Entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Free

Skip the entrance fee for this national park - it's free to enter! Campsites, lodging, and some tours still have a fee.
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West entrance sign for Great Smoky Mountains National Park on of Lakeview Drive near Fontana Dam.

West entrance sign for Great Smoky Mountains National Park on of Lakeview Drive near Fontana Dam. 

Skip the entrance fee for this national park - it's free to enter! Campsites, lodging, informational booklets, maps, and some tours still have a fee, so don't totally leave your wallet at home.

Why is this national park free? Back in the 1930's the park was being assembled from privately-owned land and still-active communities. These communities and the states of Tennessee and North Carolina paid for Newfound Gap Road which joins two main entrances of the park. When the area was handed over to the Federal government, there was a stipulation that "no toll or license fee shall ever be imposed…" to travel the road.

Get In for Free at All National Parks

Active military receive free annual parks passes for themselves and their dependents when they show a military ID. Travelers under 16 years of age, as well as those visiting parks for educational or scientific purposes, also receive an entrance waiver. And if you have a permanent disability and show documentation, you get in for free and get a discount on camping. Is there a fourth grader in your family? Visit everykidoutdoors.gov for your free pass.

Don’t fit those categories? Hit your favorite park on a free admission day. There are usually 6-10 free days every year. Check our event calendar for dates.

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