5 Best Places to Park When Visiting the Gatlinburg Strip

About 12 million people visit Sevier County every year. With that many people hitting Gatlinburg, a town with a population of less than 4,000, it’s easy to envision a nightmarish parking situation. Thankfully, well-designed park & ride lots, an excellent public trolley service, and a handful of other public lots make parking in Gatlinburg significantly less stressful than it sounds!

Set your parking anxiety aside with this guide to the most stress-free (and inexpensive) parking situations available near the Gatlinburg Strip.

1. Public Park & Ride Lots

Price: Free

Sevier County has thoughtfully installed a few park-and-ride lots at the end of Gatlinburg Trolley lines. Here, you’ll find free, safe, well-maintained lots right next to trolley stops. If you don’t mind riding the trolley and the schedule lines up with your travel plans, this is your best bet for getting to the Gatlinburg Strip–especially if you’re visiting during a particularly crowded event or holiday.

Park and ride lots are easy to find. One is at the City Hall Complex on Highway 321; the other one is at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center on Spur Road. Parking at both of Gatlinburg’s Park & Ride lots is completely free.

The Gatlinburg Trolley stops at both of those park & ride lots. It is completely free to ride, but you’ll need to make sure your plans mesh with the trolley schedule. The trolley runs from 8:30 am until midnight every night from May through the end of October, but those hours are shorter during the late fall and winter months. You can find the full schedule and route information here.

2. Gatlinburg City Lots

There are two public parking lots in Gatlinburg. These lots are easy to find, conveniently positioned to offer easy walkability to Gatlinburg’s biggest attractions, and at a max of $10 per day, they’re far cheaper than the private parking lots in town.

1. Garage Parking at the Aquarium

Price: $10 Per Day

The first lot is located right at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies; the address is 161 Greystone Heights Road. You can check garage parking availability in real-time here if you’d care to make sure there are spots available before you pull up.

2. Garage Parking on the Parkway

Price: $10 Per Day

The second lot is called the McMahan Municipal Parking Garage at 520 Parkway in Gatlinburg. It offers convenient access to Ripley’s Super Fun Zone and Anakeesta. This lot fills up quickly during peak seasons, so you might also want to check parking availability ahead of time.

3. Street Parking on River Road

Price: FREE

If you happen to be visiting Gatlinburg when most people aren’t (and you don’t mind parallel parking), you might be fortunate enough to snag a parking spot on the side of River Road. There are a handful of street parking places here, and if you manage to snag one, you’ll find yourself within easy walking distance of the Gatlinburg Space Needle, the Gatlinburg Convention Center, and a huge variety of shops and restaurants nearby.

4. Private Lots Galore

Price: $12-20

There are several private parking lots/garages sprinkled through town, as well. Though these lots are more expensive than the above options, they won’t make you blink if you’re from a city; most of these garages charge a max of $20 for a full day of parking. The Bear Skin Parking Lot at 955 Parkway is the largest option, with 515 parking stalls.

You’ll find private lots at the following locations: 

See? Begone, parking anxiety! You have plenty of options, all within easy access to the Gatlinburg Strip.

Things to Keep In Mind

If you’re heading to a specific restaurant or shop, you might also find free customer-only parking at that location; just don’t plan to park there and spend the day exploring. Cars will be towed if they’re left for extended periods of time in customer-only lots.

None of the above lots offer overnight parking, so don’t plan to leave a vehicle at any of these lots past midnight.

Enjoy your visit! No matter when you come, that uniquely small-town feel still sets Gatlinburg apart. Even the process of finding a parking spot can’t tarnish the Gatlinburg experience. Its charm manages to hold its own, which is part of the reason why millions of visitors annually make their pilgrimage to the mountains.