A mountain resort city in Sevier County Tennessee Pigeon Forge is just five miles north of the Great Smoky Mountain Nation Park. A tourist resort with many attractions for fun, entertainment and shopping. There are several outlet malls where one can buy just about anything one would want from clothes to makeup, household goods, tools, shoes, accessories and much much more.
One of the biggest attractions located in Pigeon Forge is Dollywood. A large theme park with rides, museums and musical shows with an Appalachian mountain theme. Dollywood opens each year in March with new rides and shows, and Splash Country Waterpark is a great way to cool off from the summer heat. More than 11 million visitors a year come to the area to enjoy the attractions, sites and the Great Smoky Mountains.
“In the early 19th century circuit riders came to the area to preach in the valley. The first “tourist” were people who came for the extended revivals that were common at the time. The revivals could last for several weeks at a time resulting in extended stays by the travelers attending the revivals.
The Parkway” or US Route 441 runs down the middle of Pigeon Forge, continuing to Gatlinburg and then to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Most of the attractions in Pigeon Forge are located conveniently along “The Parkway”.
The history of Pigeon Forge is very interesting. The west fork of the Little Pigeon River flows from high up on Mount Collins, then joins with the Middle Fork in Sevierville, flows thru Pigeon Forge and on to Gatlinburg. The name Pigeon comes from the flock of Passenger pigeons that frequented the banks of the river at the time of the first Euro-American settlers. Forge comes from the iron forge built about 1820. The forge was built along the Little Pigeon River.
The Cherokee used the area as hunting grounds. Indian Gap Trail crossed the Great Smokies from North Carolina into Tennessee thru the Pigeon Forge valley.Then later hunters, trappers and traders from North Carolina and Virginia used the trail. Indian Gap Trail was how the first European settlers gained entry to the area in the early 18th century.
In the late 1800’s people from the large urban areas came to visit the mountain springs. During this period of local history it was very popular for the wealthy to travel to mountain spring areas for the believed health benefits of soaking in the healing waters.
By the early 20th century Pigeon Forge was a small isolated mountain town and hard to access. Bridges were rare in that time and there were no railroads or well maintained roads to use for travel.
By 1934 the GSMNP was opened by the federal government. By the 1950’s US 441 was built. By 1961 the first tourist attraction was opened Rebel Railroad-later renamed Goldrush Junction. Goldrush Junction was owned by the same brothers that operated Tweetsie Railroad in nearby North Carolina. In 1969 Goldrush Junction was sold and became Silver Dollar City after the new owners successful theme park in Branson, Missouri. The Ozark mountain theme changed into an Appalachian mountain theme in Pigeon Forge and the park’s attendance began to grow.
In 1982 Pigeon Forge, using the recent Knoxville World’s Fair as a guide, started an economic plan that centered around live music theaters, outlet malls, and the Silver Dollar City theme park. In 1985 the owners of Silver Dollar City approached neighboring town Sevierville’s hometown celebrity Dolly Parton. After negotiations Silver Dollar City became Dollywood which is now a 150 acre theme park. The year to year growth and popularity of Dollywood is a major attraction to the area now.
Dollywood theme park now includes Splash County-a water theme park. Each year with the park’s additions and changes attendance grows more and more. Other popular attractions are the Titanic Museum, The Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, WonderWorks, the Comedy Barn and the Dixie Stampede. There are seasonal events like Winterfest celebrated each winter in Pigeon Forge. There are multiple car and truck shows with the area quickly becoming a popular mecca for the southeast car and truck enthusiasts.
DreamMore Resort is the latest addition to the Dollywood experience. The resort opens Monday July 27, 2015. The resort offers “300 rooms and hotel suites designed with families and groups in mind”.
DreamMore Resort offers: an indoor and an outdoor pool, salon and spa services, two restaurants, exclusive Dollywood Park privileges, complimentary Theme Park and Water Park Shuttle services, meeting and event services,
complimentary Wi-Fi, entertainment, complimentary resort parking, a Fitness Center and lots of family and kids’ activities. The beautiful resort is situated close to Dollywood Theme Park and Dollywood Splash Country. The resort sits high on a hill with the surrounding grounds beautifully landscaped and views of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. It is sure to become a fantastic place to enjoy what the area has to offer.
The newest attraction in Pigeon Forge is The Island in Pigeon Forge with shops, rides and entertainment. The complex has more than sixty retail and specialty shops, restaurants and eateries, rides and games, a dancing fountains, live music, The Wheel and accommodations. The Island in Pigeon Forge offers a safe and walkable shopping and entertainment complex, it even has rocking chairs where you can sit and enjoy the sites and watch the dancing water fountain.
Located in the complex of The Island in Pigeon Forge are: Paula Deen Family Kitchen, the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel with its 200-foot-high view, Margaritaville restaurant, Timberwood Grill, Cinnabon, Alewine Pottery, Heads Up Sports, Key West Hat Company, The Boutique women’s clothing store, Thomas Kinkade Company, Margaritaville Island Hotel, The Island Ropes Course, The Island Show Fountain, Arcade City, The Flying Horse Carousel and so much more!
The Island in Pigeon Forge is a great new addition to Pigeon Forge. You can do it all in one place! Stay at the hotel, dine at one of the restaurants or other eateries, sit and relax at the water fountain, shop and let the kids enjoy all the fun activities located in the complex.
Pigeon Forge just keeps growing and getting better and better every year. It is a favorite vacation destination for people from all over the world. And with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just a short ride away Pigeon Forge as well as Gatlinburg and Sevierville is a great place to visit year round.
And with Knoxville just about 25 miles away a day trip to Knoxville is a fun adventure. Fun things to do while visiting Knoxville include visiting Neyland Stadium which is the home of the Tennessee Volunteers football team, go to the Knoxville Zoo, see the World’s Fair Park, The Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center, and take the Historic Downtown Knoxville Walking Tour. Since Knoxville is less than 30 minutes away it is a fun side trip to take during a vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains.