How To Spend A Weekend In Pigeon Forge

Enjoy The Great Outdoors At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Just 10 miles from Pigeon Forge is the most-visited national park in the country, according to the National Park Service. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park stretches more than 500,000 acres over two states (Tennessee and North Carolina).

During your stay in Pigeon Forge, you’ll be able to visit it as often as you’d like, trying out a different activity each time. Hiking is popular, and there are more than 850 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to extreme. Or stay in your car and take one of the many scenic drives the park offers. The Cades Cove Loop, an 11-mile one-way loop, is under 30 miles from the entrance of the park and features views of wildflowers and wildlife (black bears, deer, turkeys, coyotes, and more).

As you explore the park, be sure to stop at one of the visitor centers to grab a map and guide and to ask a park ranger any questions you might have.

Boat, Swim, Or Fish At A Local Lake

There are two lakes near Pigeon Forge for when you’re ready for a break from the mountains.

Douglas Lake, located about 30 miles north of Pigeon Forge, is great for boating, swimming, and fishing. The lake has several marinas where you can rent pontoon boats, kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and even tubes. Douglas Lake is the top spot in Tennessee for fishing for crappie, but it also has largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish, among others.

The lake boasts more than 500 miles of shoreline, but the majority of it is privately owned. There are, however, a few swimming beaches around the lake, including one at the Douglas Dam Headwater Campground, one at Sevier County Park, and one at Dandridge Municipal Park. Gator Point is another swimming hole and is the closest one to Pigeon Forge.

Cherokee Lake offers a lot of the same amenities and is about an hour’s drive from Pigeon Forge. The lake has 400 miles of shoreline and provides lots of fishing opportunities, mostly for crappie and bass. Several marinas around the lake offer boat rentals, and most of them have a snack bar or restaurant where you can eat overlooking the water. There are also public picnic areas and campgrounds. The Cherokee Dam Campground has a swimming beach, a public boat ramp, and a playground.

Bird-watchers flock to both lakes in search of birds like the great blue heron and the great egret. A hidden gem at Douglas Lake is the Rankin Bottoms Wildlife Refuge. Located at the north end of the lake, this area is picturesque and never crowded.

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