, the famed national park which stretches between North Carolina and Tennessee,  increased its parking fee rates as part of the “Park It Forward” program.

The new parking tag fee will be $5 daily, or $15 weekly for any vehicle parking longer than 15 minutes anywhere in the park. For travelers who are planning an extended visit or multiple trips, the park offers a $40 annual parking tag. There is also a new $30 fee for parking at most campgrounds, which increases for Group Camps, Horse Camps, and Picnic Pavilions. 

Visitors who park for more than 15 minutes will need a parking tag to display on their car's dashboard.

Here’s the key details:

  • Single Vehicle, One Day - $5
  • Single Vehicle, Week - $15
  • Single Vehicle, Full Year - $45

The parking tags can be purchased on-site, at automated kiosks, or online before you depart. Fees for campgrounds have also increased, with most campsites now costing $30. 

While the park has famously never charged an entrance fee, the National Parks Service, which operates the park, says that the new fees are necessary to preserve the park and increase visitor services. 100% of revenues from the new fee program will stay in the park to help with the upkeep, maintenance, and services. Last year, there were over 12,937,633 visits to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - making it the second busiest year in the park’s history. 

“Over the past decade, Smokies visitation has skyrocketed by 57%. Because the Smokies' operational budget hasn’t seen similar growth, the increase in visitors is starting to take its toll with wear and tear on aging facilities and undue strain on limited staff.” the park posted in an announcement on its website

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recognized as “the most biodiverse park in the National Park system,” and spans over 800 square miles.

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