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We have plans to visit GSMNP the week after labor day. We just recently found out about the hot rod car show in Pigeon Forge for Sept 4,5,6. Because of this we decided to stay on the NC side of the park and plan on making a couple of day trips to TN from there to see the sights/park sights on the TN side.

Just how crowded/congested does the National Park and surrounding areas get during the rod run in Pigeon Forge? We dont want to get caught up in that crowd everywhere we go in the park. Should we consider changing our dates?

John S.
You will have alot of traffic most of the time you are there.
Me and my wife just returned from our first trip to the Smoky Mountains.
We stayed for a week this July in Pigeon Forge at the Creekside Rv Park , which was an excellent choice in our opinion.
And yes, there was traffic due to the carnival atmosphere of the town itself.
But it was most frustrating when we first arrived. Coming from Illinois, and hauling my travel trailer for almost 10 hrs. straight the traffic began shortly after we exited from I-40 on a Saturday at about 4:30 P.M.
Starting in Sevierville and heading towards Pigeon Forge traffic was quite a mess.
Stop and go, stop and go, traffic lights backed up for a couple of blocks.
But once we arrived and dropped the trailer, naturally everything became a little easier.
A lot depends on what time of the day you are heading through town. Early morning has a lot less traffic. But even in the middle of the day, if you're not hauling a trailer, you won't get too frustrated. I've been in worse traffic during rush hour where I live.
Keep in mind that you will be going when school has already started. Whether that will make a difference, I don't know.
Since we had no children with us, we were not really interested in any of the various shows, rides, and attractions in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. But if you do have kids, bring you're checkbook. There's plenty of places to spend you're money.
Our main interest was the National Park itself and it's various attractions. And during our weeks stay we entered the park on 4 different occasions. On our last trip to the park we finally came face to face with a black bear in Cades Cove. Pretty cool!! Not to mention all the wild deer and turkeys we also spotted.
Anyhow, from where we camped in Pigeon Forge, there were two different routes we could take to arrive at the actual entrance of the GSMNP. Either way took us approximately 20- 30 minutes to arrive in the National Park itself. And then lots of turns and ascending from there.
Good Luck and hope this helps a little. Let me know if you have any other questions.
I failed to mention that once we were on the grounds of the National Park itself we never encountered any bad traffic problems. The park is huge and is mostly two-way traffic, but it has a number of various roads leading to your preferred sightseeing destination.
And if there is someone in a hurry traveling behind you there are plenty of pull-outs throughout the park where you can pull over, enjoy the scenery and let them pass.
I also highly reccomend stopping at the National Park Visitors Center once you enter the park if you plan on exploring and enjoying the various park amenities.
during rod week, the NP is pretty good, as is Gatlinburg. Avoid Pigeon Forge! The road thru PF is four lanes in and 4 lanes out and it is a 3 MPH parking lot from just below Gnatty Branch Rd to up to Seiverville.

One good thing, there are great side roads, but do not ask a local about the side roads, these are well kept secrets. A GPS and a good current map program will get you around a lot.

I have made it a point to ask the CG rez desk if there is anything going on the week we are planning to stay in PF and make plans around rod weeks.
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