Located 33 miles southeast of Knoxville, the sleepy town of three decades ago has become Tennessee’s major attraction.
What was at one time Cherokee hunting grounds in this lush Appalachian valley is now a town of 3,975 people, which has been made famous by Dolly Parton.
The town’s fortunes changed when the lure of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park enticed people into the area. However, it was the singer’s signature theme park, Dollywood, which opened in 1986, that turned its former economy of iron forging into pure mountain gold.
Pigeon Forge now houses more than 50 family-themed attractions together with theaters, shopping malls, and numerous specialty shops selling homespun crafts. During summer, it is not uncommon to have 40,000 people crowding downtown’s streets.
Pigeon Forge is a town for pure frolic. Visitors can find corn on the cob anytime at a downtown hoedown venue or hear live entertainment at Dollywood, which is open from April to October. Gocart tracks, miniature golf courses, and water slides are just some of the attractions, as well as Dolly’s Splash Country—a 25-acre water park. Other attractions include the Elvis Museum, which houses the largest private collection of Elvis memorabilia, Smoky Mountain Car Museum, and the offbeat Carbos Police Museum.
Pigeon Forge is linked to Knoxville by I-40, Hwy 66, and Hwy 321, and is serviced through Knoxville’s McGee Tyson Airport.