How to Avoid Traffic & Crowds
in Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg
Traffic and crowds can be huge when you come to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains. But I will show you how to avoid traffic jams and avoid crowds at restaurants too!
Scroll down for the best tips & tricks for avoiding traffic jams and crowds in the Smoky Mountains.
Your best friends will be
Google & Google Maps on your laptop, and Google Maps on mobile.
Use your mobile phone to work pure magic and do things you never thought you could!
It will change the way you think about driving on your vacation to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and anywhere in the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee -
or on any trip.
I will make it easy for you in a few steps below.
1.) See Where Traffic Is
Open Google Maps on your phone,
See the red arrows below? This is where you tap and then choose "traffic".
2.) Predict Future Traffic
Before you leave for your trip,
use Google Maps on your laptop for this, it's well worth it!
Open a map of your location, and look at the bottom (see photo below).
Check Live Traffic
Select "TYPICAL TRAFFIC"
You can see that leaving on a Friday morning, before 9am,
avoids a lot of traffic!
3.) Use Google on Laptop to See Busy Times for Restaurants
Before you leave,
use Google on your laptop for this, it's well worth it!
Google Your Restaurant or Attraction of Choice
Scroll down, look on the right side to see popular times
You can see that 3pm would be a good time to visit
Five Oaks Farm Kitchen in Sevierville!
*Many restaurants also have Call Ahead Wait Lists,
just call and ask to be put on one!
More Tips & Tricks!
1.) Park and walk
Open Google Maps, and search "Gatlinburg Parking" and you will see the many (mostly paid) parking lots. Budget a few extra dollars for this, and you will be happily on your way to enjoying downtown Gatlinburg all day, while avoiding traffic.
To find a cabin close to the downtown Gatlinburg Strip, check out my list here.
Check out this 2 BR condo right downtown Gatlinburg!
Also check out this 1BR condo, also downtown.
You can walk to everything!
2.) Keeping check-out times in mind
Check in times for most cabins and hotels are
Check in 10 -11am
Check out 3 - 4pm
Many people wait until the last minute to leave their cabins, so 11am may have heavier road traffic.
3.) Stay at a cabin or resort with an indoor pool or unique amenities. This can also keep you feeling happy and relaxed without the need for as much driving around.
Check out these links:
4.) You might consider staying in Wears Valley, a beautiful little town on the outskirts of Pigeon Forge, where there is slightly less traffic.
5.) Check out my Events Calendars so you will know when and where heavier traffic may be.
Spring and Fall Rod Run Car Shows will have the heaviest Pigeon Forge Parkway traffic for those days, especially evenings.
6.) Arrive in Off Season
Off season is considered January, February and early March. You will find it way less crowded during these months.
Find out more about off season on my page here.
7.) Use the Gatlinburg ByPass
Put "Gatlinburg Bypass" into your GPS or Google Maps. If you would like to bypass downtown traffic on your way to the The Great Smoky Mountain National Park or on your way to Pigeon Forge, it will save you a lot of time.
8.) Choose a Buffet Style Restaurant
For no waiting when you are hungry, try
Wood Grill Buffet
Reagan's House of Pancakes breakfast buffet
Captain Jim's Seafood Buffet
Song & Hearth at Dreammore Resort (open to the general public)
9.) Word to the Wise
I strongly advise NOT letting GPS take you "the backroads". Some mountain backroads can get pretty sketchy and many locals drive fast on these roads trying to get to work on time. GPS can be unreliable, and you can also lose cell signal on some backroads. Not good.
Famous Food of Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg Events