A picturesque water wheel and mill illuminated under the Pigeon Forge night sky, creating a serene and enchanting scene.

Have you started planning your yearly vacations yet? If you’re considering heading to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, add a trip to Pigeon Forge to your itinerary!

This mountain town is bustling with things to do and attractions to see. You could spend weeks trying all the delicious restaurants, taking in the shows at Dollywood, or simply sitting at your cabin overlooking the sweeping views. 

As you plan, you might be curious about the best time to visit Pigeon Forge. Should you come in the spring, when the trees are budding and outdoor events are ramping up? Or, is it better to travel here in the cooler months, when there’s a chill in the air and ski resorts are open and ready? 

Here’s a quick hint: There’s no wrong time to visit Pigeon Forge. It is a year-round destination, offering something for everyone to enjoy in every season. Let’s look at what you can expect when you come during different times of the year!

Spring: Pleasant Temperatures and Lots of Local Events

Visiting Tennessee in the springtime just makes sense. The mountains still feel fresh and cool, but there’s an undeniable warmth. This makes it a great time to visit some of the city’s most acclaimed outdoor attractions!

Of course, one of the must-see spots while you’re here will always be Dollywood. The top tourist destination in Pigeon Forge, this family-friendly amusement park offers something for all ages. Plan to spend at least a few days here taking in all there is to see and do, including:

  • Taking a 20-minute train ride on the Dollywood Express
  • Riding Big Bear Mountain, the park’s longest ride
  • Going whitewater rafting on the Smoky Mountain River Rampage
  • Walking through the replica of Dolly Parton’s two-room childhood home
  • Watching the Wings of America Birds of Prey show

These are only a few of the things to enjoy at Dollywood. There are also many eateries and shops on the grounds, not to mention an always-evolving calendar of events. If you visit the park in April, you can enjoy the annual Flower and Food Festival, which comes alive with thousands of flowers designed into towering sculptures!

Pigeon Forge hosts various other outdoor events throughout the season, including antique car shows, parades, and more. One local favorite is the Music in the Mountains Spring Parade, which showcases the signature music of the Great Smoky Mountains. Bring a picnic, sit outside, and take in shows from local marching bands, visiting musicians, theater performers, and others.

Aerial photo of the Pigeon Forge cityscape featuring tall buildings and a meandering river

Summer: Water Parks, Hikes, and Off-Roading

Planning a Tennesse trip during the summer? This is a great time to get away and enjoy the city’s sights, sounds, and tastes! One of our favorite tips is to head out early, before the sun gets too high, and enjoy a mountain hike. 

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to more than 800 miles of trails, including ones that end in sweeping scenes, like Laurel Falls or Abram Falls. These interactive park trail maps provide routes, campgrounds, and other information. 

Are you unsure about heading out unaccompanied? No problem. Many adventure companies offer guided hikes, nature tours, and other outdoor adventures, including cavern treks, horseback riding, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rides, and more!

If the temperatures start to soar, you can always return to your car and take the crew to cool off at a local waterpark. In addition to Dollywood’s Splash Country, other nearby favorites include Soaky Mountain Waterpark, Country Cascades Waterpark Resort, and Wild Bear Falls Water Park in Gatlinburg. There are also many museums, art galleries, and movie theaters nearby, allowing you to slip into a cool, air-conditioned room for a few glorious hours!

Another way to chill out is to visit an indoor snow park! Opened in 2018, Pigeon Forge Snow is the country’s first indoor snow park, featuring an incredible 15 lanes of snow tubing and a massive, snow-covered play area for the entire family to enjoy.

Fall: Festivals Galore

Aah. There’s nothing quite like fall in Pigeon Forge. When the leaves begin to change colors and the humidity levels drop, you’ll want to spend every second of daylight enjoying the outdoors. 

Whether in Pigeon Forge, or nearby Gatlinburg and Townsend; the Smoky Mountains are full of outdoor festivals during this time of the year. A few local favorites include: 

  • The Bear-Varian Fall Festival in Gatlinburg 
  • The Dollywood Harvest Festival
  • The Annual Rotary Club Craft Fair
  • The Townsend Fall Heritage Festival
  • The Fall Festival at Ober Mountain

Check the city’s events calendar for ideas that align with your scheduled vacation dates. When you aren’t walking around, browsing the wares, and tasting the treats at an outdoor event, make reservations at some of the top Pigeon Forge restaurants! The fall is an ideal time to eat outdoors, enjoying a juicy hamburger, or a heaping plate of barbecue as you people-watch and take in the beautiful views. 

Looking for something to do when the sun goes down? In autumn, thousands of jack-o-lanterns light up Dollywood for the park’s annual Great Pumpkin LumiNights! Take a family picture by the 40-foot-tall Pumpkin Tree or stroll through Wildwood Grove and take in the dazzling sunflowers!

Winter: Ski Adventures, Shows, and Cozy Cabins

When the snow starts to fall, there are still plenty of things to do in and around Pigeon Forge. Driving around the city and taking in the dazzling holiday lights is an adventure in itself, but there are many other things to do during this time of year!

Start with the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights, which runs from mid-November to mid-February. This immersive tour takes you through gorgeous scenes featuring more than five million lights! When it’s time to stretch your legs, you can always head to one of the many retail centers for some first-rate shopping.

If skiing is more your thing, try Ober Mountain Adventure Park and Ski Area in nearby Gatlinburg. This premier ski resort on the Tennessee side of the Smokies offers 10 slopes, snow tubing, and lessons for all ages. In the spring, it turns into a downhill biking trail!

While you’re at Ober Mountain, remember to check out these other fixtures:

  • Mountain Coaster
  • Alpine Slide
  • Indoor ice arena
  • Ice bumper cars
  • Scenic chairlift
  • Family play area

Of course, there’s nothing like coming back to a cozy cabin after a long day on the slopes! Discover some of our top local rentals here. 

If you’re planning to visit Dollywood on your trip, you can’t miss the park’s Smoky Mountain Christmas event. Recognized as the best festival in America for more than a decade, it showcases millions of lights and promises fun for all ages. Special scenes to discover include the lights at Glacier Ridge, the Christmas tree light show at The Plaza at Wilderness Pass, night rides on your favorite roller coasters, and the northern lights display!

If it’s too chilly to walk outdoors, you can also head inside to check out some of the city’s many holiday shows! Some of the top-rated ones to check out include:

Before heading home, check out more hikes around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! The park is open all year, and the crowds are smaller during the colder months. This makes it a great time to get outdoors and enjoy nature’s calm, tranquil spirit! Before planning your excursion, check out potential road and trail closures (due to weather conditions).

Planning Your Pigeon Forge Trip

As you can see, there’s no wrong time to visit our beautiful city! However, it does help to think about some of the activities you might want to do once you arrive. To start, consider the ages of the people in your party. 

If you’re traveling with a bigger group or have smaller children, look for activities and events that appeal to all ages. Some of our top recommendations include:

  • Mini-golf
  • Museums
  • Movies
  • Live shows
  • Amusement parks, waterparks, and arcades

Are you looking for a way to save a little money on all your excursions? We offer exclusive discounts on some of Pigeon Forge’s top attractions, so check out our coupon page. This way, you’ll have a little left over for all that shopping you plan to do!

This Is the Best Time to Visit Pigeon Forge

Whether you’re planning to travel in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, the best time to visit Pigeon Forge is right now! This city offers a huge variety of indoor and outdoor events and attractions. Make sure to allocate enough time on your trip to see as much as possible. At MobileBrochure, we’re dedicated to helping you find the best things to see and do at your vacation destination. If you want more inspiration and ideas as you plan your trip, check out our helpful guides for the Great Smoky Mountains!

Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.

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