Skip the entrance fee for this national park – it’s free to enter. However, starting March 1, 2023, drivers who park inside the national park will need to pay $5 for a parking tag, $15 for a 7-day tag or $40 for an annual tag. You’ll be able to buy these tags online or in-person at the park. It’s free to park for up to 15 minutes if you just need to make a quick stop. Other national park passes, such as the America the Beautiful pass, aren’t accepted in lieu of the parking fee.
There will be no cap on the number of parking tags released per day so they will not be difficult to obtain. Visitors who show up unaware of the fee will be able to get a parking tag when they enter the park.
Read more about the new Park It Forward parking pass.
Campsites, lodging, informational booklets, maps, and some tours still have a fee as well.
Why is entrance to 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.