The cost to enter the Great Smoky Mountains National park is zero. That’s right it is completely free to enter this beautiful national park. This park is one of the very few that has no entrance fee for new visitors. Located in eastern Tennesse, Great Smoky Mountains is just of about twenty national parks that have no fee for entrance. Great Smoky Mountains is a beautiful national park with stunning vistas of rolling hills covered in gorgeous forests that change colors with the seasons. This national park is the busiest national park with over 5 million visitors per year!
Why is there no fee for Smoky Mountains National Park?
Nearly one hundred years ago, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was previously privately owned. The main highway, the US-441, that cuts across the national park was constructed using funds from both North Carolina and Tennessee states. When the US-441 was transferred from the state of Tennessee to the federal government, there was an agreement in place to have no toll or fee to utilize the road.
Is there a toll fee to use the US-441?
There is currently no toll fee to drive on the US-441. The reason for no toll fee is due to the historical agreement between the state of Tennessee and the federal government. When the state passed ownership of the US-441 to the federal government, they agreed to never have a toll or fee for people who drive on that road.
Do I need to pay to use any of the facilities or amenities?
Along with having no entrance fee, this national park requires no fee to use its facilities or amenities. However, there is a fee to use their campsites. The overnight campsites range from $14 to $23 per night. You can also pay to use the picknic pavillions. All of the pavilions with the exception of Twin Creeks and Greenbrier cost $25 per rental. The Twin Creeks and Greenbrier pavilion’s cost just $12.50 per use. You can make these payments via credit card or personal check. Make your reservations for campsites or pavilions at https://www.recreation.gov
Where does the park get its money from if it has no entrance fee?
Despite not having an entrance fee, the national park gets its money to fund park maintenance, facility maintenance, park programs, and historical projects from the National Park federal budget. The park also gets donations through the organization Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The budget is definitely tighter compared to other national parks that do charge an entrance fee, and with Great Smoky Mountains being the most popular national park with an estimated 5 million visitors pear year, they are definitely leaving a lot of money on the table.
How can I donate to support Smoky Mountains National Park?
Since there is no entrance fee and you want to help contribute to the park’s funds you can make donations at the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park or if you want to shop at the Great Smoky Mountains Association Store, a portion of your purchase goes towars the park. These funds help with trail maintenance, facility upkeep, research, historical projects, and so much more!
Summary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Thanks to a nearly one hundred year old agreement between the state of Tennessee and the federal government, the entrance fee for the Great Smoky Mountains is absolutely free. There is no fee to enter or exit the park, there is no fee to use the common facilities such as bathrooms, and there is no toll fee to drive on the US-441. An absolutely magnificent national park with serene hikes and breathtaking views, this national park is an absolute must visit!