The Best and Worst Times To Visit Pigeon Forge

Great Smoky Mountains

Pigeon Forge, a tourist favorite in Tennessee, is known for its array of fun attractions and great entertainment. Travelers stop by from all over to experience the pleasant scenery and unique atmosphere. While there is no bad time to come and enjoy the Smoky Mountains’ beauty, there are peak and off-peak times throughout the year.

These could be based on the weather, the events in the city, or even school holidays. Of course, when you’d like to visit the Smokies depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation. But to help you plan your trip better, we’ve outlined the best and worst times to visit Pigeon Forge.

The Best Times to Visit Pigeon Forge

In the Spring:

The mild and comfortable weather makes it a great time to enjoy all the outdoor activities. Whether you want to spend your evening ziplining through the trees or hiking to a waterfall, the Spring is perfect for all your adventures.

Also, a few fun events are already happening in the town, like the Spring Rod Run and the Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass. In addition, flowers like the delicate slipper orchids and the colorful rhododendrons start to bloom, making the drive into the Smokies even more beautiful.

In the Summer:

Summertime sees an influx of tourists, and for a good reason. The warmth invites everyone to come out and enjoy all the fun Pigeon Forge has to offer. You can plan a day at Dollywood, cool off in one of the city’s many waterparks, or take a scenic bike ride. There are also several great events like the Kidsfest and the Patriot Festival.

However, large crowds also mean a shortage of good accommodations, so it is wise to book hotels in Pigeon Forge in advance.

In the Fall:

Who doesn’t love the changing hues of leaves in the Fall? The Smoky Mountains come alive with color, making it a very popular time to visit. While the weather is still mild, you may want to bring a jacket for the evenings.

The leaves start to change in mid-September and peak around the beginning of November. There are red, orange, yellow, and even some purple ones! Many people come to see the leaves, but there are also popular events like Oktoberfest and the Craftsmen’s Fair. These events revolve around the arts and crafts made in Tennessee.

In Time for Grape Stomping Season:

If you happen to be in Pigeon Forge in late September, you’re in for a treat. That’s when the annual grape stomping season begins! You can watch as grapes are crushed and fermented into wine. And, of course, you can’t leave without trying a glass (or two) of the finished product.

There are also a few no-miss events that take place during this time. The Smoky Mountain Trout Festival celebrates the start of trout season with live music and, you guessed it, trout. The Fall Rod Run is also a popular event that sees over 100,000 people come to Pigeon Forge. Classic cars line the streets, and there’s even a parade.

During the Holiday Season:

Festivities start in Pigeon Forge as early as November and don’t end until the New Year. You can enjoy all sorts of holiday entertainment, like shows, light displays, and even a parade. Dollywood goes all out for Christmas with millions of lights around the park. The Island in Pigeon Forge also becomes a winter wonderland with an ice rink and a giant Christmas tree. And, of course, you can’t forget about New Year’s Eve.

If you plan on being in Pigeon Forge for the holidays, make sure to book your hotel room months before. Thanksgiving weekend is the ideal time to find deals if you’re here for shopping. You can also find some good discounts on hotels and attractions after Christmas.

The Worst Times to Visit Pigeon Forge

In the Winter:

Pigeon Forge is a winter wonderland if you don’t mind the cold. The snow does make for a beautiful scene, but many attractions close down during this season. You’ll also have difficulty getting around as the roads tend to be icy.

If you decide to visit during the winter, we recommend that you stay indoors, where it’s warm and cozy. A few fun events are happening, like the Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights and the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. But overall, tourists tend to stay away during the winter months.

Right After Holidays:

Like any other tourist destination, Pigeon Forge is crowded during the holidays. Christmas and Thanksgiving see the most visitors. There are lights, shows, and festive events happening all over town. However, the town starts to clear out once the holidays are over. And with that, the life and energy go out of the city.

If you can, we recommend avoiding Pigeon Forge right after the holidays. You’ll find that many attractions and shops are closed, and the town feels a bit empty. Dollywood is closed except for a few days in January. So, if you’re looking for a festive and lively atmosphere, stick to visiting during the holidays.

Rod Runs:

The Spring and Fall Rod Runs are two of the biggest events in Pigeon Forge. Unfortunately, the traffic and congestion during these times can be unbearable. In addition, many of the hotels and attractions are booked months in advance.

So, if you’re not planning on attending the Rod Run, we recommend avoiding Pigeon Forge altogether. The best times to visit are before or after the event. That way, you can enjoy the town without all the craziness.

During the Heat Wave:

The days when Spring is transitioning into Summer can be some of the hottest. The humidity levels in the East Tennessee area are already high, so you can only imagine how it feels when the temperatures start to rise. The sweaty weather can be a bit of a turnoff, especially if you’re not used to it.

If you don’t like the heat, we recommend holding off on visiting Pigeon Forge until the weather cools down a bit. The heat usually subsides by late August or early September.

Final Thoughts:

The best times to visit Pigeon Forge depend on your interests and ability to deal with certain weather conditions. If you’re looking for a festive atmosphere, stick to the holidays. But if you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons. And if you’re not a fan of the heat, late summer or early Fall might be your best bet. However, it’s fair to say that no time in Pigeon Forge is disappointing. So, no matter when you come, we hope you enjoy your stay!

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