Can You Fly Drones in National Parks?

You might want to take photos and videos while walking in a national park and wonder if you can fly drones in national parks.

The National Park Service has established specific rules and guidelines. Before flying your drone to record interesting videos and pictures, you should check the special rules of the park.

This article explains all the reasons why drones are prohibited in the national park and the rules for using them.

Are drones allowed in national parks?

The appeal of capturing breathtaking aerial images amidst the natural beauty of a national park is undeniable.

However, a common question arises: are drones allowed in national parks? The National Park Service has established policies for the use of drones. They distinguish between drones used for official purposes and aircraft operated by hobbyists.

With the regional director’s approval, we can employ uncrewed aerial vehicles for various park-related purposes.

These involve essential uses like search and rescue operations, aerial photography, scientific research, and fire management.

On the other hand, you have to abide by the limitations when it comes to using drones in national parks.

Since every national park is run independently and has its own set of rules, these policies may vary from one to the next. But maybe you are wondering, can I fly a drone in a public park?

Drone usage is governed by regulations set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US, and public parks are subject to these regulations.

As a general rule, many public parks permit the use of lighter, smaller drones, which are usually classified as recreational drones.

Before launching your drone for leisure in the park, it is important to review the park’s specific rules to ensure compliance with its policies.

Why can’t you fly drones in national parks?

The question of why drones are banned in national parks often perplexes both drone enthusiasts and nature lovers.

The primary rationale behind banning drones in national parks is their potential to harm wildlife and the environment.

Drones can be disruptive and distressing to animals, often prompting them to flee from their natural habitats.

This disturbance can disrupt mating, nesting, and feeding patterns, potentially endangering vulnerable species.

Another crucial aspect is the safety of visitors and park staff. Irresponsible drone operations can pose safety hazards, leading to crashes, collisions with park structures, or even injuries to individuals.

The tranquil atmosphere that park visitors treasure can be disturbed by the presence of drones with their noisy propellers. National parks are praised for their calm and unspoiled surroundings.

The severe consequences of breaking these rules highlight how important it is to abide by the prohibition and how serious it is.

Drone flights are prohibited within national parks, which serves as an essential precaution to save animals, ensure park visitors’ safety, and preserve the pure state of these natural areas.

fly drones in national parks

What are the rules for using drones in national parks?

Drone exploration in national parks can be an exciting experience, but it requires careful respect for important regulations that prioritize protecting the environment. So, what are the rules for using drones in national parks?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States enforces nationwide drone regulations, which also apply to national parks.

These guidelines include flying your drone below 400 feet, maintaining a visual line of sight, and avoiding flight over people and sensitive areas.

One of the key guidelines for utilizing drones in national parks is that it is completely unlawful to launch, land, or operate drones from or over land and water areas managed by the National Park Service (NPS).

It is abundantly evident that using a drone in any park or protected area where the NPS is in charge is strictly prohibited.

While it is generally forbidden to fly drones inside national parks, there are some regions where you can use them if you follow certain guidelines and meet certain requirements.

On the other hand, keep in mind that although using uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAS) is allowed in the parks, launching them is expressly forbidden in NPS-managed areas.

Also, one of the rules that you should pay attention to in the parks is carrying drones in an original and special bag.

It is important to remember that you cannot launch it directly from your vehicle into the park. You must be outside the parking lot.

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What is the fine for flying a drone in a national park?

Although the allure of flying a drone to capture breathtaking aerial footage in a national park is hard to resist, it is crucial to grasp the potential repercussions of flouting drone regulations. So, what is the fine for flying a drone in a national park?

Disregarding drone rules in national parks can lead to substantial penalties, with a maximum fine that can reach up to $5,000.

This substantial financial penalty is intended to dissuade unauthorized drone flights and safeguard the safety and serenity of these treasured natural sanctuaries.

Those who disregard and break the rules governing the use of drones in national parks risk harsher consequences, such as jail time, in addition to monetary fines.

If they break the regulations and harm the environment, they might potentially spend up to six months in prison.

National park authorities take the enforcement of drone rules with utmost seriousness. Their goal is to preserve the pristine and undisturbed environments that visitors anticipate.

Violations are controlled and reported through various methods, such as park rangers, monitoring, and visitor reporting.

Visitors can help preserve the environment and nature and establish peace for visitors by following the rules established regarding the use of drones.

How to get a permit to fly a drone in a national park?

How to get a permit to fly a drone in a national park?

For anyone interested in using a drone to photograph a national park and want to make sure they conform with park regulations, obtaining permission is an essential first step. This is a guide on how to get a permit to fly a drone in a national park:

  • Research Park regulations: Each park may have special rules, regulations, and guidelines for drone flight permits. To inquire about the drone permit application process, find contact information on the park’s official website and contact park officials.
  • Complete the application: Fill out your license application after you have the required data. These forms often request information about your drone flight, including the location, date, and purpose of the flight, as well as the drone model.
  • Payment of the license fee: It may cost money to get a drone flight permit in several parks. Paying this cost at the time of application submission should be anticipated.
  • Wait for confirmation: After submitting the application and paying the required fees, you must wait for approval.
  • Follow the instructions: It is essential to adhere to the guidelines and directives included in the permit after obtaining it. If you do not, you risk paying fines or having your license revoked.

What drones are allowed in the national park?

National parks have special rules for bringing drones, but it is better to know what drones are allowed in the national park. And you can get permission for them.

Many national parks allow recreational drones, usually drones weighing less than 55 pounds. Provided that operators adhere to park-specific regulations and guidelines.

Additionally, commercial and research drones may be permitted in some parks but usually require special permits and compliance with specific guidelines.

In most cases, these drones are used for professional photography, research, or other purposes.

If conducting scientific research or conservation efforts, national parks may issue licenses for specialized drones designed for these purposes.

These drones are used in wildlife and ecosystem studies while minimizing disturbance to the natural environment.

Basically, the types of drones allowed in national parks vary from park to park, and certain regulations must be followed to ensure a harmonious coexistence with nature and other visitors.


The main question is, can you fly drones in national parks? There are specific rules regarding drones in national parks.

Drones are usually allowed for official purposes such as search and rescue, aerial photography, and… in the national park.

However, the use of recreational drones for photography is not a problem for people with a license. The ban on drones is to protect wildlife and ensure the safety of visitors, and violators face fines.

What do you think about drone regulations in national parks? Share your thoughts in a comment.


Hi, I'm Oliver, the content writer and translator. Growing up with a fascination for all things aviation-related, I was naturally fascinated by the concept of drones. I spent many hours each day learning everything I could about them. After some time, I decided to build my website about drones and answer all the questions and worries about drones and also evaluate new drones. I welcome your feedback and consideration. Message me using the form on the contact page

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