About five miles. That’s the distance between these towns. But miles don’t express how beautiful this drive is in all seasons. Take a look at why driving between these two tourist destinations can be a delightful part of a Smokies vacation.
Parkway to Parkway
The direct connection between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is U.S. 441. With a bustling town at each end, you might expect the road to be lined with development. But this is a serene stretch of forested highway with wildlife, summer greenery, fall colors, and spring wildflowers!.
In both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, U.S. 441 becomes the main street, and both towns call these stretches “the Parkway.”
Some days, you might want a more meandering drive. Here are longer routes to explore.
Traveling from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge
Head south out of Gatlinburg on U.S. 441. Follow signs for the Gatlinburg Bypass toward Pigeon Forge. The Bypass might not have “scenic” in its name, but this is a nearly uninterrupted 3.6-mile drive with remarkable views.
The highlight is the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook. See Gatlinburg nestled against the Smokies. The overlook is open 24/7 so you can take in changing views day or night.
Continue north on the Bypass until it joins the other end of U.S. 441 just north of Gatlinburg. From here, go left toward Pigeon Forge.
Traveling from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg
For a leisurely detour into the national park, leave Pigeon Forge by turning off the Parkway onto Wears Valley Road in the direction of Wears Valley.
The road winds through Pigeon Forge’s outskirts, so expect to see some businesses, but soon, buildings give way to woods. Pause to ride a mountain coaster, go ziplining or visit a winery–you’ll find all of them along Wears Valley Road.
When you reach Wears Valley, turn left onto Line Springs Road. Line Springs quickly enters the national park and becomes Wear Cove Gap Road. Enjoy forest views until you reach Metcalf Bottoms, a perfect picnic stop next to the sparkling river.
Head back onto Wear Cove Gap Road briefly. When it ends at Little River Gorge Road, turn left and settle in for a gently curving drive. You’ll find trailheads and pullouts where you can hike or rest.
Wears Cove Gap turns into Fighting Creek Gap Road. Follow it to its end at U.S. 441, just below Gatlinburg.
Stay in a Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg cabin and explore the roads lacing through the Smokies. Reserve your rental cabin today.