Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be implementing a temporary parking reservation system for Laurel Falls trailhead parking area starting September 7, 2021 as a strategy to improve visitor experience and safety as well as protect resources.
Parking at Laurel Falls trailhead parking area requires a ticket from September 7th through October 3rd, 2021. Parking will be allowed in paved, designated areas only. Visitors without a ticket will not be able to park at Laurel Falls trailhead parking areas. Tickets will be available starting on August 24th at 10 AM ET for arrivals beginning on September 7. Beginning September 5th, 2021 at 10 AM ET, tickets will also be available two days in advance at 10 a.m. EST on a rolling daily window.
Laurel Falls Trail is one of the most visited trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with over 375,000 visitors in 2020 and parking is limited. Laurel Falls is 80-feet high and named for the mountain laurel which grows along the trail and near the falls. The waterfall consists of an upper and a lower section, divided by a walkway which crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls. The roundtrip distance to Laurel Falls is 2.6 miles and the hike is considered moderate in difficulty. It generally takes about 90 minutes to hike to the waterfall and back. While Laurel Falls Trail is the primary destination for visitors, Sugarland Mountain Trail is also accessed from the same parking lots. If you are planning to hike Sugarland Mountain Trail you must have a parking permit to park at the trailhead. If hikers plan to be on trail for longer than the allotted two-hour time block, they must use a different trailhead and are encouraged to contact the Backcountry Office at 865-436-1297 for more information on other trail access points.
If you are unable to secure a parking reservation ticket, consider the shuttle service from Gatlinburg which is provided by Rocky Top Tours.
More information about Laurel Falls can be found here .
Only one Laurel Falls Trailhead vehicle reservation is allowed per vehicle each day. Reservations are per vehicle, not per person. No more than 7 people are allowed per vehicle.
Vehicles must arrive at the time of their reservation. Early entry will not be allowed. Vehicles arriving more than 30 minutes after the start time shown on their reservation will be turned away.
Reservations do not permit re-entry.
Reservations are for a 2 hour window. Vehicles must exit the parking lot 2 hours after the start time shown on the reservation.
Consistent with CDC guidance regarding areas of substantial or high transmission, visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask inside all park buildings.
A vehicle reservation ticket reserves one designated parking spot for the ticket holder near Laurel Falls trailhead.
In advanced of your visit, print or save a digital copy of your vehicle reservation ticket as there is no connectivity on site. Tickets will be scanned to verify the reservation.
Visitors who are not able to secure a parking reservation can access the trail through the shuttle service provided by Rocky Top Tours
Only passenger vehicles with a maximum occupancy not to exceed 7 people will be permitted to park. No RVs or towed trailers.
Conditions in the Smokies can change quickly. Temporary road closures are always possible. Check the park’s official road information Twitter account https://mobile.twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps for current conditions.
Carry drinking water with you.
Pets and bicycles are prohibited on the trail.
The trail is paved but the pavement is rough and uneven. The trail has short, steep sections which can be slippery in wet weather.
Do not climb on rocks around the waterfall. These rocks are slippery due to mist and algae.
Black bears are often active in this area! Litter kills bears – please pack out all of your trash and food scraps.
There will be 56 parking spots available for reservation each day. 14 spots are avaialble for each of the 4 time slots. The number of parking spots available for reservation is depending upon two factors:
The reservation fee is non-refundable.
107 Park Headquarters Rd Gatlinburg TN 37738