Recreation Passes

No matter who you are or where you're going, take advantage of the type of pass that will work best for you. Here's a comprehensive overview of information about passes accepted across the Cherokee National Forest. You can get a good idea of what's available here.

Forest Passes

Frequently Asked Questions

What recreation sites are covered by a Forest Pass?

How much does a Forest Pass Cost?

What are the benefits of purchasing a Forest Pass?

How do I display this pass?

What happens with the fees I pay?

Where can I purchase a Cherokee National Forest Pass?

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What Is A Forest Pass?

Cherokee National Forest offers two types of passes: a Daily Pass and an Annual Pass. Both of these passes are valid at day-use fee areas including boat launches, swimming beaches, shooting ranges and the Ocoee Whitewater Center. The Annual Pass is good for unlimited visits for 12 months after purchase.

The Daily Pass can be purchased on Recreation.gov, and is only good for the day specified when purchased.

 

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Sites covered by a Forest Pass

Day-use fees at the following recreation sites are covered by the Cherokee National Forest Pass:

Ocoee Ranger District
Tellico Ranger District
Unaka Ranger District
Watauga Ranger District

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Forest Pass Cost

Annual Pass

A 50% discount may be applied to the
purchase of one Forest Annual Pass if the
purchaser has one of the following:

  • a valid Golden Age Passport,
  • Golden Access Passport,
  • Interagency Senior Pass or
  • Interagency Access Pass

(Interagency Passes are part of America the Beautiful— The National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program).

Daily Pass
  • $3 a day per vehicle on the Ocoee and Tellico Ranger Districts
  • $2 a day per vehicle on the Unaka and Watauga Ranger Districts

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What are the benefits of purchasing a Forest Pass?

  • Annual Passes allow unlimited visits to recreation day-use fee areas in Cherokee National Forest for a full year through the end of the month in which it was purchased.
  • Annual Passes will save you money if you plan to visit day-use fee areas frequently.
  • Daily Passes can be purchased online, from anywhere, and used that same day or sometime in the future.
  • Both Forest Passes cover a greater percentage of day-use fees than Interagency Passes.
  • Both Forest Passes mean no more filling out day-use envelopes at self service fee stations in recreation sites, and no worries with correct change.

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Displaying the pass

Hang your pass on your rearview mirror every time you visit a day-use fee area in Cherokee National Forest. An annual pass or a day-use pass, which is available at a recreation site self-service fee stations, must be displayed in vehicles parked at designated fee areas.

If purchasing your digital pass on-site, no printed copy of the digital pass will be available. Instead, your license plate number will be used to confirm compliance. Keep in mind, not all recreation sites have connectivity, so purchase a digital pass in advance if possible.

If purchasing a digital pass in advance, a printed copy of the digital pass is recommended for your vehicle as connectivity in the Cherokee National Forest can be limited.

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What happens with the fees I pay?

Recreation Program Fee Accomplishment Report 2018

More and more people recreate on national forests every year creating new challenges to provide quality recreation opportunities, meet visitor needs and protect natural resources. To help address these issues, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act permits federal land management agencies to charge modest fees at developed recreation areas that meet specific criteria.

In Cherokee National Forest, fees are collected at developed campgrounds, boat launches, swim areas, shooting ranges and Ocoee Whitewater Center.

The Forest Annual Pass is issued under authority of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA). 95% of your fees stay with Cherokee National Forest to help repair, maintain and enhance recreation facilities; provide visitor services and conserve the natural resources in the recreation areas you enjoy. Accomplishments are reported annually to Congress.

You can help determine how your fees are spent. What improvements would you like to see in your favorite area? Fill in the comment section of a fee envelope or notify the nearest Forest office.

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Purchasing a Cherokee National Forest Pass

Annual Passes are available for purchase at the Cherokee National Forest Supervisor’s Office, District Offices (Ocoee, Tellico, Unaka, and Watauga), the Ocoee Whitewater Center and online at Recreation.gov. Arrangements can be made to purchase by mail. Please contact your local office or ranger station for more information.

Annual and Daily Passes can be purchased at Recreation.gov. Daily Passes may also be self-purchased at the developed recreation site.

 

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Interagency Passes

America the Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass

An image of the America the Beautiful Annual Recreation Pass One of the most popular recreation passes is the America the Beautiful Annual Recreation Pass. This pass allows you and the passengers in your, private, non-commercial vehicle to enter Federally operated recreation sites across the country. At sites where per person entrance fees are charged, the pass covers you and three (3) accompanying adults age 16 and older. No entry fee is charged for children 15 and under.

You can buy the America the Beautiful Annual Recreation Pass and get more information about this and other passes such as the Senior Pass and the Access Pass at USGS online store.

Additional information is available and passes are for sale at Cherokee National Forest Supervisor’s Office, ranger stations and Ocoee Whitewater Center.