Pigeon Forge is a popular action packed tourist town located within easy driving distance to the Nantahala River Gorge. Pigeon Forge grew steadily after the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pigeon Forge has a large variety of dinner shows and music theaters. It is home to the famous Dollywood theme park and the Dixie Stampede Dinner Show. It has excellent shopping with its over 200 factory outlet stores in shopping malls.
In the l700's and the early 1800's the river banks in the area were lined with Beech trees. The beechnuts that they produced were a staple part of the diet of the Passenger Pigeons that visited the area. Large flocks of these birds feasted on the abundant harvest along the riverbanks. Beechnuts were a mainstay of their diet and it was a natural stopping off place for this now extinct species. The river became know as the Pigeon River as a result of the large number of these birds that fed along its banks.
Pigeon Forge was settled in the late 18th Century. Pioneer Isaac Love established an iron forge in 1820. His son, William, built a tub mill in 1830. Daily work revolved around the business of repairing farm implements. When a post office was established in 1841 it was given the name Pigeon Forge. The name was a combination of the iron works and the Little Pigeon River that flows through the town. The town was a small peaceful community with cornfields and farming projects.
Pigeon Forge grew steadily after the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1940 and today is a popular tourist destination.
Some of the music attractions that can be enjoyed nightly are as follows:
- Music Mountain Theater, featuring Grand Ole Opry legends
- Music Mansion Theater with James Rogers
- Rainbow Music Theater
- Memories Theater
- The Comedy Barn
- Smoky Mountain Jubilee
- Louise Mandrell Theater
- Alabama Grill
- Legends in Concert
Pigeon Forge is about a 1 Â½ hour drive from the Nantahala River Gorge. Traffic is light on the Parkway at night for visitors who want to drive over to enjoy top vocal artists in the nightly musical productions.