Thursday, July 26, 2007 4:58 AM
Hi there, I'm heading down to the Pigeon Forge, TN area Sat thru Tues, I'll have two full days, one day I'm hitting Dollywood, the other day I'm looking to explore the area. Just was wondering if anyone here have any suggests for must see/do places/attractions in that area. Also, any suggests for Dollywood, such as best place to eat, must see shows. and so forth.. Thanks!
Thursday, July 26, 2007 6:47 AM
Just got back from a great trip to that area and posted my trip report on Dollywood here. As far as Dollywood goes, if you want to ride Mystery Mine get there early and line up for it first. It will have a long line for the rest of the day. All the food there looked great. My mom saw the shows and her favorites were the gospel show, the 50's/60's show, and Kinfolks. She didn't see them all though. No way to in just one day. You will love Dollywood.
Spend some time in Gatlinburg, or stay there on the strip if you can. The Sky Lift is incredible, especially at night. It's worth the $12 bucks, trust me. Do this instead of Ober Gatlinburg's tram. Try to do it after dark though. The Brass Lantern was our favorite restaurant there. Not too expensive and all the food was really good. Log Cabin Pancake House was great for breakfast too.
One of the best drives through the park is right in the middle of Gatlinburg. Historic Nature Trail Dr. at traffic light #8. It's a quick 6-7 mile drive through the edge of the park along a winding, mountainside road with lots of points of interest and places to stop and take short trail hikes if you want. You end up right back in Gatlinburg at the end.
The drive to Newfound Gap and down to Cherokee, NC has some of the best vistas of the park and Cherokee has a Harrah's casino. If you don't have time to go all the way to Cherokee at least drive to Newfound Gap at the state line for the awesome views.
Hope you have a great time in the mountains. I can't wait to go back.
Thursday, July 26, 2007 8:09 AM
It is a bit of a drive out to Cades Cove (on the western edge of the park) but I think it is worth it. If you go, pack a picnic lunch. There is a self-guided auto tour (pick up a guide for $1 or so before you begin) that takes you around cove. You can stop at various buildings (old homes, churches, etc). About halfway around the cove there is a visitor center with restrooms. That is a great spot for the picnic.
The drive Mag was referring to is the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Take that drive either early in the morning or a little before dusk for the best opportunity to see wildlife. On one visit we were about the only folks on the trail and a bear walked out right in front of our car. We followed it quite a way down the mountain.
If you like thrills then there is an alpine slide at the Ober Gatlinburg "amusement park." This is NOT an amusement park, but that is what they call it. To be fair, there are a few "amusements".
Thursday, July 26, 2007 12:12 PM
Not sure if it's even ready yet (kinda doubt it), but for thrillseekers in/around Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, check out the Zorb...
Thursday, July 26, 2007 2:06 PM
I'll keep that Sky Lift in mind, sounds pretty cool. Might check out Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum too. I've been researching the area on and off for the past week or two, there's so much to do down there, which makes it hard to deside what to do.. lol
I have heard of Zorb before, and seen it on TV. Looks fun, but tring to stick with family type attractions tho.
That motor trail sounds cool too, my girlfriend might freak out if a bear comes close to the car, but it'll be kind of funny tho, might be worth going just to see her reaction. lol
Thursday, July 26, 2007 4:10 PM
If you have time Spend a day to hike one of the Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Chimney Tops Trail is a good Challenge. It's about 4 Miles Round Trip and a Good Steep Climb, but the View at the Top will knock your socks Off!
Another Good One is Cove Mountain. You take the same trail you go on for Laural Falls, however after arriving at the Waterfall you go on another 1 1/2 Miles to the mountaintop, where there's an old Fire Tower you can climb to see a wonderful view of the Cades Cove Valley. On the way back down you'll get stares from all of those who stopped at the Falls! (Where did YOU come From?) That's what they wonder as you approach the falls from the Opposite Direction they came from. There will be 50 people at the Falls but you'll be the only one at the mountaintop! ;)
Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next flight!
Thursday, July 26, 2007 5:05 PM
Make sure to do Timber Canyon first (MM, Thunderhead, Timber Tower) and then make your way around to Craftmens Valley. Don't miss Blazing Fury, its a GREAT family coaster but it is inside a building, thats why I missed it on my first trip to the park.
Friday, July 27, 2007 5:02 AM
Gatlinburg will keep you busy for a day. I found Ober Gatlingburg to be a little overrated but the view from that tram is amazing! The Alpine slides are fun.
The Gatlingburg skylift is also awesome! Great views!
Check out the Mysterious Manion in Gatlinburg, especially at night. It's one of the best!
The Ripley's Aquarium is a MUST DO! Words can't really describe it. There is a TON of stuff to keep you busy between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. If you like go karts you will find one every 5 seconds. :) The Nascar Speedpark is kick*** plus they have a kiddy coaster if you are into credits. ;)
You will find just about every type of restaurant imaginable between the two towns. I can't even begin to start recommending one. I would suggest going for something local and staying away from the typical chains. I mean, you are on vacation! :) Most of the local places (especially the BBQ and pancake houses) are cheap and generous! You will find plenty of buffets as well. ;)
I have never seen any of the dinner shows (Dixie Stampede, etc.) but I hear they are great if you are into that.
I would really suggest stopping by one of the many tourism centers off the exit to get a better idea on what to see, or you will find yourself overwhelmed.
Have fun! Say hi to Thunderhead for me!
*** Edited 7/27/2007 9:10:57 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
Friday, July 27, 2007 11:01 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions. the Aquarium is on my must do list for sure. I seen the Nascar speedpark's website, it looks pretty sweet.
I was told by a friend of my mom that I can't leave the area with out stopping at a pancake house. I plan on stopping at one on the way out on tuesday.
Of cousre I'll say hi to Thunderhead, hopefully I'll get a few rides on it. :)
BTW, I will have a ton of pics and video when I return.. ;) *** Edited 7/27/2007 3:01:59 PM UTC by shaggszgn***
Friday, July 27, 2007 12:17 PM
Not sure if you're into X-mas or not, but there's an X-mas store in Pigeon forge that is amazing. Actually, I'd describe it as breath taking.
The Ober Tram is awesome. (when we went, the 12.00 fee gave you unlimited rides for 2days. We must've rode it 15 times.)
You'll have a blast!
Have a safe trip.
Friday, July 27, 2007 1:34 PM
My mom is huge into x-mas stuff (she's going with us), she'll love that store. Is that store right on 441?
Friday, July 27, 2007 1:44 PM
^Here ya go. 441 it is. http://www.christmasplace.com/didyouknow/didyouknow_map.cfm?Lang=
*** Edited 7/27/2007 5:48:16 PM UTC by FLYINGSCOOTER***
Friday, July 27, 2007 2:30 PM
Thanks for the link.
Friday, July 27, 2007 3:45 PM
We are not allowed to visit the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area without going to the Christmas Place.
If you still have the choice, I'd recommend staying in Gatlinburg vs Pigeon Forge. Gatlinburg seems more serene to me and it is certainly more beautiful.
Friday, July 27, 2007 8:41 PM
We booked a cabin at a campground in Pigeon Forge, seems like a nice place.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 9:54 PM
I made it back from my trip, and what a trip it was. We spend most of our free time in Gatinburg, besides the crazy traffic, we loved it. We did the motor trail(which was very cool), the Aquarium, we didn't ride the sky lift, we did the tramway instead, the sky lift was just abit scary for my 8 yr old niece. We also took a drive up into the smoky mountains, we went all the way up to the newfound gap(I think that's what it's called). One of the best 'kicks' of the whole trip was honking my horn thru the tunnels and causing a chain reaction of other cars doing the same thing. lol
BTW, I will try to have a full trip report done by the weekend, I also have a ton of videos and pictures, PM me if you want to see any of them. *** Edited 8/1/2007 1:55:18 AM UTC by shaggszgn***
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 10:09 PM
I was just up there this past weekend. It was the first time I even saw Dollywood having to park cars in the gravel overflow lot. The parking attendant told me this was only the 3rd time this year that it had happened. The place was absolutely packed but only had to wait 1 hour for mystery mine and hit thunderhead about 2:00pm to find about a 25 minute wait . Thunderhead was running great and it had just rained on the track and I rode mystery mine on day 2 of operation and it appeared to be a little more jerky now. Still not too bad and the ride is really nice. I had grilled meatloaf for the first time ever at the backstage restaurant with their wonderful rolls. It was a treat for me!!!!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 10:27 PM
I was at Dollywood on monday (7/30), had a nice parking spot in section B. Longest I've waited was 30 minutes for my first thunderhead ride, the rest of the waits were around 15-20 minutes.