If you’ve been to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg during the holidays, you probably know about Winterfest. It’s a time when the two charming mountain towns become winter wonderlands…mountains dusted with snow, trees dripping with icicles, storefronts filled with the sights of the season, and the air filled with the smell of apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, and fresh fudge.
But did you know that Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg also celebrate springtime in the same big way? Springfest in Pigeon Forge ushers in spring, saying goodbye to the cold weather, snow-covered trees, and holiday rush. As the snow melts away, the trees begin bursting with color again, and wildflowers start to bloom.
It’s a wonderful time to visit the Smokies and enjoy some of the best things the area offers. You can stroll along the Parkway on a nice day, do some shopping at the Tanger Outlets outdoor shopping center, plan your trip around one of the exciting spring events (check below), or spend some time exploring the great outdoors.
Springtime Fun in the Great Outdoors
Spring in the Smokies means sunny days, blue skies, and warm weather that calls you to head outside and explore. In Pigeon Forge, you can hop aboard an open-air trolley and see the city, play miniature golf or ride go karts, or spend the day playing games and riding roller coasters at Dollywood! You could spend hours just browsing the stores on the Parkway, or you could get some views from above with a scenic helicopter tour or skydiving!
Then you can drive over to Gatlinburg to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you’ll find 800+ miles of trails offering everything from horseback riding and biking to hiking and scenic walks. The park is the most visited in the National Park Service, and it’s also FREE to visit! If you’re not up for a hike, try a scenic drive. Cades Cove is home to historic buildings and tons of wildlife, and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail offers plenty of scenic overlooks.
Spring Hikes in the Smokies
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it’s no wonder with the incredible scenery. Waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife, rolling hills, and dipping valleys are just a few of the sights you’ll get along the way. And you don’t have to be a pro to hit the trails. There’s something for everyone, from easy, scenic walks to challenging hikes. Need a few ideas to get started? Here are a few of our favorite hikes:
Abrams Falls – An easy 5-mile roundtrip hike off the Cades Cove loop, Abrams Falls is one of the most popular in the area. Pass through a lush forest with hemlock and rhododendron before arriving at the beautifully flowing Abrams Falls.
Laurel Falls Trail – Considered one of the easiest hikes in the area, this trail is a 2.6-mile roundtrip walk to the 75-foot Laurel Falls. The trail crosses between the upper and lower falls, so you can snap some great shots here.
Little River Trail – Located in Elkmont, this 4.9-mile roundtrip hike will take you along the water and past a huge variety of wildflowers, including rhododendron, hepaticas, and yellow trillium.
Middle Prong Trail – Enjoy waterfalls and historic items along this 8.3-mile roundtrip hike in the Tremont area.
Mount LeConte – If you’re looking for a challenge and have a day to spend on the trails, try a hike up Mount LeConte. It’s the 3rd-highest peak in the national park, and is a challenging climb all the way up. But on a clear spring day, the views from the top are worth it!
Porters Creek Trail – For history, wildflowers, and waterfalls, try this moderate hike that’s 4 miles roundtrip. Along with views all along Porters Creek, you’ll see yellow trillium, the John Messer farm site, baneberry, foam flower, dwarf ginseng, wild geranium, toothwort, and more.
Spring Events in Pigeon Forge
There’s always something happening in Pigeon Forge, from holiday celebrations to food and music festivals. So if you’re planning a spring Pigeon Forge vacation, be sure to check out the spring events before you go. You can celebrate your love of art, let the kids meet their favorite holiday characters, enjoy unique cultures during events at Dollywood, or learn more about the Smokies’ natural surroundings in the national park.
Irish Month at the Titanic Museum Attraction
The people of Irish descent aboard the RMS Titanic on its fateful journey are just one of the reasons why Irish culture has become such an important part of the Titanic’s history. During Irish Month at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, learn about the ship’s Irish roots and passengers while enjoying music, dancing, Gaelic folklore, and more.
Winter Carnival of Magic
Each year, the Country Tonite Theatre brings in the magic for a 3-day convention featuring shows open to the public. Magicians will amp up their skills while children and adults of all ages enjoy the tricks of these talented performers.
A Mountain Quiltfest
Bringing in hundreds of quilters from across the country, this annual quilting event is the place to learn more about quilting, showcase your own skills, or browse the work of others. Held at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, A Mountain Quiltfest will feature classes for all skill levels, a quilt show with prizes, and a gallery where spectators can check out the awesome pieces!
Easter Egg Hunt with the Easter Bunny
What says spring more than an Easter egg hunt with the kids? Get dressed up in your Easter duds and visit the Pigeon Forge Community Center for a day of Easter fun with the family. Visit with the Easter Bunny, get some great photos, and let the kids see how many eggs they can find – all with the scenic Smoky Mountains in the distance.
Brunch with the Easter Bunny
The Old Mill Pottery House Café & Grille in Pigeon Forge features delicious foods year-round, but when spring rolls around, it also plays host to the Easter Bunny. Stop in for a great Southern meal, a visit with the Easter Bunny, door prizes, and themed activities for the kids.
Dollywood’s Festival of Nations
Take a culinary, musical, and cultural trip around the world each spring during Dollywood’s Festival of Nations. From Mexico, Ireland, and Ecuador to Germany, Trinidad, and beyond, explore the songs, dances, food, art, and activities that represent traditions from more than 20 countries.
Dolly’s Homecoming Parade
Dolly Parton is one of the area’s most beloved local celebrities, with her Southern charm and straight-shooting attitude, musical talent, and big attractions in Pigeon Forge. So it’s no wonder that when she comes into town it’s a big celebration! Dolly’s Homecoming Parade makes the Parkway come to life, with floats, giant balloons, marching bands, and plenty of live entertainment.
Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival
What’s more Southern than barbecue and bluegrass? Listen as the sounds of the mountains fill the air while you nosh on barbecue and stroll through Dollywood. Park admission gives you an all-access pass to the concerts throughout the park, and of course, you get to play in Dollywood!
Wilderness Wildlife Week
Outdoor enthusiasts will love this week of adventure, education, and exploration in the Smokies, but there really is something for everyone. Dozens of classes, workshops, seminars, nature walks, and guided hikes are held in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a week of outdoor fun.