Many of Pigeon Forge's major attractions are concentrated around the Parkway, where you'll find a large selection of hotels, restaurants, shopping opportunities, water parks, amusement parks, and theme restaurants. Within a short drive you'll find the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and its many camping opportunities.
Inside Pigeon Forge--The Parkway is home to or the route to many of Pigeon Forge's major attractions, including Dollywood, which has had a tremendous impact on the community. Appropriately, the quintessential Pigeon Forge experiences revolve around a trip to various destinations that this East Tennessee native has lent her time, money and talent toward. A navigation note, in general, for Pigeon Forge: Directions and addresses of attractions often include the traffic light number in closest proximity.
Most people who come to Pigeon Forge do so because of its remarkably high concentration of entertainment and amusements in a relatively small area. Dollywood, 1020 Dollywood Ln. (tel. 865/428-9488; www.dollywood.com), more than any others, has had the biggest impact on the community, pumping more than $120 million over ten years into various Dolly Parton-themed business ventures. You can easily spend a day or two at the amusement park, which recently expanded and added 10 new rides for over two dozen attractions. Attractions include roller coasters -- the wooden Thunderhead is a favorite -- daring water rides, a carousel and live stage shows. In addition to themed shops, festivals and special events, demonstrations of old-time crafts such as glass blowing and blacksmithing and take place daily. As to be expected, the park also sells just about any type of festival/carnival/outdoor food imaginable, from barbecue to funnel cake to frosted nuts to ham 'n' beans. At the new Dollywood Splash Country, 2146 Middle Creek Rd. (tel.865/428-9488; www.dollywoodsplashcountry.com), built in 2001, there are 23 water slides, a 25,000 square-foot wave pool, special areas for children, and a lazy river. One-day admission to Dollywood: Child (ages 4-11) $32.35; regular (ages 12-59) $43.50, senior (ages 60+) $40.15. Season passes are available and combination passes for both parks. Splash Country: regular $69.15; child $53.50; senior $69.15. Hours vary depending on the time of year.
The Old Mill, located on the Little Pigeon River at traffic light #7 (tel.865-428-0771; www.old-mill.com), is a slice of Pigeon Forge history and proves the town is not completely a theme park wonderland. The mill has been in continuous operation since 1830 and was the sole source of electricity for the city until 1930. The 24-foot high structure is one of Pigeon Forge's most photographed landmarks and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can tour the facility and buy a variety of products made onsite, such as corn meal, grits and flour; pottery is also for sale. Snacks and light fare are available at the Old Mill Bakery Cafe (such as artisan breads), and Old Mill Restaurant.