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Top 4 Things to Know About the New Parking Tag Requirement at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park sign
February 7, 2023

If you’re planning to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park anytime after March 1st, you’ll now need a valid parking tag when parking anywhere within the boundary of the park for more than 15 minutes! While entrance to the park will still be free, the parking tag program has been instituted to generate revenue for the direct support of operational costs related to managing and improving services for visitors. Here are the top 4 things to know about the new parking tag requirement at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

1. Daily, Weekly, and Annual Parking Tags Are Available

There are three parking tag durations that will be available for purchase for all vehicle sizes and types, which are Daily ($5), Weekly ($15), and Annual ($40). Each of the tags is valid for a single vehicle and will need to include the license plate number of your vehicle when it is displayed. Since the parking tags are not location specific, you can use them anywhere to park within the boundaries of the park. Unfortunately, the America the Beautiful Interagency passes are not accepted in lieu of the parking tag and don’t provide any type of discount.

2. Purchasing Your Parking Tag

Park It Forward Campaign banner

Another one of the things to know about the new parking tag requirement at Great Smoky Mountains National Park is where to purchase your tag! You can purchase daily and weekly parking tags online, but keep in mind that you must print and display the tag (park staff will not print it for you). You’ll find in-person sales locations at all of the official visitor centers within the park, as well as at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center, Cades Cove Orientation Shelter, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont Store, and the Swain County Visitor Center. There will also be automated fee machines set up throughout the park where you can purchase your tag with a credit card.

3. Displaying the Tag on Your Vehicle

Daily and weekly parking tags must be placed face-up on the front, lower passenger side dashboard. If you have an annual parking tag, this must be displayed in the front, lower passenger side windshield. For those with a motorcycle, the annual parking tag is a cling that can be adhered to the motorcycle windshield or any other highly-visible surface. However, since the daily and weekly tags are paper, you may want to tape the tag to the inside of the motorcycle windshield or instrument display. Note that it is the responsibility of the visitor to make sure the tag does not blow away or fall off!

4. When a Parking Tag is Not Required

windy road cutting through the Smoky Mountains

If you’re planning on taking a scenic drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park without stops, a parking tag is not required! You will also not need a parking tag if you plan to stop at any location for less than 15 minutes. Finally, if you are visiting the park on one of the National Park Free Entrance Days , you will not need to display a valid parking tag on those particular days.

Now that you know all about the new parking tag requirement, you’re all set for your trip to the Smokies! Don’t forget to check out our Smoky Mountain campground to plan the ultimate adventure in the Smokies! We look forward to seeing you!