Pigeon Forge Attractions
There's so many fun things to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Take a look at some of our favorite attractions!
In 1996, Pigeon Forge was named a “Favorite Shopping Spot” by Southern Living magazine’s readers because of its more than 200 specialty stores and outlets. Its six outlet stores include Black & Decker, London Fog, Mikasa, Oneida, and dozens more–all within minutes of Country Oaks Cabins.
Dollywood features a unique variety of music, crafts, attractions, and rides, including over 40 live performances every day, over 20 different crafts and the fun and excitement of 30 rides and attractions. Both families and couples alike will enjoy sharing this entertainment experience, and Dollywood is located a short distance off the Parkway in Pigeon Forge and very convenient to Country Oaks Cabins.
Arts & Crafts Community
The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, comprised of the largest group of independent artisans in the country with more than 70 members, is just 3 miles east of Gatlinburg (turn at light #3 onto 321N and then turn left at Glades, Buckhorn, or Powdermill Roads). A visit to the 8-mile loop of shops, studios, and galleries (see broom shop at left) is like a visit to an era gone by where skills developed by early settlers 200 years ago are demonstrated in these shops and studios. Travelers can choose from an array of fine, handcrafted gift items made right here in the Smokies.
Cades Cove is the most visited part of the Park – and for good reason. This fertile mountain valley is surrounded on all sides by mountains. An 11-mile one-way loop road winds around the valley, with stops at preserved pioneer structures. A visitor’s center with pioneer exhibits, a 5-mile hike to Abrams Falls (see photo right), abundant wildlife, campgrounds, bike rentals, spectacular foliage in autumn, and facilities for horseback riding all make Cades Cove a complete visitor’s sampler of all the Park has to offer. Plan on spending the day – pack a lunch.
North Carolina’s answer to Cades Cove – without the crowding. Interestingly, Cataloochee had a greater population (approximately 1,200) at its peak than Cades Cove. Well off the beaten path, Cataloochee offers historic structures, opportunities for hiking, campgrounds, and spectacular vistas. It doesn’t offer quite as much as Cades Cove, so isn’t as crowded – but that’s the attraction for many people.
One-hundred fifty maintained hiking trails totaling more than 800 miles crisscross the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many parallel trout streams and lead to waterfalls. These hikes offer great opportunities to get out of your vehicle to view wildflowers in spring, fantastic mountain vistas in winter, fall foliage in the autumn, and record-size trees in summer.
Newfound Gap Road
The only road that completely traverses the Park, Newfound Gap Road runs the 33 miles between Cherokee NC and Gatlinburg TN. This road has so much to offer in the way of nature walks, hikes, mountain views, and historic structures, that you can devote an entire day to the Newfound Gap Road experience (see view from Clingmans Dome at left).
One of the Park’s finest features – from afar or up close – Mt. LeConte hosts five great hiking trails to its peak. One of the most popular hikes to Mt. LeConte is the Alum Cave Bluff Trail, which is accessible from Newfound Gap Road. Mt. LeConte also boasts the only lodging within the Park: Mt. LeConte Lodge (and cabins). Accessible only by trail and available only by reservation (one year in advance), Mt. LeConte Lodge and the views of the Smokies Mt. LeConte affords the hardy hiker are well worth the effort.
Old Growth Forests
Saved from the huge lumber companies when the Park was established, some virgin stands of old-growth trees exist in the Great Smokies. The American Forests organization reports that the Smokies contain 21 national champion sized trees. Will Blozan, a North Carolina arborist has discovered 30 champion-sized trees throughout the southern Appalachians. The Greenbrier section of the Park is home to several beauties. For example, there’s a black cherry that has a circumference of 210 inches and a northern red oak measuring 257 inches. In addition, you can take the Laurel Falls Trail and hike 3/4 mile past the falls to view an old-growth forest of large trees.
Sixty nine of the 2,015 miles that make up the Appalachian Trail cross the crest of the Great Smoky Mountains, serving as a border between Tennessee and North Carolina. The AT serves as a backbone to which several major Smokies hiking trails connect. Visitors to the Smokies can enjoy less challenging lengths of the Trail that are accessible from a few of the hiking trails that connect to the AT. One popular approach is to park at the Newfound Gap parking area (where you can also visit the memorial where Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains National Park). From the parking area, you can hike modest portions both north and south on the Trail. One popular destination is north to Charlies Bunion. From Charlies Bunion, fire clearings above steep mountain slopes afford spectacular views to peaks and valleys below.
The excitement of skiing can be enjoyed at Ober Gatlinburg in the winter. Eight slopes are serviced by two quad and one double chairlifts. A snowmaking system blankets 100 percent of the slopes. Rental equipment, including skis and snowboards, is available.
Dixie Stampede – Enjoy a delicious 4-course feast and be dazzled by a horse-racing, whip-cracking, wagon-busting good time complete with the North/South rivalry. Get there an hour early and enjoy the pre-show in the Dixie Belle non-alcoholic Saloon! 1-800-356-1676
Dollywood – There is plenty of entertainment here for all ages… over 40 live shows daily, rides, attractions, and more than 25 craft showcases. Evenings are filled with dazzling performances by popular artists for an additional cost. For tickets or information call (865) 428-9488
The Comedy Barn – America’s funniest family variety show! We feature nationally known comedians, magicians, jugglers and “Arnold the Mind Reading Pig”! Reservations suggested and Kids are free! (865) 428-5222
The Smith Family Theater – The Smokies best known , homegrown family of entertainers are back on the stage! Charlie , Jim , and Charlie Bob Smith- three guys who have been fan favorites since they first appeared on the area music scene in the 1980’s are back in their very own venue , the brand new Smith Family Theater. Long time fans and newcomers alike are in for a STANDOUT musical experience ! For reservations call (865) 429-8100.