Pigeon Forge is located near the Smoky Mountains, and it’s one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Pigeon Forge is a top spot for families, couples, and anyone who wants the mountain scenery and southern hospitality, along with plenty to do and an abundance of entertainment.
So what specifically makes Pigeon Forge so popular? We detail it below.
The Great Smoky Mountains
Pigeon Forge is just a short drive from the nation’s most visited national park—The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Within the park, you can hike, view wildlife, visit historical sites, and be in nature.
There’s no entry fee to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is unlike most of the other parks in the country.
Cades Cove is one of the most-visited parts of the park, with an 11-mile road that circles a valley spanning 6,800 acres. It’s open to cars from dusk until dawn, and in the summer months, bikes and walkers only are allowed on the road in the morning.
Another top spot in the park is Rainbow Falls, which is one of the park’s most beautiful waterfalls. You go to the trail that eventually makes its way up Mt. LeConte, starting out fairly easy. Then, you ascend 1,700 feet until you get to the 80-foot waterfall.
The park contains a portion of the Appalachian Trail, starting at Fontana Dam and ending at Davenport Gap. Along this hike, you’ll see Charlie’s Bunion, Rocky Top, and Mt. Cammerer.
Dollywood is a theme park, but also more than that. The destination comes from the inspiration Dolly drew from her own life. Dolly grew up in a two-room cabin just a couple of miles away from the park.
This year, Dollywood celebrates its 37th season.
At the park, you should make sure you take time for a funnel cake, which Dolly recently told Conde Nast Traveler is her favorite snack at the park.
The live entertainment at the park is wonderful, with more than a dozen musical acts being hosted on any given day, including bluegrass bands.
Harmonies of the Heart is one that Dolly says is her favorite because she has her own relatives and friends in it.
There’s a museum in the park called Chasing Rainbows. Chasing Rainbows is the biggest Dolly Parton museum in the world, and it features memorabilia from throughout her life.
The museum is home to the famous coat of many colors Parton’s mother sewed, handwritten notes from Dolly she jotted down when writing songs, her high school band uniform, and an area focused on the Imagination Library program, which has donated millions of books to kids around the world.
Wildwood Grove is a section of the theme park that opened in 2019, and it came from Dolly’s daydreams and stories from her childhood growing up in the Smokies.
Next door to Dollywood is Splash Country. Dollywood’s Splash Country is a waterpark that’s designed to recreate Dolly’s childhood swimming in the rivers of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Dollywood isn’t the only place for music and entertainment. The Pigeon Forge area is especially known for its dinner shows.
Dolly Parton has one of these as well—the Stampede dinner show featuring music, comedy, and horses.
The Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show is another that includes battling pirates and acrobatics.
The live entertainment throughout Pigeon Forge includes rock, country, gospel, magic, and comedy, and everything is family-friendly for all ages.
The Island in Pigeon Forge is a complex centrally located that spans 23 acres. Pigeon Forge is a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex.
The Island is where you’ll find Margaritaville and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Island Hotel. Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen is here, and the showpiece of the complex is the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, which is a 200-foot-high Ferris wheel so you can observe the surrounding landscape.
The Island includes a fountain in the center of the complex that’s programmed with a light and sound show.
Pigeon Forge is well-known for a number of reasons, and the attractions are one of the many things that appeal to visitors.
For example, the Titanic Museum is a top-rated attraction.
The museum is a replica of the Titanic, and when you enter, you follow the story of a real passenger. You can see artifacts from the ship and walk along with sloping decks.
The museum includes recreated details of the Titanic, like the Grand Staircase. You can see what all the different types of rooms were like, including the first-class luxury suites, and the tiny third-class cabins, all of which are built to the original scale.
The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is the longest downhill track in the country. There’s over a mile of track making up this mountain coaster. When you ride, you’re in a cart that can carry one or two riders, and you control your velocity, with speeds reaching up to 27 mph. At night, you can still ride thanks to the coaster being illuminated by colored lights.
The Outdoor Gravity Park is a zorbing attraction where you roll down a 1,000-foot hill in a plastic ball like a hamster.
When you visit Pigeon Forge, along with being close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’re also near Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is, on its own, a top tourist destination in the country.
Gatlinburg is built into the Smoky Mountains and was designed to replicate an alpine village. It’s charming and walkable, whereas you have to drive the Pigeon Forge Parkway.
Gatlinburg’s newest attraction is Annakeesta, where you take a ski lift to the top of the mountain, and there are shopping, dining, and rides once you reach the peak, as well as breathtaking views of the Smokies.
These aren’t even all the reasons that Pigeon Forge is so famous and well-known among travelers— the above just touches on some of the many elements that make it a unique and special travel attraction.
There are also restaurants with southern comfort fare, cabin rentals, and loads of other top-rated tourist attractions in the area.