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Shuttle companies will offer rides to Smokies trailheads

Shuttle companies will offer rides to Smokies trailheads

Six shuttle companies will offer rides to and from popular trailheads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year, one of multiple firsts for the park in 2023 as it continues seeking solutions to traffic congestion, parking and overcrowding issues. 

“We are committed to developing innovative solutions to improve visitor access and experience while protecting this national treasure,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Having a shuttle option is a stress-free way for visitors to experience some of the park’s most iconic destinations.”   

Shuttles will pick up and drop off at popular destinations like Alum Cave Trail, Laurel Falls Trail, Chimney Tops Trail, Trillium Gap Trail (Grotto Falls), Rainbow Falls Trail and Clingmans Dome. Providers include Bryson City Outdoors, which has locations in Cherokee and Bryson City, as well as five Tennessee-based companies: AAA Hiker Shuttle, A Walk in the Woods, Great Smoky Mountains Eco Tours, RockyTop Tours and Smoky Mountain Rides. 

Visitors who use a shuttle to access the park will not need to purchase a parking tag, which since March 1 have been required for any visitors parking a vehicle for 15 minutes or more. Those who choose to drive themselves should also come with an alternative hike in mind in case no parking is available at their desired trailhead. The park has taken measures to prevent parking on roadsides and other areas outside official parking lots. Parking in areas not specifically designed for parking damages resources, adds to congestion, is unsafe along busy roads and can make it hard for emergency vehicles to access some locations in a timely manner. 

To book a ride, visitors should contact shuttle providers directly. Routes and schedules vary by provider. Learn more at

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