Pigeon Forge is a small town with a resident population of approximately 6,000. However, more than 10 million people visit every year, and more than 2 million stay overnight.
Tourism is the only industry in Pigeon Forge. It drives revenue in excess of $1.5 billion annually.
To house all of those overnight guests, Pigeon Forge has more than 14,500 lodging units in hotels, motels, condos, cabins and campgrounds.
Because of the year-round volume of visitors, Pigeon Forge has municipal services and facilities for a city of approximately 50,000 residents.
Two-thirds of the nation’s population east of the Mississippi River lives within a day’s drive of Pigeon Forge.
Pigeon Forge is in East Tennessee, approximately 35 miles from Knoxville. The area’s municipal airport is Knoxville’s McGhee-Tyson Airport. It is in the Eastern Time Zone.
The town takes the first part of its name from the Little Pigeon River, which itself got its name from the great numbers of passenger pigeons that once roosted on its banks. The second part of the town’s name comes from an iron forge built by early settler Isaac Love in 1817. The site of that forge is near today’s Old Mill.
The Old Mill, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1830 and is in operation today.
Pigeon Forge’s next-door neighbor is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the U.S. (more than 12.5 million people in 2019). Elevations range from 875 to 6,643 feet. It is one of the most biologically diverse locations in the world. More than 17,000 species have been identified in the park.
Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee (6,643 feet), is in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is less than an hour’s drive from Pigeon Forge.
Dollywood, Tennessee’s most visited commercial attraction, is in Pigeon Forge. It is open from late March through early January and attracts more than 2.5 million guests each year.
Tourism promotion for Pigeon Forge is organized by the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, part of city government. Consumer information for the entire city is online at MyPigeonForge.com, and a toll-free inquiry number is 1-800-251-9100.