How To Avoid Crowds in the Smoky Mountains – My Bear Foot Cabins

How To Avoid Crowds in the Smoky Mountains

Though the Smoky Mountains is one of the most popular and vibrant destinations in the southeast, there are easy ways to get away from crowds in Pigeon Forge and the Smokies during your vacation.

To enjoy a peaceful and authentic Smoky Mountain experience, just follow these tips to avoid crowds in the Great Smoky Mountains!


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Though the Smoky Mountains is one of the most popular and vibrant destinations in the southeast, there are easy ways to get away from crowds in Pigeon Forge and the Smokies during your vacation.

To enjoy a peaceful and authentic Smoky Mountain experience, just follow our insider tips on how to avoid crowds in Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains!

View From Mt. Cammerer

1. Find Less Visited Areas of the National Park

Though the Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts the highest park attendance in the national park system, it also covers over 800 sq. miles, so you can always escape to a peaceful place in the mountains.

If you visit during a major holiday or peak seasons in summer and fall, the busiest areas of the national park are:

  • The Cades Cove Loop Road
  • Newfound Gap Road
  • The Roaring Fork Motor Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail
  • Abrams Falls Trail
  • Grotto Falls Trail
  • Laurel Falls Trail

These destinations are truly beautiful and are definitely worth exploring, however, if you vacation during a popular time, you may want to consider visiting these hidden gems in the Smoky Mountains:

  • Metcalf Bottoms – Located off of the Little River Gorge Road in the national park, you’ll find this peaceful riverside picnic area. From here, you can take the Metcalf Bottoms Trail to explore the historic community of Little Greenbrier and the Walker Sisters cabin.
  • Greenbrier – The beautiful Greenbrier region of the national park is located a short drive north of Gatlinburg and serves as the access point for incredible sights like the Ramsey Cascade Waterfall, the John Messer cantilever barn, and the stunning wildflowers of the Porters Creek Trail.

2. Avoid The Big Attractions

Big attractions are part of what make the Smoky Mountains such an exciting destination, but sometimes it’s better to visit them when the crowds are away.

Here are some top area attractions you may want to avoid during your trip if you’re vacationing during a busy time of year.

  • Dollywood
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
  • The Island
  • The Titanic Museum

Luckily, there are plenty of incredible sights to experience in the Smokies. Some great alternative destinations include:

  • The Forbidden Caverns – Massive underground caves with unique geologic formations and a colorful history.
  • Fox Fire Mountain – Outdoor adventure mountain with zip lines, ropes courses, and ATV trails.
  • The Mountain Coaster At Goats on the Roof – See playful goats climb on a roof and fly through the hills on an Alpine Mountain coaster.
  • Tubing on the Little Pigeon River – Take a relaxing float on the pristine Little Pigeon River in Townsend.
  • Horseback Riding with Walden’s Creek Stables – Explore peaceful areas of the Smokies from horseback.
  • Cosby – The Cosby entrance to the national park provides access to beautiful old growth forests, lovely mountain streams, and stunning panoramic views from the Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower.
  • Tremont – You’ll find Tremont just off the road to Cades Cove. This beautiful area of the Smokies is home to beautiful waterfalls and miles of peaceful hiking trails. As an added perk, visitors can see historic evidence of logging and CCC work camps in this region of the park.
  • Cataloochee Valley – This historic valley in the national park is home to historic buildings, lovely mountain views, and one of the only wild Elk herds in the Eastern United States.
  • Abrams Creek Campground – This lesser used area of the national park is a favorite fishing spot for locals, but it also provides mile after mile of secluded hiking trails and it even provides access to an alternative route to Abrams Falls near Cades Cove.

2. Avoid The Big Attractions

Big attractions are part of what make the Smoky Mountains an exciting destination, but sometimes it’s better to visit when crowds are less.

Here are some top area attractions you may want to avoid if you vacation during a busy time.

  • Dollywood
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
  • The Island
  • The Titanic Museum

Luckily, there are plenty of incredible sights to experience in the Smokies. Some great alternative destinations include:

  • The Forbidden Caverns – Massive underground caves with unique geologic formations and a colorful history.
  • Fox Fire Mountain – Outdoor adventure mountain with zip lines, ropes courses, and ATV trails.
  • The Mountain Coaster At Goats on the Roof – See playful goats climb on a roof and fly through the hills on an Alpine Mountain coaster.
  • Tubing on the Little Pigeon River – Take a relaxing float on the pristine Little Pigeon River in Townsend.
  • Horseback Riding – Explore peaceful areas of the Smokies from horseback.

3. Schedule Your Trip To Beat The Crowds

If you have more flexibility during your stay, you can use these expert tips to avoid crowds when visiting Pigeon Forge.

  • Drive Early or Late at Night – When arriving in the Smoky Mountains, you can avoid traffic by arriving early in the day. Likewise, you can avoid congested roadways by driving later in the evening.
  • Arrive at Big Attractions Early – The earlier you start your day’s adventure, the better chance you can enjoy it without dealing with crowds. In most cases, arriving at an attraction or trailhead before 10 AM should be plenty of time to beat the crowds.
  • Visit Big Attractions on Weekdays – Without a doubt, weekdays are the best time to visit popular destinations like Dollywood and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. You’ll find shorter lines and have more time to fully experience these fun attractions. This rule is also true for visiting high traffic hiking trails in the national park.
  • Visit the Smokies during the Offseason – Late winter and early spring are definitely more peaceful times to explore the Smoky Mountains. Better yet, you’ll find great rates on cabins!

Plan Your Visit with My Bearfoot Cabins

My Bearfoot Cabins offers cabins that have easier access to favorite locations to avoid some of the traffic. Contact Pat today.
Don and Pat Kirchhoefer, Owners
Phone: 618-559-3915
Email: pat@mybearfootcabins.com
Website: https://mybearfootcabins.com