A runner offers her tips for visiting the Pigeon Forge Greenway
As a runner residing in the North Georgia foothills, I am no stranger to hill work. It’s difficult to plan a route of more than a mile or two without some elevation gain. That being said, sometimes you just need a relatively flat place to run, especially when you’re on vacation in the mountains. Enter the Pigeon Forge Greenway (Google Maps), the best place, in my opinion, to go for a run in Pigeon Forge, TN.
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Pigeon Forge Greenway trails
According to the city website, the Pigeon Forge Greenway system includes “over six miles of trails”. Like many Greenways, it consists of a combination of sidewalks and trails that connect existing trails in several of the area’s parks. Also, there are plans to connect different sections of trails to increase the length of the Greenway even further. The main section of the existing 4-mile Greenway has three components.
- The Old City Park Loop. This paved loop is accessible from the Pigeon Forge Municipal Complex, which includes the public library, trolley depot, public pool, tennis and pickleball courts, playground and Pigeon Forge community center.
- The paved loop surrounding Patriot Park. This transportation hub has plenty of parking early in the morning but can fill up later in the day. It’s a popular spot for offsite Dollywood parking close to the Old Mill Historic District. The paved loop surrounding the park is approximately 0.5 miles.
- The Riverwalk Nature Trail. It connects Patriot Park and City Park while following the west prong of the Little Pigeon River. The Riverwalk Greenway is about 2.5 miles long, and it’s easily the most beautiful section of the park.
There is a also small bridge that connects to a fourth Greenway component: Wear Farm Greenway. This park adds 1.1 miles to the Greenway system. Wear Farm City Park is home to a baseball complex and would be another good parking option. On my last visit, I also noticed some construction work between the KOA campsite and the river at the southeast corner of the park. According to the map key posted along the Greenway, this is a section of the proposed Greenway that will continue alongside the river past the Gatlinburg Golf Course and Dolly’s Stampede.
Parking at the Pigeon Forge Greenway
I parked near the tennis courts at the Pigeon Forge Community Center. I also parked at Patriot Park, but I think there are more likely to be available spots at the Community Center. On busy days at Dollywood, I could see the Patriot Park lot filling up.
You can also park at The Island if you don’t mind starting in the middle. There’s also a trolley stop here and at several points along the Greenway system. This makes it possible to make use of the trolley system when accessing the Greenway.
Advice on 5Ks and 10Ks
I was there on a Friday and Saturday in June fairly early in the morning. On that day, there were walkers pushing baby strollers, a few cyclists, couples walking a dog or two and also a father and son fishing. I also saw a couple of huge herons take flight from the river near the LeConte Convention Center. Overall, it’s a popular spot for geese to hang out along the riverbank. For this reason, I would strongly recommend against wearing white running shoes if you plan to include this loop on your route.
There’s plenty of trail for a 5K on the Pigeon Forge Greenway. On one of my runs, I started at Patriot Park and ran counterclockwise around the loop before heading down the Riverwalk Greenway. I turned around at The Island and completed my 5K just before arriving back at Patriot Park.
When I completed a 10k on the trail I parked at the Community Center and ran counterclockwise around the one-mile loop before taking a right and heading down the beautiful Riverwalk Greenway. That trail crosses under the Parkway near MagiQuest. This allows pedestrians to avoid a traffic crossing, which is a convenient safety feature.
Have you visited the Pigeon Forge Greenway? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!