5 Tips for Avoiding Pigeon Forge Traffic

If any of you have been to Pigeon Forge, you’ve probably noticed the Pigeon Forge traffic when you come in and when you go out. Although the Pigeon Forge traffic really isn’t that bad, we have a few great ways to help you avoid the Pigeon Forge traffic as easily as possible. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Try to be in town before 3 p.m. on Friday. The 3 o’clock hour is really busy because many people are checking in to hotels and lodging at this hour. If possible, come earlier rather than later. If you need to wait and come later, then try waiting until later in the evening, even after dinnertime.

2. If you’re leaving Pigeon Forge on Sunday, try to leave before 10 a.m. or after 1 p.m. A great way to manage this is to take your time when you leave, sit down for lunch and take one last look at the Smokies before you head out. The Pigeon Forge traffic tends to clear up around 1-2 p.m. on Sundays.

3. Ride the trolley or walk. If you want to avoid driving in Pigeon Forge traffic while you’re in town, just hop on one of the trolleys or walk. There’s many places, like Patriot Park, where you can park your car for the day to catch a ride on a trolley or even walk. From Patriot Park, you’re really close to the main Parkway, so you won’t have to worry about walking too far.

4. Plan activities that are close together. There are places with shopping, entertainment and restaurants within walking distance on the Pigeon Forge Parkway. When you plan where you’re visiting, you will avoid driving up and down the Parkway to reach any of the attractions or activities. You can plan your trip so you only have to head in one direction to complete everything in a single trip.

5. Like many popular vacation destinations, there’s bound to be a little bit of traffic in the peak seasons. If you visit during the off season, you will be able to avoid Pigeon Forge traffic even more.

When you’re planning your vacation to Pigeon Forge, don’t worry about the Pigeon Forge traffic. You’re going to have a lot of fun during your stay, and traffic isn’t so bad that it’s going to ruin your trip in any way! We promise! For a couple more helpful tips for getting around Pigeon Forge, take a look at our alternate route to Dollywood and the shortcut to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Pigeon Forge.

History of Pigeon Forge Tennessee

The City of Pigeon Forge provides an in-depth look at the history of Pigeon Forge. Learn where the name came from, why people settled here, how it grew, and how Pigeon Forge became one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

The History of Pigeon Forge TN

The history of Pigeon Forge TN is pretty simple. Before the area became the vacation destination it is today, Cherokee Indians hunted and grazed the land. It wasn’t long before settlers began making their way to the area, and eventually making their home there.

Even until the early 1900s, the population of the town was only a little over 100 people.

As the area became popular, people began to settle, build homes and eventually started to build businesses. As these businesses grew more and more popular, people started making their way to the area and settling their families here.

How Pigeon Forge Got Its Name

Have you ever wondered how Pigeon Forge got its name?

Pigeon Forge was once filled with acres of green, grassy farmland, but today, Pigeon Forge has turned into a bustling city filled with tons of fun things to do. Whether you vacation here for the attractions, food, mountains or all 3, there’s something for everyone!

When Pigeon Forge was named, it came from 2 sources. First, “Pigeon” came from the Little Pigeon River and all of the passenger pigeons that made the area home. Unfortunately, passenger pigeons no longer exist, so you’re not able to see them when you visit.

On the other hand, Isaac Love, in the early 1800s, built one the area’s first businesses–an iron forge. After many years, the forge was taken apart and removed from the area. But the name still stands today.

With both of these, the town became known as “Pigeon Forge.”

Now, today, Pigeon Forge is a city filled with so much to do that you can visit many times each year and still be left with plenty of new things to see! Millions of visitors make their way to the area each year, to explore the history of Pigeon Forge TN and see all of the fun things to do!

The BEST Way to get to Pigeon Forge

Check out the BEST way to get to Pigeon Forge and a few other ways you might not know.

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So you’ve packed the car, got the kids loaded up, dropped the dog off with a friend, and planned out your next seven days to a tee in order to make your trip to the Smoky Mountains as fun as possible, or so you think. There might be just one small detail you’re leaving out – how do you get there?

Well, we’re here to make it easy for you so we’ll tell you the best way to get right to the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tn. And while there may be a few ways to get to Pigeon Forge, we’ll list them as well, there’s really only one way that has been built to handle all the traffic flowing into the area throughout the year. And that way is from Interstate 40 to Sevierville, TN on to Pigeon Forge.

More often than not, people are coming to the Smokies by way of Nashville, Knoxville or Asheville, with some choosing Chattanooga, Cherokee, or the Tri-Cities of Bristol, Johnson City, and Kingsport, TN. One way or the other, you’ll all end up hitting Interstate 40 at some point with the exception of those who come by way of Cherokee, NC. The exit you should be looking for is Exit 407 – Winfield Dunn Parkway (Hwy 66) to Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll follow that route as it turns into U.S. 441 Scenic Parkway in Sevierville and keep following it into Pigeon Forge.

Coming south from Chattanooga there is a “back roads” way that takes you through Maryville and a few other Smoky Mountain towns if you’d rather make a few stops along the way and reach Pigeon Forge in a kind of “off the beaten path” way. Traveling north on Interstate 75, look for Exit 81 to Lenoir City. From there you’ll travel east on Hwy. 95 until it becomes West Lamar Alexander Pkwy takes you straight through Maryville, TN becoming East Lamar Alexander Pkwy/U.S. 321/Hwy. 73. This route will take you through the Smoky Mountain towns of Walland, Townsend, and Wears Valley as it becomes Wears Valley Road/US 321/Hwy 73, eventually spitting you out right in the middle of Pigeon Forge.

The final route to Pigeon Forge takes you right through the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by way of Newfound Gap Road/US 441/Hwy 71. Coming from Cherokee, NC by way of Waynesville and Asheville, NC, you’ll take this route north through the national park and into Gatlinburg, Tn. You’ll continue north on the Parkway in Gatlinburg until you reach Pigeon Forge.

Pigeon Forge Wildflower Update

“In bloom” is the current status of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its numerous wildflower species. As May creeps along, expect the magnificent blooming season to continue.

Rainfall in Pigeon Forge this spring has been fairly prevalent, especially in the higher elevations of the park. For wildflower enthusiasts, this is a great sign.

Here are just a few of the areas in the park reporting good wildflower coverage lately:

The Greenbrier area of the park, especially around Porter’s Creek Trail. This area is fairly well known for its wildflowers like the Fringed Phacelia. This wildflower forms a virtual blanket when it’s in full bloom. Other wildflower species like the Purple Dwarf Irises were visible as they grow in large groups. White Trilliums were in full bloom though there was still time for some to reach peak bloom. Others like the little white Squirrel Corn and Dutchman’s Breeches still had a little time before they peaked.

Large umbrella like plants called Mayapples were coming into bloom. They’re also plentiful in this area. As were the Bishop’s Cap.

A few of the earlier-than-expected “in bloom” wildflowers included Showy Orchis and the Fringed Phacelia. Though both are still double digit days from reaching their peak, their appearance indicates that this spring wildflower season could be one to remember. So, for all you wildflower enthusiasts out there, get to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring if you want to view a spectacular spring nature show.

Porters Creek is just one of the many wildflower hotspots in the Smokies. Places like Ace Gap, the Bradley Fork Trail, Deep Creek, Oconaluftee, Rich Mountain Loop, and Spence Field are great spots in the park to view spring wildflowers. Check them out, as well as these wildflower walks suggested by the national park service. Also, makes plans to attend the next Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage that occurs annually throughout the park.

Long-Awaited “Island” District Set to Open in Pigeon Forge

For those of you who have waited patiently for the re-opening of the The Island in Pigeon Forge, you won’t have to wait much longer. The once bankrupt Pigeon Forge attraction looks to be on track for a May or June grand re-opening.

In all, The Island at Pigeon Forge’s first phase is slated to consist of a dozen restaurants and retail shops, according to Tom Horne, operations manager. Plans include another Mellow Mushroom for Pigeon Forge, though on a much smaller scale, as well as Island Yogurt and The Timberwood Grill.

According to Horne, workers have been on site since October trying to ready the property for a May-June opening. Infrastructure work has been a main priority lately, especially as it pertains to the bridges connecting The Island with the Parkway.

For those still wondering about The Island moniker, this was the Belle Island project. It began in 2003, but financial difficulties eventually led to bankruptcy in 2009. Touted as a family entertainment venue, The Island was pushed as a destination at the time with highlights from screen star Debbie Reynolds and NASCAR’s Darrell Waltrip.

There is a major attraction in the final planning stages for The Island, though details have yet to be released. The property has already seen a 200-foot sky wheel, called “The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel,” added on to The Island property.

To Horne, nothing about a project so large in scale has been easy. “It takes a lot of effort from a lot of different people,” he said. “So it’s been a big undertaking.”

The project’s second phase will include a hotel, a water-themed attraction, and 50 more retailers/restaurants, which is currently slated for spring 2014 opening.

The Island in Pigeon Forge
130 & 131 Island Drive
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Wear City Park Opens!!!

Pigeon Forge is now officially home to a brand new municipal park. Wear City Park opened this past Friday to a number of onlookers as well as kids looking to take advantage of the new playground and athletic fields.

This was the first phase of the Wear Family City Park which is located a half-mile off the parkway on Wears Valley Road in Pigeon Forge.

In all, the park will take up 118 acres. The first 40 acres will feature five lighted baseball and softball fields, a lighted football field, a playground, two shelters, a basketball court, concession stands, restrooms and walking trails.

Everyone in attendance on opening-day enjoyed their share of popcorn, hot dogs as well as a fireworks display, and a number of old-time games.

As mentioned, everything that is now open represents just the first phase of the park, which will eventually include Waldens Creek and the possibility for additional walking or biking trails.

The Forever Parks Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to raise funds to help build and maintain the new Wear City Park, was credited for their role in getting the new facilities up and running.

City Manager Earlene Teaster said a park was needed in Pigeon Forge that generations could enjoy, as well as another mark on the city’s resume everyone could be proud of.

“This is a tremendous asset for Pigeon Forge,” she said. ‘We’re excited about what it’s going to do for our kids in the community.”

They also credited the Wear family, who sold the old farm used for the park.

“It means so much for us that so many generations of this community will be able to come here and enjoy this property and make memories for their families the same way our family did or so many years,” Charlotte Wear said.

Love Running 5K’s? Come to Pigeon Forge!

If you’re into running 5K’s, you might want to check into all that Pigeon Forge has to offer. Not only are they gearing up for the annual February Freeze on Feb. 9, a few other 5K’s are currently in the works. And not to leave anyone out, Pigeon Forge’s next door neighbor Sevierville completes their calendar year with the annual Santa Hustle 5K run at the Wilderness resort each December.

Recently, the Pigeon Forge Planning Commission took up just that exact subject. The Smoky Mountain area has shown a renewed interest planning for a number of yearly 5K’s that you really just didn’t a handful of years ago.

The first 5K event on the list is actually a race that has been run before, and many would like to keep it that way. Titled the Preserving the Mountain in Me 5K, which is put on by the environmental group Keep Sevier Beautiful, it’s an annual Pigeon Forge 5K that is scheduled this year for April 27. For anyone interested, the race will begin in the city parking lot and end on the Pigeon Forge Greenway.

“Showcasing the greenway is a big part of our mission,” said Laura Howard, executive director of Keep Sevier Beautiful. “It’s an underutilized part of our community. It’s a great area that shows off our natural beauty.”

Races like Preserving the Mountain in Me are “a great way to raise awareness and generate funds,” Howard said. “It’s also about getting our citizens outside and into some physical activity.”

Also on the planning commission’s agenda is the 5K in May, a May 4 race that will benefit Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries.

So as you can see, Pigeon Forge is gearing up for a year that could feature as many as three 5K’s within the first half of the year. Couple those with Sevierville’s Santa Hustle 5K in December and you’ve pretty much got a runner’s paradise in the Smoky Mountains. Next time you feel like runnin’, lace up your sneakers come on over to Pigeon Forge. You’re bound to run into a 5K on the way.

Liquor By The Drink Approved, Again.

The people have spoken, and they’ve reiterated what they said the first time. Liquor by the drink is wanted by the citizens of Pigeon Forge. The measure was approved during a special election for the second time after passing in the November election.

Pigeon Forge voters returned to the polls recently voting in favor of allowing liquor by the drink sales inside city limits. November referendum results were thrown out by a court following a public spat over who was actually allowed to vote on the November referendum, which also featured a presidential vote as well as an extremely crowded general election ballot.

In all, 952 voters passed ballots in favor of liquor by the drink, while 798 voted against. According to the Sevier County Election Commission people were out early and often to voice their opinion as 1,035 ballots were cast during early voting.

For a quick recap of goings on leading up to the November re-vote, citizens approved a measure that would make it legal to serve liquor by the drink in Pigeon Forge. However, that vote was thrown out after a host of locals as well as the Churches of Pigeon Forge opted to file suit against the county election commission.

Though the church group claimed that there were an additional 289 more people who voted in the election than there were registered Pigeon Forge voters, Chancellor Tellford Fogerty ruled that citizens living outside city limits had been allowed to vote in November on the same issue.

In the end, Fogerty ruled there was no intentional fraud created through this election, though the results were “incurably uncertain.”

Record Year For Tourism in Pigeon Forge

Following a year that saw visits to the Smoky Mountain area climb, Pigeon Forge recently announced that it had reached record numbers for revenue in 2012.

According to Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear, the city took in more than $905 million in 2012. If you’re counting at home, that’s a $75 million jump over the previous year. The city posted double digit growth in its two largest business sectors: amusements and lodging.

The mayor points to the city’s residents, its businesses and the city government, all working together in order to achieve such numbers.

“We’ve been reporting this kind of growth for a number of years, but it seems to have hit a peak this year as the best year ever in the history of Pigeon Forge,” said Wear, looking ahead to another big year in 2013.

The city’s new LeConte Center is set to open this fall, which will provide another large venue for shows, events and assemblies.

Another big reason for such great numbers in 2012 was an increase in visitor spending. With more than 9 million people coming to town, sales tax revenues saw tremendous growth.

The numbers also mean no layoffs in city government, new equipment for the police and fire departments, and reassurance for other attractions to come forward. That includes the former Belle Island development, which is advertising a spring 2013 launch as “The Island.”

Wear also noted that the upcoming “liquor by the drink” vote would add even more tax revenue for the city.

“There are developments that we know about that are waiting to see how this vote goes. We are committed to business development, whether it passes or fails,” he added.

Dollywood’s River Rush Almost Complete!

River Rush, the new $6 million water coaster slated to open in May at Dollywood’s Splash Country, is nearing the completion stages despite quite a burst of winter weather the past few months.

Officials said recently that it’s 95 percent complete and a Mother’s Day weekend grand opening is right on target. RiverRush will be the state’s first water coaster and will be visible from Veterans Boulevard at the western end of the park

If you’re familiar with Dollywood, and especially Dollywood’s Splash Country, River Rush will lay on over an acre of land in a newly-developed area between Splash Country’s Big Bear Plunge and Bear Mountain Fire Tower.

When it opens, RiverRush will transport riders up a conveyor belt before being propelled up hills and around curves. In all, it’s a four-story ride where riders climb 237 feet before making a 25-foot, 45-degree drop through tunnels, rapids and three more drops. It’s one minute and 20 seconds of thrilling splashes and drops.

Construction on River Rush officially started in August and was initially estimated to run to $5 million before a few unforeseen rocks got in the way causing project costs to increase.

In other park news, details of Dollywood’s 2014 expansion are expected to be announced this summer. It will be located on the site of Adventure Mountain, which closed at the end of last season. The project has been billed as as “a significant family attraction” in scope between the park’s $17.5 million Mystery Mine steel coaster and $20 million Wild Eagle, the first wing coaster in the U.S.

With Splash Country’s new water attraction and Dollywood’s Wild Eagle addition last year, Splash Country hopes to increase its attendance by about 10 percent to more than 400,000 visitors, according to park officials.

The water park will open a couple of weeks early this year to have Dolly Parton, who will be in town to kick off Pigeon Forge Springfest, present at its launch.

Dollywood opens to the public on March 22, 2013. Splash Country opens May 11, with a special opening on May 10 for season pass holders.