Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are popular fall destinations because of their cool, comfortable weather, beautiful scenery of changing leaves, stirring wildlife, and many fun festivals and fairs. It’s a great time to hit the 800+ miles of trails, stroll along the Parkway, spend some time relaxing at a cozy cabin, or just explore the area’s attractions and shops.
But all this fall fun means you won’t have these charming mountain towns all to yourself. Fall is one of the busiest times of the year here, and with all the good comes some possible frustration as well. Traffic can get pretty crazy in the autumn months, jamming up the roads and putting a kink in your plans.
Lucky for you, we’ve navigated these roads many times, in spring, summer, fall, and winter. We’ve made our way up winding mountain roads and through the excitement of the downtown Parkway. So we’ve put together some tips for getting around downtown (Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge) without giving in to road rage.
Read on for 5 simple ways you can avoid pulling out your hair while making your way through traffic in the Great Smoky Mountains this fall. All that’s left is to finish planning your Smoky Mountain cabin escape and have fun!
- Take the trolley. Whether it’s the Gatlinburg Trolley or the Pigeon Forge “Fun Time” Trolley, hopping aboard can save you money and time. It’s cost-effective with all-day $2 rides and 1-way tickets even cheaper. On top of that, you’ll forget the stress of trying to drive in traffic and find parking at each place you’re wanting to visit. It’s also a fun local thing to check off your bucket list. Just hop on the trolley and relax – and take in the views!
- Stock up on snacks (and drinks). We’ve all seen the Snickers commercials: you’re not you when you’re hungry. Don’t get caught stuck in traffic – or bad weather – without snacks and water to keep you going. Especially if you’re traveling with kids, pack non-perishable snacks and plenty of water (and maybe a cooler of fruit and cheese) to prevent meltdowns when your travel plans get a bit postponed. On that same note, pack fun car games (like a Magna Doodle, iPad with shows, or music for sing-a-longs) to keep the whole car happy no matter how long you’re driving around.
- Check ahead of time. Before you hit the road for vacation, do a little research. Check the National Park Service’s website for up-to-date information on road closures and more for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Or you can call 865.436.1200 for weather and road info. You’ll avoid planning a drive along a closed road, which will make your getaway that much easier. And besides the traffic, you’ll get an idea of what to pack knowing what weather’s ahead for the week.
- Take a walk. Pleasant fall weather is one of the primary reasons so many people flock to the Great Smoky Mountains that time of year. So why not get outside and enjoy it a bit? Instead of driving everywhere, throw on some comfortable shoes and take a walk. Get some fresh air and see everything up close and personal via a stroll along the Parkway. Walking brings more perks, too. You’ll probably come across some places you wouldn’t have noticed while driving, and you can get a few more steps on your Fitbit!
- Slow down a bit. Although you should watch your speed while driving around, that’s not what we’re referring to here. We’re talking about slowing down your day so you aren’t in such a rush to get places. Just plan a couple things for each day and enjoy them. That way if your plans are altered because of heavy traffic, you won’t be so stressed. Remember to be flexible with your schedule for a more enjoyable vacation.
Smoky Mountain Escapes
Vacation is about relaxing, right? We want you to be able to sit back, kick up your feet with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and slow down a bit. That’s why we’ve made planning (and enjoying) your vacation to the Smoky Mountains easy. Step 1: go online and browse our cabins. You can search by amenity, location, and cabin size to find the perfect fit. Or you can give us a call at 800.684.7865 to let one of our reservation specialists help you. Step 2: chat with us online while you search. We can answer any questions about the cabins you’re checking out. Step 3: book online or over the phone. Step 4: come enjoy your vacation!
We even have a blog that’s loaded with helpful information, from travel and packing tips to holiday recipes and local event details. It will make planning what you’ll do on vacation even simpler. And many of our cabins offer free Wi-Fi, so you can even do some of your planning once you get here.