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If you’ve got a peak season trip planned to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, you know that traffic can sometimes be a real pain.  Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to stay out of the majority of the traffic and continue to enjoy your trip to the Smoky Mountains.  Check out our tips for avoiding traffic when you visit Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. 

Traffic on a busy street

Visit During the Week

Weekends can be a busy time in the Smoky Mountains.  With weekends come extra traffic and longer wait times.  Avoid both by visiting during the week. Even during the busy summer and fall months, you can avoid traffic in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge by planning weekday visits to all your favorite attractions and restaurants.  

Visiting during the week has other benefits as well.  Even during busy times, weekday pricing is often less expensive when you’re choosing a vacation cabin or hotel room.  Some companies even offer special weekday deals where you may even get a free night just for choosing a weekday stay!

A 2019 calendar open on a desk.

Visit During the Off Season

July and October are incredibly busy  months in the Smoky Mountains. In July, nearly all children are out of school for the summer and summer holidays seem like a great time to plan a vacation.  In October, the air is getting cooler and the leaves are changing to their vibrant hues.  During the holidays, vacation travels and family reunions abound in the mountains.  Why not plan a winter-time visit instead? By visiting in the winter months you’ll not only see more spectacular mountain views, you’ll see fewer tourists and get a quieter Smoky Mountain Experience.  

Just like visiting during the weekdays, visiting in the off season may also be less expensive.  Off season pricing is much more budget-friendly for visitors to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Unlike decades ago, many businesses in the area are no longer only seasonal.  You can still find plenty to do year-round in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. There is even a mountain ski resort you can visit right up the hillside from Gatlinburg.  

Take the Trolley

It’s understandable that not everyone can visit during a weekday or during the off-season.  When a visit to the Smoky Mountains brings you during a busy event, like a car show or a conference, the best way to avoid traffic is to take the trolley.  At only $3 for an all day pass, the Trolley is a bargain. The schedule runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. midnight every day during peak season. You can even use the Trolley to get to and from Dollywood or Splash Country and avoid paying for parking.  

Check out the FunTime Trolley’s website for hours of operation, routes, and locations where you can catch a ride all day long in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.  

In Gatlinburg, you can ride their trolley system for only $2 for the entire day!  There are more than 100 stops throughout the Gatlinburg area, making riding the trolley convenient and easy.  You can even use the trolley to visit the Great Smoky Mountains! Take the tan line to the popular Sugarlands Visitor Center, Laurel Falls Trail, and historic Elkmont.   If you’d rather get that unique souvenir you can’t find anywhere else, the yellow line goes to the historic Arts & Crafts Community known as The Glades.  

Check out this video about how you can take the trolley to avoid traffic in Gatlinburg:

Veterans Boulevard

If you’re not looking to get right into the middle of town, taking Veterans Boulevard can help you avoid traffic in Pigeon Forge.  If you’re coming in town from Highway 66 at exit 407 or off Highway 411 from exit 432, Veterans Boulevard may be your best option. Veterans Boulevard parallels the Pigeon Forge Parkway and can take you in to town at stoplight #8.  By utilizing Veterans Boulevard, you can still access Dollywood and Splash Country. Why not rent a cabin near Dollywood and not only avoid that Pigeon Forge traffic, but maybe even catch a fireworks show from your very own porch every night!

Teaster Lane

If you need to travel through Pigeon Forge to reach your destination, you’ve got an alternative to the main Parkway.  

Running from stoplight #2 all the way to Veterans Boulevard, you can take Teaster Lane and get in to Pigeon Forge at stoplights #2, #2A, #3, and #4.  It also may be the easiest way for you to access The Island during times of high traffic.

In 2019, new development is underway on Teaster Lane as well.  The Mountain Mile and Tower Shops began construction with a drive-in style movie theater called August Moon in the works.  Check out all the new attractions you can visit in 2019 and 2020 over on our travel guide

Stay in Wears Valley Cabins

Want to avoid the traffic and stay in the mountains?  Book a Wears Valley Cabin with American Patriot Getaways!  By booking a cabin in Wears Valley, you’ll stay on the quiet side of the Smoky Mountains, but will be only a handful of miles away from Pigeon Forge on Highway 321.  Of course you can access Highway 321 from Pigeon Forge, but it can also be reached from Maryville, TN via I-40 and I-140 or from I-75.  

Think staying in Wears Valley doesn’t sound very exciting? There are still lots of local shops and restaurants to visit in Wears Valley.  Take a scenic drive on the newly finished Foothills Parkway extension and take in a gorgeous sunset or two.  

Roundtop Mountain overlooking Wears Valley

Stay in Douglas Lake Cabins

Want to have the mountain views, but not go in to town at all?  A Douglas Lake cabin will fit your vacation plans nicely.  Not only will you have a beautiful cabin without any mountain driving required, you’ll be close to the lake!  Many of our lake cabins have access to community boat ramps as well, so bring all your lake toys with you.  

Staying at a Douglas Lake cabin means you’ll be closer to Sevierville.  Accessing the Smokies is easy from Sevierville, and you’ll be able to get around the traffic altogether by utilizing state roads or even I-40 to take alternative routes to Gatlinburg.  Sevierville also has some really great dining options, too.  

Douglas Lake as seen from Grand View at Douglas Lake

Now that you have all the insider information, getting around traffic in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg couldn’t be easier!  Your trip to the Smokies will be smooth and simple with our tips and tricks. Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest area information!

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