Winter has to be one of the most enchanting times of the year to visit Pigeon Forge, TN. The mountain town transforms into a festive, holiday celebration that lasts well into early March, complete with fireworks, twinkling lights, and traditional Appalachian music. Here’s a guide to some of the best ways to enjoy this season.
The Smokies are gorgeous when blanketed in snow, and the classic way to experience them is by lacing up your boots and heading out for a hike. Now that the trees are mostly bare, you’ll have clearer-than-ever views of the mountain landscape, including traditional log cabins, wildlife — such as deer and coyotes — and perhaps a frozen waterfall or two.
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Have you ever wondered why most evergreens keep their leaves in the winter? Their leaves are shaped differently than deciduous leaves—instead of being broad and flat, they are rolled up tight and shaped like needles. They are also covered in a waxy coating. Both their shape and their coating allows them to hold on to their moisture more efficiently than deciduous trees can. They usually keep their needles for two or three years, and when they drop, they don’t all drop at once. Photo credit: David Lambert
Holiday shopping takes on a special significance in the Smokies, whose eight-mile Crafts Loop doubles as America’s largest arts-and-crafts community. Chat with whittlers, basket-weavers, candlemakers, photographers, and woodcarvers as you stock up on unique handmade wares made with traditional artisanal techniques.
Winter is a great time to support local breweries, wineries, and distilleries located in towns like Sevierville and Gatlinburg. Visit a few of them individually, embark on a Moonshine & Wine excursion with Tennessee Mountain Tours, or a drive around the Rocky Top Wine Trail.
The Ober Gatlinburg amusement complex is about 20 minutes outside of town, but it’s well worth the drive to experience the Smokies’ take on skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice skating, and other winter sports. The amusement park and ski area even offers “ice bumper cars” and a special snow park for younger guests.
Live entertainment is popular in Pigeon Forge at any time of year, but it’s during the winter season that it becomes most dazzling and over-the-top. Catch seasonal shows at popular venues such as Dollywood, Smoky Mountain Opry, and Comedy Barn. If you’re visiting in early December, hit the Parkway for Pigeon Forge’s annual Christmas in The Smokies bluegrass festival.