Where to Stay in the Smokies - Part Two
I received some email regarding my placing Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge rather
high on the recommended places to stay list. Most were to do with the heavy
traffic both places get at times. I expected that but I should have gone on an
elaborated more on the subject.
Gatlinburg is located in the approximate center of th Great Smoky Mountains
National Park on the Tennessee side. The only road that crosses the park
and provides access to other important roads goes straight through
Gatlinburg or as I will mention soon, around it. If you enter the park from
Wears Valley or Townsend you have a long distance to travel over winding
roads to get to the only road that reaches the higher elevations and the only
road that crosses the park. They are also the only two cities that are
directly accessible from the interstate system.
If you travel straight down the main highway through Pigeon Forge anytime after
noon in the afternoon or evening, especially on weekends, you will find the traffic
heavy - sometimes very heavy. That is a definite sign as to how folks rank
Pigeon Forge in terms of popularity. Fairly recently a road was added,
through the downtown part of Seveirville making it much easier to get
through the small town from the interstate. Very recently a bypass
highway, Veterans Parkway, was finished whereas you can completely
go around the main drag through Pigeon Forge. Veterans is rarely busy
because so few know about it. I suggest you get a current road map or GPS
navigator and you want have any problems traveling through Pigeon Forge if
your only motive is to get to the park. When you enter the Spur, as it is
called, that goes from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg, you can bypass the
busy main strip. Just before reaching Gatlinburg, take a right on the by-pass
that goes around town directly into the park. It is a nice drive and rarely busy.
So, you don't have to go through but very little of Pigeon Forge and none of
Gatlinburg in order to get to the park if that is your immediate destination.
However, all that said, just be advised that there is more for you and your
family to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg than everything else
surrounding the Smokies all put together. There are more cabins for rent,
motels to stay at and places to eat (including numerous fast food stops) than
anywhere near the Smokies.
I guess most folks don't realize how you can easily by-pass Pigeon Forge and
Gatlinburg to get directly to the park. After all, most folks don't want to do that. If
you only want to reach the best places to fish in the Smokies, the route
around both cities is the best way to get there.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh