Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster (at night): Granted, we have only done this mountain coaster and I am sure they are all fun! We have found Groupon discounts which make it a bit more affordable.
Old Mill (lunch): This is by no means a hidden gem. It is probably the most popular restaurant in Pigeon Forge. But if you go before 4 PM, you get an entree, two sides, bread, corn fritters, and a cup of soup for $10-12. It is shareable, which is insanity. Dinner is the same food, plus a dessert/salad for $20. Which would be overkill.
Old Mill Pottery House: Right next door. They have an all day menu, so we often go here for dinner after Dollywood or something. They have a pecan crusted chicken breast with moonshine sauce on it, which is divine.
Crockett's Breakfast Camp: Again, not a hidden gem but still really delicious breakfast. Only open until like 2, but the earlier you get there, the better in terms of wait. They sell these enormous shareable breakfast skillets which come with a 6 inch tall pancake, ham, bacon, sausage, sausage gravy and a biscuit, grits (or apples), potatoes, corn pudding, and 2 eggs. Mmm.
Moonshine Tastings: We have done both Ole Smokey and Sugarlands, which are the two popular ones. Sugarlands stands out for us because of the way it operates. You all gather around a giant circular bar and enjoy delicious moonshine. It is one of the most fun 15 minutes out there. It costs $5 and that goes directly toward moonshine purchase (and they are stackable, so every 5 people who do the tasting equals a free container of moonshine to enjoy on the trip).
Again, these are just the things we have done and are most popular anyway.
1. Clingmans Dome: follow the main road up the mountains in Gatlinburg up to Newfound Gap. There are nice overlooks on the way up (some great spots to catch a sunset). Newfound Gap itself provides nice views, but if you continue until you find Clingmans Dome road you'll follow that even further up to a parking lot and can "hike" up a concrete 0.5 mile path (much steeper and strenuous than you would expect) to a beautiful overlook.
2. Roaring Fork Motor Trail. This is a really peaceful little ride through the lower parts of the mountain. Make sure to pick up the little $1 guide as you enter the loop. My group enjoyed stopping at each numbered marker on the loop and reading the corresponding tidbit. There are various pull offs to see old lodges and a nice little waterfall toward the end. Also the gift shop at the end sells Three Bears coffee which is a Knoxville coffee shop (only outpost in the Smokies is this gift shop).
3. Cades Cove: An hour drive from Gatlinburg. A different kind of motor trail, but equally beautiful. Again, try to grab a guide before you enter for $1. Recommend doing this early as it gets crowded and can be annoying to stop behind people all the time. We saw 7 bears on our way in/during/on our way out from Cades Cove. Lots of old churches, houses, etc. to pull off and see. Can easily break this loop up with a packed lunch about halfway through.
4. Alum Cave Trail: We have hiked probably 6 or so trails now, so by no means are we experts. But our favorite of the bunch by far has been this trail. Not terribly challenging (a little under 5 miles total out and back). Again, best to start this early before it gets hot/crowded. There are two beautiful stops along this trail. First is Arch Rock. You go underneath the arch and there are steps. Further up, you'll reach Alum Cave, which is more of a bluff and offers beautiful views.
I echo what others have said. The season pass is a no brainer. You can visit at your leisure (stop in at night or leave midday, etc. and not feel badly about it). Gold Pass helps a lot for food and merchandise discounts, too.
^The Ole Smoky Moonshine at The Island also charged. They actually charged $7 ($2 donation to a charity), but you coujd only stack two coupons together at a time and they expire in a week. Sugarlands never really expire they say and can stack unlimited. There is a third moonshine place I believe that is in Pigeon Forge that I’m not sure if they charge.
And oh! That changes things completely as far as the season pass goes.
Taylor Finn wrote:^The Ole Smoky Moonshine at The Island also charged. They actually charged $7 ($2 donation to a charity)
Bummer if it's spread to PF too.
If I remember correctly, Nov 2017 was still, free samples in PF, at least at Old Forge (next to Old Mill). Still free at Tennessee Shine Company out Wears Valley (the PF location, on Teaster, wasn't open yet).
TEDodd wrote:Well, staying at the Dollywood cabins offers you a length of stay pass for $70 ($57 for kids) and free parking.
Not just free parking, free VIP parking. Additionally, you can get a length of stay pass WITH TimeSaver for just $100 per ticket... then again, the Gold Pass gets you 20% off your cabin stay and depending on when you go, you might not need TImeSaver, so you really have to weigh the options...
The park seems to have full hours at this time of year. T Dollywood will be full operations? If so what type of crowds could be expected in late Oct on a weekday and a weekend? Oh and I havent really heard about Lightning Rod in a while, has it been running regularly? Or let me say does it at least run like TTD (daily and you have a great chance of getting on but expect it could go down any time)
Top 10 Steel: Steel Vengeance, Wicked Cyclone, Fury 325, Millennium Force, Storm Chaser, Skyrush, Maverick, Goliath (SFoG), I305, Lightning Run Top 10 Wood: Voyage, Phoenix, El Toro, Boulder Dash, Mystic Timbers, Lightning Racer, Grizzly (KD), Legend, Raven, Beast
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