AUTUMN AT ITS best happens nowhere better than in Tennessee, and
Pigeon Forge is like a mountain town and a country fair all in one, all the time, but here’s why fall is an especially good time to visit.
The town celebrates for months on end.
It’s true that Pigeon Forge’s signature things to do — including a huge variety of shows, the world’s largest
Start off at the Fall Harvest at The Island, running through the end of October. The Island Show Fountain will be raging, all of Market Street will embody pumpkin spice, and the bluegrass music plays virtually nonstop. Grab a chair in front of the Ole Smoky Mountain stage or a spot at the top of The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel — either perspective works.
If you’re traveling with the family, a great free kids’ event is the
The mountains are right here. Like, right here.
Pigeon Forge is essentially the doorman waiting just outside
When driving the
In the early morning in the meadows of
To explore on your own two feet, hit any of the parks’ 150+ hiking trails, which range from easy outings to challenging overnight treks. Moderate hikes lead to some of the best waterfalls, like
And for a lazy day in the foothills, check out
All you need is a weekend.
There’s a statistic floating around out there that says Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a “short” drive away for over two-thirds of the US population, east of the Mississippi River. That probably depends on your definition of “short,” but the same would hold true for Pigeon Forge. What’s not in doubt is there’s enough to do here that even a three-day weekend won’t leave you wondering how to fill your time. This is especially true in fall, when the leaves are changing and nearly every turn seems to present a photo opp.
And though summer is traditionally the high season for visitors, lodging, dining, and shopping are as good as ever here in the fall, with attractions along the Parkway staying open even as the weather cools. Mini golf, go-karts, roller coasters, amusement rides, laser tag, bungee towers, comedy shows, concerts, and movies can break up the moments between taking in Mother Nature. The fun only gets better with streets donned in harvest decor and the holidays right around the corner.
The city is a short hop south from I-40 — so you could make it a stop on a longer trip — but there’s no way to get a taste of everything in a single day. There are plenty of
And of course, there’s the leaves.
The #1 reason to visit the Smokies in the fall is the colors, hands down. When the heat of summer gives way to pleasant days and chilly nights, the landscape is painted with fall foliage. The mountains here have some of the highest tree diversity in the country, each bringing a unique flair to the display. The color of the leaves and the time at which they turn vary by species and elevation, and the wide range of both means autumn’s show has a lot of variety and lasts a long time. The taller ridges brighten at their tops in late September; oranges, yellows, and reds sweep down the slopes and light up Pigeon Forge by the end of October, just in time for the town’s harvest celebrations.
To enjoy the leaves up in the mountains, take any of the national park’s scenic drives or