Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge gets a lot of traffic. This is a short version of what is available to help you navigate. However, there are even more shortcuts than are listed here. If you are staying with My Bearfoot Cabins, just tell us where you want to go and we will get you there the best way we know how.
There are maps everywhere including at the visitor centers, so pick one up. Don’t rely too much on GPS because it may not be accurate deep into the mountain. There are great shortcuts but they can be winding and sometimes change their names.
Pigeon Forge Back Roads
Two key roads to know about in Pigeon Forge are Teaster Lane and Veterans Boulevard. Teaster Lane parallels Parkway just a block on the east side. It runs from Light #2 at the north end down to connect with the southern end of Veterans Boulevard, and Dollywood Lane. You can also cut over to Teaster Lane from Light #3 at Wears Valley Road and #5 on Jake Thomas Road. The Island has a back entrance right on Teaster Lane.
Veterans Boulevard a little north of Dollywood Lane will take you to the back entrance of Dollywood. Veterans Boulevard will take you up to Sevierville and may be your way in if, like many people, you’re coming from Interstate 40.
Dollywood Lane, by the way, leads on to Upper Middle Creek Road, which is a good road to the east into the hills and connecting with some other north-south roads such as Birds Creek and Pittman Center Road. This is farther than our immediate shortcuts, but if you’re up for exploring, there’s a lot of great country to visit.
On the west side of Pigeon Forge two roads are worth knowing. A small one is Florence Drive, which parallels Parkway for quite some distance and has less traffic. It runs behind the Red Roof Stores. But the big one is Wears Valley Road, Hwy 321, which branches off to the west (and which you can get to from Teaster Lane), and offers two ways into the national park. One is Metcalf Bottoms on Line Springs Road and the other is the Cades Cove entrance by turning left at the Townsend Wye
The Gatlinburg Bypass begins at the south end of the Spur – the scenic stretch of Hwy 321 that connects Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg – just south of the visitor center on Parkway, at the north end of Gatlinburg. Just when the traffic might start getting snarled, this road offers your escape. It’s a must-drive road anyway that offers the very best overlook views of Gatlinburg – many of those amazing views you’ve seen of the town nestled in the mountains are taken from this road.
The Bypass continues down into the national park, intersecting with Hwy 441. Here you can go on into Sugarlands Visitor Center or cut back up a short distance to the south end of Gatlinburg.
A shorter road that avoids Parkway in Gatlinburg is River Road (not to be confused with Little River Road – check the map). This road parallels Parkway on the west side and you can get on it by Anakeesta. It will take you down to Ski Mountain Road, with then a short jog over to Parkway if you want, or on to the Gatlinburg Bypass and all points from there. River Road can be a handy way to skip out of Parkway traffic and get moving to somewhere else!
Another such road is on the east side, and this is Baskins Creek Bypass. This starts on East Parkway close to where it merges with Parkway proper, and cuts off this convergence, connecting with Cherokee Orchard Road – which brings you onto Parkway, just across from River Road. If you continue on Historic Nature Trail, where you could cut back up to Parkway or travel the historic Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
Let My Bearfoot Cabins help you with your trip.
Pat and Don Kirchhoefer, Owners