By Leif Palmer
Posted on June 19, 2018
When it comes to being a vacation destination, Gatlinburg sure has a whole lot going for it. But parking availability at individual businesses isn't one of those assets. Gatlinburg is a fairly small town, wedged into the crevices of a scenic mountain valley, so real estate is at a premium. There are dozens and dozens of attractions, shops and restaurants that simply have very few to zero on-site parking spaces.
Fortunately, there are several ways to get around this dilemma. Regardless of whether you're staying in town or just driving in for the day, the Gatlinburg trolley system is offering a free Parkway route through August 15. The trolley cars are specially painted, open-air shuttles that run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily with some 40 stops scheduled along the Parkway through the main section of town.
Even if your travel needs take you to other areas and during other hours, the system allows you to ride all day on any of the town's routes for just $2 per person. That will gain you access to everywhere from downtown and Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Community and Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge. You can buy a pass at city hall or at the Mass Transit Center downtown as well as numerous lodging facilities in town. About 800,000 people use Gatlinburg's trolley system each year, making it the fifth-largest mass transit system in the state. Today, the fleet boasts some 20 trolley cars that service more than 50 miles of routes.
So what do you do with your own vehicle when you're riding the trolley? If you're staying at a local lodging provider, you should have no trouble parking on their premises. But if you're just driving in for the day, try one of our six inexpensive and conveniently located parking lots in town. Our Gatlinburg parking rates are a no-brainer when you compare them to what many other lots and garages are charging for a full day of parking. And with locations all along the Parkway, it's a cinch to park, catch a nearby trolley stop and ride for free to your next downtown destination (or pay $2 to visit a more far-flung location)
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.