Pigeon Forge is the ideal location for a family getaway. From white water rafting and hiking, to Dollywood and numerous shows, there’s something for everyone. Pigeon Forge is located right off of Interstate 40, positioning the town within a day’s drive or less away from two-thirds of the country. As a popular vacation destination for families and couples, traffic on the main road can be an absolute nightmare. Conquering the legendary Pigeon Forge traffic is no easy feat. But with a bit of planning, forward thinking, and determination, you can beat the rush.
Avoid Traveling During Peak Seasons and Times of the Day
Pigeon Forge is home to car shows, events, gigantic cabins for reunions and weddings, and so much more. With so much always going on, certain times throughout the week and throughout the year can mean extremely hectic traffic.
The busiest times for Pigeon Forge traffic include:
- Major Holidays — Fourth of July week/weekend, winter holidays, Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, and spring breaks draw an enormous amount of traffic to Pigeon Forge.
- Car Shows — Car shows such as the Spring Rod Run, Fall Rod Run, Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion and more call Pigeon Forge home throughout the year.
- Parades — Who doesn’t love a good parade? While they are fun to see, they are not fun to navigate around. Some of the largest Pigeon Forge parades include Dolly Parton’s Homecoming Parade and the 4th of July parade.
- After 3:00 pm on Fridays — This is around the time that families and couples will flock to Pigeon Forge for a weekend getaway.
- Between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm on Sundays — During this time, the weekend vacationers have checked out of their hotel room, cabin, or lodge and are all heading in the same direction: home.
Avoid traveling during these busy times of the day and year and you’ll be all set for an amazing Pigeon Forge vacation.
Navigate Pigeon Forge in the Morning or at Night
Traffic throughout the greater Pigeon Forge area tends to be the worst during the afternoons and early evenings. During this time, families are traveling to and from their attractions all across the town. To avoid this, plan to drive during the morning and nighttime hours.
If possible, plan activities within close proximity of one another to avoid traveling long distances through Pigeon Forge traffic.
Plan to Visit Pigeon Forge During the Week
Since the majority of vacationers will choose to conveniently travel on the weekends, you can avoid the influx of cars by planning to visit Pigeon Forge on a weekday. Keep in mind that during peak seasons such as spring breaks, winter breaks, and summer, weekdays may be just as busy as a weekend.
Choose to Travel to Pigeon Forge During an Off-Season
Although short, Pigeon Forge does have an off-season. From New Year’s Day to Easter, Pigeon Forge can seem like a ghost town! It’s hard to believe, but true.
If you can fit a visit to Pigeon Forge in during these months, you might drive down the Parkway without every touching the breaks (except at stoplights and stop signs, of course).
Two years ago, I took advantage of a January weekend in Pigeon Forge. Not once did I hit a bit of traffic.
Use Traffic Shortcuts
As with any town, Pigeon Forge is filled with shortcuts and roads that the locals keep secret. Use these to your advantage!
One bit of advice is to drive down Veterans Boulevard when possible. This road connects Parkway at traffic light #8 with Dolly Parton Parkway, which skips about 7 traffic lights. When you learn just how congested Pigeon Forge traffic gets, skipping 7 traffic lights can be a real time saver.
Locals also have a “secret” traffic tip — take advantage of Highway 441, also known as Chapman Highway. Once on this route, there are back roads that will lead you to all of the main points of the Pigeon Forge Parkway. Chapman Highway also connects to other shortcuts such as Veterans Boulevard.
Your Lodging Option Also Affects Traffic
To avoid as much traffic as humanly possible, try staying in less popular (but equally beautiful and convenient) areas such as Wears Valley, the Upper Middle Creek Road cabins by Dollywood, or Sevierville. Look for hotels and cabins in these areas to skip as much traffic as possible.
Research, Plan, Repeat
The ultimate tip for avoiding Pigeon Forge traffic is to plan ahead and stay up to date on the traffic patterns. If you do your research and take advantage of these travel tips, you’ll have no problem navigating Pigeon Forge.