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Blog > Pigeon Forge News 2014

Pigeon Forge is decked out with fall decorations and looking gorgeous. Higher elevation leaf colors are really beginning to pop.

Some of the hiking trails are already covered with leaves, however most trees remain green at this time. Warm days, cool nights, and a few sprinkles of rain have come together in a celebration of autumn splendor…the perfect way to kick off the first week of Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. The wildly creative fall scenes below were taken at Debbie's Country Store in Wears Valley.


Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is on the brink of October, and when the bright fall leaves start dropping, leaf peepers flood into the Smoky Mountains.

We never really know when peak color will occur, but planning a vacation or a scenic drive for the last week of October is a good idea. Cool crisp air, a cabin with a fireplace, and bright fall leaf colors are the perfect way to celebrate this special time of year.




Posted: 9/30/2014 4:31:14 PM by Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt | with 0 comments

Here’s a fun fact: Great Smoky Mountain National Park occupies nearly 800 square miles of picturesque land with more than 380 miles of roadways to cruise to take it all in. See the leaves change colors this autumn and explore the beauty of the Smokies from the driver’s seat (or passenger seat, if you’re lucky!) by touring one of our Top 5 Scenic Drives in the Great Smoky Mountains!

1. Cades Cove Loop – This drive is a favorite for good reason: You’ll see iconic Smoky Mountain scenes from historic homes to serene woodland settings by driving this 11-mile loop. This verdant valley has been a beautiful destination since the first Europeans settled here in the early 1800s and is known for its tranquility and wildlife sightings.

Directions to Cades Cove: From Pigeon Forge, turn at traffic light #3 onto Wears Valley Road and take 321 to Townsend. Turn Left onto Highway 73 and go until you see a sign for Cades Cove where you will turn right onto Laurel Creek Road. This road runs straight into Cades Cove.

2. Cataloochee Valley – Take a trip back in time by driving through the breath-taking Cataloochee Valley. Pick up a tour guide booklet at a GSMR visitors’ center or from the roadside box near the valley’s entrance and learn all about this area’s rich history. This rustic valley is another perfect spot to take in historic structures, including centuries-old churches, a school, a home and several outbuildings. It’s also known as an excellent place to spot the majestic elk which have been reintroduced into the park in recent years.

Directions to the Cataloochee Valley: Take the Blue Ridge Parkway to Highway 19. Follow 19 (toward Asheville) through Maggie Valley. Turn left onto Highway 276 N. Just before the entrance ramp to I-40 (but past the gas station), turn left and follow the signs 11 more miles to Cataloochee.

3. Newfound Gap Road – Here in the Smoky Mountains, we call a gap the lowest point in a mountain ridge. Folks from New England might call this area a “notch,” those from the West might call it a “pass.” Newfound Gap is the lowest ridge in the Smokies, and it’s still at more than 5,000 feet above sea level. That means that cruising New Found Gap Road this time of year will give you the same foliage experience as driving from Maine to Georgia, thanks to the changes in altitude.

Directions to Newfound Gap Road:  Newfound Gap Road begins on U.S. 441 at the very last stoplight on the southern edge of Gatlinburg in Sevier County. You’ll travel 40 beautiful miles to reach Newfound Gap.  

4. Roaring Fork Nature Motor Trail – This 6-mile side road gives you a chance to slow down and enjoy the Smokies!  This relaxing cruise lets view rushing mountain streams, glimpse of old-growth forest, and even take in a number of well-preserved log cabins, grist mills, and other historic buildings. The motor trail closes in the winter, so it’s best to be enjoyed in the spring, summer or fall!

Directions to the Roaring Fork Motor Trail: Turn off the main Parkway in Gatlinburg, at traffic light #8 and follow Historic Nature Trail Road to the Cherokee Orchard entrance to the national park. Just beyond the Rainbow Falls trailhead you have the option of taking the one-way Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Be careful: buses, trailers, and motor homes are not permitted on the motor nature trail.

5. Tail of the Dragon – Feeling brave? Take a scenic drive through the Smokies to reach what locals call the Tail of the Dragon, a curvaceous stretch of roadway that sports car enthusiasts and motorcycle buffs love testing their skills on. This road is a challenge for most drivers, as it features 318 twists and turns in the 11 mile journey.

Directions to the Tail of the Dragon: From the main Parkway in Pigeon Forge, take Wears Valley Road (Hwy. 321) approximately 15 miles toward Walland, TN. Before arriving in Walland, get on  Foothills Parkway and travel about 8 miles. Turn left on Highway 129 going toward Robbinsville, N.C., and you will find yourself on “The Tail of the Dragon.” You’ll find a few places to stop and take photos (or even turn around if you decide you’re not ready to slay the Dragon before reaching the curviest segment of the road.

Posted: 9/30/2014 4:12:23 PM by Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt | with 0 comments

We asked our PigeonForge.com readers,

As the weather cools off and the colors being to change, "What is your favorite fall activity to do in the Smoky Mountains?"

Scroll down for their responses:


"There is absolutely nothing better than the cool afternoons in Cades Cove. You go and admire the majestic fall colors while driving through the Cades Cove Loop, and of course stopping for some hikes!" -Jacob

We stay in Pigeon Forge. From there we go up to the mountains and back to view the beautiful colors.  "We also go to the Rotary Club Craft Fair and the Gatlinburg Craftsman's Fair.  We will also do the motor tour in Gatlinburg and of course go to the Island". - Jane

"I just came back from Pigeon Forge On Friday September 19. I spent 5 days there and even though I am 83 years old I still love to walk in the Mountains. I walked to Grotto Falls and to the Observation Tower at Clingmans Dome. I cannot wait to come back in the Spring. It is just a beautiful place to visit. I love your newsletters. Thank you very much". -Marvin

"My favorite thing to do in the Smoky Mountains in the Fall is to go to the Chimney picnic area, take a chair and just sit by the river.  The perfect day is when the sun is shining, there is a slight breeze blowing and the leaves are falling gently to the ground, it is the most peaceful time and it is just soothing for the soul.  For me, coming to the mountains is like coming home again, I have so many memories of coming to the mountains when I was a little girl to visit my grandparents who lived there for many years". - Donna

"I love everything about the Smokies, but my favorite Fall activity is when all of the businesses decorate for fall.  I love all of the different displays". -Linder

"Our family is headed your way October 10th for a whole week and we can’t wait!  Fall is our absolutely favorite time of the year and a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains is a must.

While there we will visit the Craft Shows, ride through Cades Cove (more than once), drive all through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to see all  the splendid Fall decorations, visit Dollywood, as the park is “Fall Glorious” this time of year, Hatfield & McCoy’s Dinner Show,  The Comedy Barn, shop and too many other things to list .  Our 87 year old father is coming with us and he is so excited.   He visited Hawaii a couple of months ago and was never this excited.  Going to the Smokies is  all he has talked about and counting down the days until we leave...See you there" -Debi


"It's easy to "harvest" up a good ole time when visiting the Smoky Mountains during autumn. My family enjoys sharing in the bounty of  goodness the area offers. We appreciate the cool crisp air, the natural art of the mountain vistas, and the jaunts in and around town as we enjoy creative displays, craft shows, friendly people, dining, gospel music, and God's blessings. We love the "call of fall" in the Smoky Mountains!" -Ed


Posted: 9/23/2014 4:05:38 PM by Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt | with 0 comments

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