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Old 05-06-2024, 06:56 PM   #1
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Travel to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

We are headed to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in August. After reviewing the thread from back in 2019 I thought I would seek an update. What advice on the area, travel with my 3781RL, and what campgrounds to look at? Headed to Fall Creek Falls State Park after - any route advice?
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Old 05-07-2024, 08:13 AM   #2
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Great to hear about your planned trip. I grew up about 45 minutes from that area and still try to get back and camp there every year. In fact, we're camped in Pigeon Forge this week.

What were you wanting to visit locally on your trip? Pigeon Forge has a lot of outlet malls, bungee jumps, go-carts, T-shirt shops, etc, and of course Dollywood, it also has some very nice restaurants and a plethora of RV parks. Gatlinburg has a lot of small shops and many very nice restaurants. There is also the Gatlinburg craft loop that has many potters, weavers, painters that are members of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild. You have to have juried work to become a member; they are some truly talented people in what they do. Gatlinburg also has a plethora of RV parks. The entire area is loaded with pancake houses and craft distilleries.

The biggest difference for an RVer (in my opinion) is accessibility. Pigeon Forge is an easy drive with exception of traffic and there is parking almost anywhere you want to go. There are very few places in Gatlinburg that have parking, There are pay by the day parking lots that aren't conducive to big dually pick ups, where you can walk the town, or there is a trolley system that even goes to some of the RV parks.

If you haven't made reservations yet, you might be limited only being about 90 days out. I would highly recommend not coming the last full week in August leading into Labor Day weekend, it will be extremely crowded then.

As far as RV parks in Pigeon Forge, our favorite is Pine Mountain. It's about 2 blocks off the parkway enough so it's quiet. It's fairly small (62 spaces) most sites have a mature tree canopy. There are several back in sites along a very pretty stream. There's also a new Camp Margaritaville park on the east end of town. It's very well laid out and maintained but all the trees are newly planted and there's no shade. It's also very expensive. There are several parks along the Wears Valley Road area; Honeysuckle Meadows supposedly has the largest sites around. Another one I want to try is Up The Creek, it also has large sites and there is no bath house or laundry and they keep their rates lower because of that. These are only a few of the parks in the area, but chose them because I've stayed at some and looked into others.

The parks on Wears Valley are close to Cades Cove if that is on your to-see list. The other parks I mentioned are on the eastern end of Pigeon Forge closer to Gatlinburg. It's only about 5 miles away, but traffic can make it seem like 50 sometimes if you go all the way through Pigeon Forge.

There are a number of RV parks along E. Parkway in Gatlinburg; I've stayed at Smoky Bear, it's a fairly small park with good shade cover, Twin Creek is another highly rated park along that highway 321. There are obviously many other RV parks.

If you plan to spend time in the National Park, Gatlinburg is closer; if you stay in Pigeon Forge, there is a Gatlinburg by-pass to get to the park.

There are a number of RV parks in Sevierville, which is a town between I-40 and Pigeon Forge; I've stayed at one of those out of necessity once and would not advise staying in Sevierville if you don't have to. It's a long drive to anything.

Let me know when you choose an RV park, if you are going to one in Gatlinburg, it will determine which exit you take off I-40. The thing you must avoid is pulling your rig through downtown Gatlinburg.

As far as driving to Fall Creek Falls, it's about 150 miles west on I-40. There's a bypass around Knoxville but once you get back on I-40, there's about a 20 mile stretch west of Knoxville where I-40 and I-75 run together. Seemingly that stretch is very crowded most any time of day.
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Old 05-08-2024, 04:19 PM   #3
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Wow, thanks for taking so much time and for the very valuable information. We are meeting tomorrow with the other couple that will be traveling with us. They have a Montana as well. We will use your information and confirm our plans and I will make reservations on Friday. Then I will probably have more questions!!
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Old 05-09-2024, 06:28 AM   #4
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We too have a 3781 and are currently at The Ridge. It is one of our favorite campgrounds and offers two pools, stamped concrete pads and all the elements of a true Resort. It and Anchor Down near I40 are our favorites in the area. If you like biking, Cades Cove is an 11 mile loop and on Wednesdays it is bikes and hikers only. We have ridden it 5 time in the last 2 weeks. We counted 34 bears on our best day.

Remember, this is a tourist trap area and in August the traffic will be terrible. Allow time for everything you do. We come late April and early May after spring break and before school lets out. You might consider “liking” sites on Facebook that will offer great insights and things to enjoy while here.

There is a new campground opening July 1st near Dandridge, Maple Grove. It will offer many nice amenities and has 300 sites. The downsize is it is 30 miles to Gatlinburg.
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Old 05-09-2024, 09:34 AM   #5
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If you have any flexibility in your scheduling; I would like to make some suggestions. Zinnman is correct, this place is very crowded in August. If you could wait until mid-September after Labor Day, it thins out quite a bit. All schools are back in session and the last holiday of summer is over and people who still work are back at work.

Forget the month of October completely; I would guess that every RV park, hotel, cabin, and condo are already booked for October. This is the month when the leaves start changing color in the park and the place is overrun with "leaf lookers". It's really a beautiful time, but extremely crowded.

Traditional wisdom is that the third week in October is peak foliage color; with longer summers that now seems to have moved into early November. If you look at the first couple of weeks in November, I think you'll find good availability then too. The "high season", AKA expensive season begins in October and will probably still be high into November. This is also a busy place on Thanksgiving.

I was going to mention the heat and humidity in August, but those would be wasted words on a Texan!
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Old 05-10-2024, 07:28 AM   #6
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We prefer Townsend "the quiet side of the Smokies". Easy access to Cades Cove, not a bad drive to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg if you want to take in some of the sights and activities in that area. Big Meadow Campgrounds in Townsend is our favorite but there are a number of other campgrounds there as well.
I see you are signed up for the Fall Rally in Goshen, look forward to meeting there!
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Old 05-12-2024, 02:58 PM   #7
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In 2012 around April or middle of May we went to Gatlin and it wasn't crowded. We went again in 2019 as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and The first of October. The traffic was HORRIBLE and took an hour in a traffic jam to get a place to park. It might have been a weekend, I can't remember. Very very crowded. Not recommend October.
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Old 05-12-2024, 07:34 PM   #8
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We now live in the area and there is a very nice little RV park in Pigeon Forge called Riverbend. It is family operated and very clean. That was our go to RV park when visiting the area. The rates are low because they do not have all of the extra amenities like a pool etc. I would highly recommend them.
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Old 05-13-2024, 03:14 AM   #9
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I would also recommend avoiding any weekends that have a car show in Pigeon Forge. We went last fall it was the fall rod run. Although it was neat to see all of the old cars, it made it almost impossible to drive around and there was little parking available at any of the stores or restaurants on the main road.
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