At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Outdoors roundup

Buy national forest passes online

A new online platform allows visitors to the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests to pay day use fees online at at no additional cost. 

Digital passes are available for Cheoah Point Beach, Dry Falls, Whiteside Mountain, Whitewater Falls, Jackrabbit Mountain Beach and Roan Mountain. 

Because many areas of the national forest have limited cell reception, it’s best to buy passes before heading to the destination. Passes can be printed and placed on the dashboard, but this is not required because rangers can use license plates to validate passholders. 

To purchase a pass online go to or search “National Forests in North Carolina Digital Passes” at the homepage.

Previously in Outdoors

Go to top