Touring the Winter Lights of the Smokies in 2017

image courtesy of Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge sparkle in winter with literally millions and millions of festive holiday lights, many in animated displays. Here’s how to see the best of them – by trolley and by car.

Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights

If you want to view the festive lights on display throughout the town of Gatlinburg, all you have to do is embark on the specially designated trolley that leaves from downtown and let your driver take care of the rest. The Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights begins on November 8, 2017, and runs until January 27, 2018. Trolleys depart every evening at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30, and tickets are $5 per person (children under three who are sitting on an adult’s lap are free).

This trolley tour will take you past the lights of the downtown area, including Parkway and nearby River Road. You will also traverse some of Highway 321, and throughout the town you will see beautiful light displays that are modeled after the various natural environs of the Smokies, including winter forests and woodland wildlife.

This trolley tour is great for groups who want to relax as a family and enjoy the lights together, because no one has to worry about driving. It’s a great way to take pictures and videos too. Please note that no food or drink is allowed on the trolley, and since the trolley is heated and enclosed you may want to dress in layers.

Image courtesy of Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights

Not to be outdone by its neighbor to the south, Pigeon Forge puts on its own celebratory display of lights every winter for you to enjoy. Pigeon Forge no longer offers a trolley tour of the lights, instead you can download a free map of the Winterfest lights so that you can navigate through the lights on your own. Also, you can pick up a free copy of the Driving Tour of Lights map and brochure at any Pigeon Forge Welcome Center.

There are more than 5 million lights on display throughout Pigeon Forge, and many of them are located on the Pigeon Forge Parkway that runs through the center of town. You can also visit Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas to get a dose of holiday cheer – and a few million more lights. And there’s a stunning collection of lights at Patriot Park, just northeast of Parkway.

The Pigeon Forge Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights kicks off on November 7 this year, and you have until February 28, 2018 to take it all in. Because this is a self-driving tour, it’s perfect for families who like to plan their own routes and schedules, travel with pets in the car, or have small children who may be uncomfortable on longer trolley rides.

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge aren’t the only sources of holiday lights in the area, by the way. Stay tuned here for more details on all of the holiday lights and light shows in the area.

No matter which town you prefer when it comes to winter festivities, we have a cabin that’s perfect for you in either location. Check out our Gatlinburg cabin rentals and our Pigeon Forge cabins, and call us anytime at 855-91-SMOKY.



About Tony Perez

Tony Perez

I'm a people person, and I enjoy the atmosphere that working with Cabins Of The Smoky Mountains entails, interacting with different types of people and trying to relate to each one uniquely. From Michigan originally, I've been coming to the Smoky Mountains since I was a child, with family in Wears Valley. Summer fun for me is exploring the Cades Cove area, swimming in the creeks, and hiking Mount LeConte and many other trails. I love the Smoky Mountains.