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Access for Visitors with Special Needs
In Pigeon Forge, Sevierville & Gatlinburg
The Ultimate Guide

special needs swimmer looks up at sevice dog from a swimming pool as service dog leans down to meet him
2 people enjoying a trail in the woods, one person is an electric wheelchair with 2 dogs on leashes walk side by side
group of friends at a table, eating together and having fun

Is Pigeon Forge a Good Place for People with Special Needs?

Also Check out
Cabins with Elevators
Cabins with Roll In Showers
Pet Friendly Cabins Near Dollywood
Excellent Large Cabins for Groups


Super exciting news! 

Let Catalyst Sports know if you are interested in one of their adaptive hikes/outings! 

Great Smoky Mountain Adaptive Hike/Bike | Catalyst Sports

Check out their videos here

I made this list to help empower people who want to come visit the Smoky Mountains but are not sure what to expect because of having a special need.  Knowledge is power!


Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg really have a lot to offer for those special needs. With a little planning, and this guide, I want to help you have fun and make wonderful memories on your trip or vacation.


The Smoky Mountains do not have to be off limits to people who need wheelchair accessible attractions, shows, festivals and dining.


As time tends to change things, please call ahead to confirm these items. 


Feel free to email me at if you find anything that would be helpful to add or delete here. If you have had a great experience somewhere, please send it to my email so we can let everyone know.


Sometimes, you may encounter individuals who are not accommodating, or seem uncaring.  This should be reported to management, and not a reflection upon the business as a whole. On the other hand, IF management has the same bad attitude, then the business should be avoided and feel free to let me know at this site’s email.

Happy people with special needs, group of people, person in wheelchair, disabled group of people, group of animated friends, one person in a wheelchair


Scooter Sales and Rentals can be found in Pigeon Forge at 3536 Parkway.

You might enjoy these books on Accessible Travel by

Christopher Kain,  Candy B. Harrington, and Cory Lee


Wheelchair Friendly Cabins & Resorts

See more like this at

Wheelchair Accessible Cabins in the Smokies

Little Valley Mountain Resort in Walden's Creek is worth checking out. They have an excellent selection of gorgeous wheelchair accessible cabins and amenities like fishing ponds and other accessible fun things to do.  It's also in a beautiful and convenient location so no need to sacrifice anything.

Eagle's View Cabin is a little cabin in beautiful Wears Valley, and has a roll in shower and many features for wheelchair access.  Sleeps 4-5 people. There are tons of amenities including :

pool table, pet friendly, 1st floor master BR, panoramic views off balcony, gas fireplace, close to pool access, flat parking, paved drive, large doorways, and easy reach light switches.

Above The Clouds  This 3BR, 4 Bath cabin can sleep up to 10 people and is also in beautiful Wears Valley.  It has all the features you could want in your Smoky Mountain accessible cabin including 2 roll in showers, ramps, wide doors, under the counter microwave, easy reach light switches, pet friendly, and more. This cabin was made with access in mind.

Sweet Memories is an ADA friendly, 2BR, 2BA in an excellent location close to Dollywood and all the action in Pigeon Forge.  The road to the cabin is excellent, with fireplace, washer dryer, outdoor resort pool, charcoal grill, DVD player, and more. 

Dolly Bear is a 1BR, 1BA adults-only cabin with a roll in shower, great location, great views, downstairs gameroom and pet friendly.  Location is about 6 miles from Gatlinburg and about 5 miles from Pigeon Forge. It's reported to be nice and secluded so if you're looking for privacy and peace, this is it.

Whispering Pines Condos, Located right above the Pigeon Forge Parkway is also just a few miles from Gatlinburg. It's reported to be wheelchair friendly and have elevators.  Great place to see fireworks from The Island on the too!

Club Wyndham Resort is at 308 Collier Drive, Sevierville, located just off the Parkway and all the attractions!  Beautiful mountain views and tons of amenities here.  It is pet friendly with elevators, indoor and outdoor pools, game room, picnic area, mini golf, fitness center, Wi-Fi, kid's playground and more.

Attractions with Reported Good Wheelchair Access

Did you know?

You Can See Accessibility  on Google Maps!

If you open Google Maps on you phone,

Tap your circle icon in the top right,

Tap "Settings"

You will then see "Accessibility Settings"

Slide to the right to turn ON.



Or Check out and Download the App Called "Wheelguide" on in the Google Playstore, Add reviews as you go and help everyone in the process!


  • We Rock the Spectrum, 524 Winfield Dunn Parkway, Sevierville, TN

  • Scenic Helicopter Tours

  • Wine & Shine Walking Tour by Smoky Tours

  • Fun Time Trolleys that run throughout the town ARE wheelchair accessible.

  • The Mountain Mile

  • Hawk Skylift, Wears Valley

  • Cades Cove Riding Stables - I love this one! Hayrides and horse drawn carriages are modified to allow for wheelchair access.

  • Loco Burro Fresh Mexican Cantina, Rooftop Patio and Bar is accessible, with an elevator through Johnny Rockets

  • Pirate's Voyage Dinner and Show, Pigeon Forge

  • Iron Mountain Metal Craft, Old Mill District

  • Old Mill Restaurant and Village

  • Titanic Museum - Can be crowded, but accessible. Elevator at the Grand Staircase available to go up. Bathrooms are wheelchair accessible as well

  • Smoky Mountain Opry- Row "O" has numerous chairs that are removable as to accommodate wheelchairs or scooters. Handicap parking is right next to the side entrance of the theater. Restrooms are spacious and ADA accessible.

  • Parrot Mountain- Wheelchair accessible but not recommended for a rainy day due to steep walks. You will need someone to assist for the steep hills.

  • City of Sevierville All-Inclusive Playground - great for kids

  • RIPLEY’S AQUARIUM- FREE Wheelchair rentals -Get Combo Pass to save $

Ripley's Aquarium also hosts "Sensory Friendly Night at the Aquarium". Call for details.

  • The Island - Excellent Accessibility

  • Smoky Mountain Trout House (1st floor-inquire about downstairs bathroom) Gatlinburg 

  • RIPLEY’S Old MacDonald's Farm Mini Golf - Get Combo Pass to save $

  • Pigeon Forge Riverwalk Greenway

  • Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway - Tram is accessible but not all things at Ober are accessible.- Check website or call for details.

  • Alcatraz East Crime Museum

  • Pigeon Forge Snow - a large, wide, escalator takes you to the top of the slides, but you will need help if you are unable to get in and out of an innertube.

  • Country Tonite Theatre

  • Dolly Parton’s Stampede- Top level is recommended seating for wheelchairs and a table extension can be requested.

  • 3 Bears General Store

  • Wonderworks

  • Grand Majestic Dinner Theatre

  • Tomb Egyptian Adventure

  • GSM Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Wheelchair access but not space for scooters

  • Tanger Outlets Shopping

  • Mountain Mall in Gatlinburg

  • Rainforest Adventures

  • Jayell Ranch

  • Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show - elevator and seating, call ahead for availability

  • Dollywood & Dollywood Splash Country - Dollywood’s Tram is accessible for wheelchairs. Wheelchairs and ECV (electric convenience vehicles) can be rented and reserved ahead of time. Check “Ride Accessibility Center” inside the park-you can get a boarding pass and a park map guide that shows which rides are accessible for you.

Splash Country features Accessibility Tubes (tubes that have built in seats or bottoms and are see-through) and Aquatic Transfer Wheelchairs. (pvc water access wheelchairs that can enter water) Lifeguards are trained to assist with these.  Those with limited mobility can safely enjoy the water with everyone.

Anakeesta - The chondolas are wide enough for wheelchairs so you can ride up to the the summit in a chondola.  As for the rest of the park, some areas are accessible, but not all. The Treetop Skywalk or Observation Tower are not accessible by wheelchair as of now, unfortunately, but the many other parts of the park are including scenic vistas, shops and restaurants.  Personally, I believe it would still be worth the visit, since Anakeesta is a place like no other. I think you would still have loads of fun and an unforgettable experience.

See Anakeesta Vs Ober Vs SkyPark

Compact mobile power scooter for people with problems walking.
An audience watches a dinner theater show at Hatfield & McCoy's in Pigeon Forge, TN


This list will get you off to a good start. I will add places as I find them. There is no way I can possibly list all businesses, but I will try to add the most interesting and popular places with the best reviews.

     It’s always recommended that you call a business ahead before you arrive, if you will need different accommodations that what are normally offered.  It’s a common courtesy to give the business a little time to fulfill your needs. Always get the name of the person you speak with so there will be accountability for the actions they take.

Dining/Food Places with Reported
Good Wheelchair Access

Little Tijuana Birrieria, Sevierville

JT Hannah’s Kitchen

Thai Basil

Reagan’s House of Pancakes

Mama’s Farmhouse

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp

Old Mill Restaurant

Huck Finn's Catfish

Red Lobster

Crawdaddy's (except parking)

Dick's Last Resort, Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

Loco Burro

Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant and Grille

Paula Deen’s

Johnny Carino’s

Mellow Mushroom, all locations

Calhoun’s BBQ

Lil Black Bear Cafe

Krispy Kreme

Smoky’s Pancake Cabin

Local Goat

Anakeesta Dining and Eateries (Chondola's up are accessible)

Mama's Chicken Kitchen

If you'd like your wheelchair accessible eatery or restaurant on this list, feel free to email me for a free listing.

A group of friends have lunch at a diner in Sevierville, Tn

What are Some Wheelchair Accessible Nature Trails in the Smoky Mountains TN, Area?
Trails Recommended for Wheelchair Access
Easily Find on
Google Maps!


Gatlinburg Trail- 1.9 mile, one way walk, paved and gravel.  See my video here.


Sugarland Valley Trail- .5 miles roundtrip, paved. This is a wonderful, paved trail for wheelchairs, families, kids, strollers and the like.  Easy to get to. See my video featuring this trail here.


Laurel Creek Falls Trail - 2.17  miles roundtrip, paved but assistance will be needed for wheelchair riders. Trail is steep and rutted in some places. You will need to take your time and go very slow with a wheelchair on this trail, but in good weather, it can be done.


Cataract Falls Trail- This would be an excellent choice. Located behind the Sugarland Visitor Center. Easy walk, short distance, with benches available, and a beautiful waterfall.

The Sinks Waterfall Viewing - This is a wheelchair accessible waterfall viewing area. Very beautiful and easily accessible. Staying in shallow water is advisable since strong undertow and currents can be there.  The creek and swimming area is not wheelchair accessible to my knowledge, but the view and the experience is great!



Is Clingman’s Dome Wheelchair Accessible?


Clingman’s Dome Trail- 1.2 mile round trip. The trail is steep and paved, but assistance will be needed for wheelchair rider. It’s not an easy push up, nor is it an easy walk up. You will need plenty of stamina and time to rest along the way due to the escalation. Some people go to Clingman’s Dome and just stay in the parking lot itself because it is flat and easily accessible with beautiful views. If this is not for you, check out what some say is a better alternative - Look Rock Tower.


Look Rock Tower- is a good alternative to the hard climb of Clingman’s Dome, and is suggested to be just as wonderful of a panoramic view.


Pigeon Forge Riverwalk Greenway- This is not a typical “trail” but it is a nice, paved walk and accessibility is not a problem. It is recently completed in 2018 and stretches 4 miles of good scenic walking along the Little Pigeon River in Pigeon Forge.


The 14 “Quiet Walkways of the Smoky Mountains”- As you drive through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, look for these inconspicuous little gems. For anyone with disability, trouble walking, or who is visually or hearing impaired, autistic or wheelchair bound, they are pure gold.  Just off the beaten path, and away from the crowds, you will find your own little piece of heaven.


Quiet walkways are lesser known, short, easy paths with beautiful scenery made for those who may not want to hike, but still want to enjoy the beauty of the mountains. Most are right off the main roads for easy, quick access.


Usually they are ¼ to ½  mile each and are marked with a “Quiet Walkway” sign.


Here is a map of some Quiet Walkways near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Click or tap to zoom.

A "Quiet Wakway" Sign with arrow pointing the way in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Google map image of some "Quiet Walkways" in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Tip: When getting on unpaved mountain trails in the Smoky Mountains, you should know there can be rocks and tree roots embedded into the dirt. Some trails are smoother than others, so be careful.

Wheelchair Accessible Picnic Areas Near
Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg  

(All Can be Found on Google Maps or GSMNP Visitor Centers)


  • Cades Cove Picnic Area (GSMNP)

  • Chimneys Picnic Area (GSMNP)

  • Cosby Picnic Area (GSMNP)

  • Metcalf Bottoms (GSMNP)

  • Herbert Holt Park in Gatlinburg - Includes Handicap Accessible Fishing Pier

  • Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge

  • Mynatt Park in Gatlinburg - Includes Handicap Accessible Fishing Pier

  • Douglas Reservoir Picnic Area and Pavilion, Sevierville

  • Douglas Dam Overlook, Sevierville

Accessible Fishing in the Gatlinburg Area

  • Herbert Holt Park in Gatlinburg has an area for trout fishing that is reserved only for handicapped persons and children!

  • Mynatt Park also has wheelchair access fishing ramp

  • Douglas Lake , Sevierville

  • Little Valley Mountain Resort has a wheelchair accessible fishing pond

Peaceful campsite with tent on a creek in the mountains. Person sitting in a camp chair, fishing in creek.

Accessible Camping

According to The National Park Service, :


“Camping - Reservations for an “accessible unit” (wheelchair accessible) can be made for campsites in 3 campgrounds: Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont, from May 15 to October 31. For reservations, call

1-877-444-6777. Accessible sites are generally level and located adjacent to accessible restrooms. The campsites have been modified with paving, specialized tables, and fire grills.”

Also, according to :

Access Passports - If you are a U.S. citizen and have a permanent disability, you may obtain a free Access Passport at Sugarlands or Oconaluftee visitor centers. The passport allows free admission to federal areas which charge entrance fees and provides reductions for other types of user fees.”


You may also call at  (800) 365-2267.

You also might like:

Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resort

 Scenic Driving Tours

Scenic fall road in the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, scenic autumn drive
A girl's hair blows in the wind as she rides in the backseat of a car on a road trip and summer drive
Scenic drive through the mountains on a beautiful bridge
Airplane flying

If you are flying to the Smoky Mountains, here is a helpful link from for navigating the airports and airlines from an accessibility perspective:  

The fully accessible guide to flying for people with disabilities -

​ Check Google Maps for directions:

  • The Missing Link begins in Wears Valley

  • Cades Cove 11 mile Loop near Townsend Tennessee

  • Roaring Fork near downtown Gatlinburg Tennessee

  • Tremont Road, near Townsend Tennessee

  • Rich Mountain Road: Starting in Cades Cove ending in Townsend Tennessee

  • Parsons Branch Road: Starting in Cades Cove ending on 129 between Fontana North Carolina and Maryville Tennessee

  • Mountain Memory Tours- Bus is wheelchair accessible

*Some roads close for winter

Hotels with Good Reviews for Handicap
Accessible Rooms


*Don't forget to ask about Pool Lifts. Many hotels have Pool lifts for outdoor and indoor pools.

Margaritaville Hotel handicap accessible room example at The Island, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Tips & Ideas for People with Hearing Impairment

  • Wonderworks is great for hands on exhibits

  • Assistive listening devices at Dollywood and American Sign Language Interpreters are available if notice is given 2 weeks in advance (865) 428-9461 or email

  • Show scripts are available for use at many (not all) of the shows at Dollywood.  Ask theatre ushers or Sound Techs.

  • Most local Dinner Shows have hearing assistance

Tips & Ideas for People With Visual Impairment


Get pampered at a Spa like Riverstone Resort or St. Somewhere Spa at The Island’s Margaritaville Hotel

Taste the free samples at The Old Mill Candy Kitchen

Wine Tasting

Moonshine sampling

Hear and Feel the Music at Dinner Theatres like Grand Majestic, Country Tonite, Rocky Top Theatre, Memories Theatre, Smoky Mountain Opry Theatre, Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show, Comedy Barn

Titanic Museum includes Audio earphones at no extra charge

Ober’s Scenic Chair Lift, Gatlinburg have special viewers that allow colorblind people to see colors.

Wonderworks- Excellent hands on exhibits, but help from a friend or family would be needed.

Outback Steakhouse has braille menus.

Tips: Do not hesitate to ask for large print or braille menus.  Also, most menus are online, and you could ask a friend or family member to read them to you ahead of time.

1.) Did you know there are museums that offer special tours for visually impaired that will allow you to touch certain items on display?  Most require booking in advance to allow for this special tour.

2.) Utilize the hotel’s or cabin company’s concierge if available.  Most times, they will be highly valuable to you. If a concierge is not available, ask if one of the trusted housekeepers or housemen can be allowed to do certain things for you, if needed. Most management will be happy to assist.

3.) Consider booking a local tour guide. Doing this when you first arrive can be a great way to plan ahead and get tips on things to do.

4.) Consider using Bump Dots on luggage, and a C-Pen Reader for menus. 

Kids & Adults with Autism

Dollywood Calming Room for Autistic and Special Needs kids and adults with autism or other sensory issues or special needs. Pigeon Forge, TN

Dollywood has a one of a kind “Autism Calming Room” that was specially designed for anyone who needs it.  A quiet, private enclosed cottage space with toys and objects specially designed to help with over stimulation.


Wonderworks- Hosts a Sensory Day each year geared toward Autistic kids and adults to enjoy a quieter, gentler experience for those who can be overwhelmed in this usually noisy environment.

Consider one of the hiking trails or "Quiet Walkways" throughout the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Where Can I Find Gluten Free Food Options
Around Pigeon Forge?


Dollywood’s Backstage Restaurant is the place to eat where the cooks can custom prepare gluten free and vegetarian foods.

Many pizza places now have gluten free options

Mellow Mushroom

Snappy Tomato

The Local Goat

Sawyer’s Farmhouse Breakfast offers gluten free pancakes

Pigeon Forge Deli

JT Hannah’s - gluten free buns

Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Cafe-Gluten free pancakes

Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show has gluten free options menu

Wild Bear Tavern-gluten free by request

Mom’s Vintage Kitchen is in Dandridge, down the road from PF but EVERYthing is Gluten Free! And gets very high marks!

Smoky Mountain Brewery has gluten free pizza

Johnny Carino’s has gluten free menu

Front Porch Cafe inside Dollywood

Lee’s Fusion Cafe Asian Grille

GiGi’s Cupcakes offers gluten free cupcakes

Whole Earth Cafe, Gatlinburg

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show

Timberwood Grille has gluten free menu

Poynor’s Pommes Frites-Gluten free bratwurst

Hard Rock Cafe

Holston’s Kitchen, Sevierville, gluten free menu

McAllister’s Deli offers gluten free bread

Healthy Balance Meals, Sevierville

Nino’s Pizzeria & Eatery, Sevierville

Roaming Gnome Pub & Eatery, Sevierville offers gluten free bread

Taste of Italy, Gatlinburg offers gluten free pizza

Denny’s some gluten free options

Thai Basil, Sevierville

Flapjacks offers gluten free pancakes

Apple Barn Restaurant offers gluten free selections

Landshark Bar and Grill, Gatlinburg has some gluten free menu items

Outback Steakhouse, Sevierville gluten free menu

Rabbit Food Market, Sevierville

2 gluten free Fresh pizzas
a large variety of gluten free bread options at a bakery
gluten free options for nut and berry pancakes at a restaurant in Gatlinburg


You Might Also Like

Cabins with Elevators

Wheelchair Accessible Cabins Around Gatlinburg

Best Hotels Downtown Gatlinburg

Why Off Season is My Favorite

Pet Friendly Cabins Near Dollywood


If you can't make it to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or the Smoky Mountains right now, check out these live Smoky Mountain WEBCAMS 

Did you know?

You Can See Accessibility  on Google Maps!

If you open Google Maps on you phone,

Tap your circle icon in the top right,

Tap "Settings"

You will then see "Accessibility Settings"

Slide to the right to turn ON.

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