In Pigeon Forge, autumn is a truly spectacular season — the Smokies turn red, green, and gold; Dollywood transforms into a larger-than-life pumpkin patch; and Southern wineries and distilleries release limited-edition bottles. Here’s our guide to the best autumnal happenings in this Tennessee resort town.
Old Mill Heritage Day
Old Mill Square was built around, and named for, a 19th-century gristmill, and autumn is the season when the plaza celebrates its history. September brings Old Mill Heritage Day, where you can watch moonshine- and sorghum-making demonstrations, catch bluegrass performances, take part in old-fashioned games and square dances, make arts and crafts, and learn about Pigeon Forge pioneers.
September 28; http://oldmillheritageday.com
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Enjoy the 15th annual Heritage Day at the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge on September 22nd! Bring the whole family for arts & crafts, Bingo, pumpkin painting, music, a petting zoo, and so much more! Admission is free, so swing by from 10 AM–6 PM for a fun-filled Pigeon Forge day! @oldmillsquare ⠀ . ⠀ Thanks to @erinmalatesta for this #regram! ⠀ . ⠀ . ⠀ . ⠀ #riveredge #riveredgervpark #rv #rvlife #rvliving #rvtravel #rvtravels #rvcampground #rvcamping #gatlinburg #pigeonforge #smokymountains #mypigeonforge #gsmnp #visitmysmokies #heysmokies #oldmill #oldmillpigeonforge #theoldmill #oldmillheritageday ⠀
Seasonal Wine-and-Spirit Tastings
Though Smith Creek Moonshine’s Pigeon Forge outpost and the Rocky Top Wine Trail organization’s wineries are popular year round, both offer enticing autumn-specific offerings that you’ll want to add to your Pigeon Forge itinerary. Smith Creek Moonshine releases a seasonal apple-pie flavor, and the Rocky Top Wineries host the “Chocolate Wine Trail” event, pairing wines with handmade desserts and wine-themed souvenirs.
Dollywood Harvest Festival and Great Pumpkin LumiNights
Each autumn, Dolly Parton’s famous theme park takes a cue from the singer’s flamboyant, over-the-top style by hosting its annual Harvest Festival. The event transforms Dollywood into a larger-than-life pumpkin patch, with pumpkin-picking activities, an after-hours “LumiNights” jack-o-lantern spectacular, more than 500 gospel performances, and demos by local artisans, including glass painters, Appalachian woodworkers, and even fiddle-makers.
The Island shopping and entertainment complex features hundreds of square feet of bare concrete (alongside its famous Ferris wheel), and this particular Pigeon Forge venue honors autumn with a celebration known as Chalkfest. For one afternoon every October, dozens of artists take to the park’s grounds, drafting larger-than-life chalk illustrations of Tony the Tiger, the Mona Lisa, and more.
Colorful Smoky Foliage
If there’s one truly iconic Pigeon Forge autumn experience, it’s a hike or drive around the surrounding Smokies themselves, a sub-range of the Appalachian Mountains. Take in sweeping views of the colorful landscape from lookouts atop Clingman’s Dome, Charlie’s Bunion, Andrew’s Bald, Cades Cove Road, or Newfound Gap Road. For something a little more exciting, visit Legacy Mountain Ziplines, where you can zoom through the trees at up to 50 miles per hour on one of seven ziplines.