Recreation Passes & Permits

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.

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 .


Frequently Asked Questions

What recreation sites are covered by a Forest Annual Pass?

How much does a Forest Annual Pass Cost?

What are the benefits of purchasing a Forest Annual Pass?

How do I display this pass?

What happens with the fees I pay?

Where can I purchase a Cherokee National Forest Annual Pass in person or by mail?



What Is A Forest Annual Pass?

Cherokee National Forest offers an Annual Pass entitling the owner to unlimited visits to day-use fee areas including boat launches, swimming beaches, shooting ranges and the Ocoee Whitewater Center. The Annual Pass is good for one calendar year and will expire on December 31st regardless of when purchased.


Sites covered by a Forest Annual Pass

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

Ocoee Ranger District
  • Chilhowee Recreation Area Day-Use
  • East Parksville Boat Launch
  • Kings Slough Boat Launch
  • Mac Point Beach
  • Ocoee Whitewater Center
  • Parksville Beach
  • Parksville Boat Launch
  • Power House Boat Launch
  • Spring Creek Shooting Range
  • Towee Creek Boat Launch
Tellico Ranger District
  • Indian Boundary Day-Use
Unaka Ranger District
  • Bubbling Springs Shooting Range
  • Rock Creek Recreation Area Day-Use
Watauga Ranger District
  • Jacobs Creek Recreation Area Day-Use
  • Little Milligan Launch
  • Pond Mountain Shooting Range
  • Rat Branch Launch
  • Scioto Shooting Range
  • Shook Branch Swimming Area


Forest Annual Pass Cost

  • $30.00 if purchased prior to May 1st.
  • $20.00 if purchased on or after May 1st.

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).


What are the benefits of purchasing a Forest Annual Pass?

  • Allows unlimited visits to recreation day-use fee areas in Cherokee National Forest during the calendar year for which the pass was purchased
  • If you plan to visit day-use fee areas frequently, you will save money
  • Covers a greater percentage of day-use fees than Interagency Passes
  • No filling out day-use envelopes at self service fee stations in recreation sites, and no worries with correct change.


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.


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.


Purchasing a Cherokee National Forest Annual Pass in person or by mail

Contact your nearest Cherokee National Forest office.


Need additional information on federal recreation sites and passes, visit