A major paving project that will result in one-lane closures on the Spur, the stretch of forest between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, kicked-off last Monday. The project is scheduled to run through mid-June, but will be paused from April 6th until April 23rd due to the heavy traffic of the Easter holiday.
What’s Being Done to the Spur?
Estes Brothers Construction, Inc. of Jonesville, VA will carry out the contract for $6,388,630. They will make paving repairs on both sides of the highway, in addition to the crossover bridges at Gum Stand, King Branch, Gnatty Branch, Huskey Grove, Flat Branch, Wiley Oakley, and Little Smoky Roads.
The contractors will mill and replace the asphalt surface on the roadway, pulloffs, and crossover bridges. They will also install concrete curb and gutter in areas of the sholder, freshen up the roadway markings, and replace traffic signs.
The project is managed by the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Division Office of Eastern Federal Lands in conjunction with the National Park Service.
How Paving Will Affect Traffic
Visitors crossing the Spur will see single-lane closures day and night for the majority of the contract. They won’t be working on holidays or on weekends from noon on Friday until Monday morning. In addition, side roads feeding into the highway may be periodically closed. As previously stated, work will pause from April 6 until April 23 for the Easter holiday season.
Two Alternative Routes to Gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge
While taking the Spur to Gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge is the most direct route, there are other ways. These alternative routes take longer, but are beautiful scenic drives, and take you through areas you may miss if you stick to the main strip.
Via Upper Middle Creek Rd. Through the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
This is the go-to alternative when it comes to getting to Gatlinburg via Pigeon Forge. This is the route our own staff most often takes when we’re heading to the mountains! While the road does twist and turn, it is perfectly safe if you drive the speed limit.
Upper Middle Creek Rd. to Boogertown Rd.
From the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, take Dollywood Ln. You’ll cross a bridge and pass by RiverStone Resort and Spa on your right and the Chamber of Commerce to your left. Afterwards, take your first right onto Upper Middle Creek Rd. Continue on Upper Middle Creek Rd. for around 6 miles before taking a right onto Boogertown Rd. You’ll know you’re close to the turn when you pass by the BBQ place with the pig mailbox to your right.
Boogertown Rd. to Glades Rd.
Once you get on Boogertown Rd., you’ll begin a twisting and turning journey through the mountainous rural areas of the Smokies. You’ll pass by several farms and local houses. Be sure to drive the speed limit! There are several children that live in the homes along this route, and driving above the speed limit can be very dangerous on mountain roads. Boogertown Rd. eventually turns into Powdermill Rd. before feeding into Glades Rd.
Glades Rd., the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, and East Parkway
When you arrive on Glades Rd., you are officially on the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Trail loop. It is the largest artist collective in the United States, and represents more than 100 different shops! The loop begins on East Parkway, and continues along Buckhorn Rd. and Glades Rd. before feeding back onto East Parkway. When you arrive on Glades Rd. you’ll be right across the street from a signature shop of the trail: Cliff Dwellers Gallery. Cliff Dwellers features the art of over 30 different artists specializing in everything from watercolors to woodworking to fabric arts and more! They also offer demos in the shop, so be sure to stop by!
Cliff Dwellers in GatlinburgCliff Dwellers has a little something for everyone who loves arts and crafts! Be sure to check out this eclectic shop in Gatlinburg’s Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Trail
Posted by Pigeon Forge Chamber on Monday, January 30, 2017
There are dozens of other shops to check out along the trail, with lots of parking, for you and the family to get out and enjoy. Be sure to check out some of the other awesome shops along the trail that are members of the chamber as well! If you’re ready to get into Gatlinburg, though, take a right onto Glades Rd., which will eventually take you to East Parkway. From here, take another right, which will take you directly to the main strip of Gatlinburg!
Via Wears Valley and Old State Highway 73 Scenic
This detour will take you 47 min in total, so it is definitely the longest option on our list. But, this route will take you through Wears Valley, a must-see area of the Smokies, and down one of the most scenic drives in the area!
Wears Valley Rd. to Lyons Springs Rd.
Starting form Pigeon Forge, take Wears Valley Rd. and travel 10.2 miles before taking Lyon Springs Rd. to your left. On this drive you’ll pass by some awesome shops to check out. Honeysuckle Rose Boutique is an elclectic and elegant shop that offers everything from gormet cheese to designer bags.
Virtual Tour of Honeysuckle Rose BoutiqueTake a tour of the elegant Honeysuckle Rose Boutique – found on the Quiet Side of the Smokies in Wears Valley, TN, this shop offers an eclectic and ever-evolving selection of goods
Posted by Pigeon Forge Chamber on Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Right down the road from Honeysuckle Rose Boutique, you’ll find one of the best outdoor shops in the Smokies: GSM Outfitters. They have everything you need to prepare for a day in the National Park, an great in-house coffee shop, and lots of advice about the best trails!
Virtual Tour of GSM Outfitters LLCLooking for the perfect place to grab some gear for your next outdoor adventure? GSM Outfitters LLC offers top quality products and has a coffee shop on site 😀
Posted by Pigeon Forge Chamber on Thursday, September 8, 2016
Another must-visit location on this drive is Tennessee XXX Moonshine Distillery. They are a small-batch moonshine producer nestled in the Smokies that draws inspiration from the long history of moonshine in the area. You can try free samples at their location or tour their distillery!
Virtual Tour of Tennessee XXX MoonshineTennessee XXX Moonshine is a small-batch moonshine producer based out of Wears Valley, TN – be sure to stop by to try some authentic Tennessee moonshine 😀
Posted by Pigeon Forge Chamber on Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Lyons Springs Rd. to Old State Highway 73 Scenic
Take Lyons Springs Rd. South and it will eventually turn into Wear Cove Gap Rd. The road will cross the Little River, and you’ll pass by the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. This is a great spot to stop and have a family lunch.
From Metcalf Bottoms, the road will twist and turn alongside the Little River, taking through the Little River Gorge. About halfway down Old State Highway 73 Scenic / Little River Gorge Rd. you’ll pass by the beautiful Mannis Branch Falls. You can see these falls from your car, but you’ll probably want to get out for a good photo.
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Fighting Creek Gap Rd. to Gatlinburg
The road eventually reaches a fork in the road, with Elkmont Rd. to your right and Fighting Creek Gap Rd. to the left. Taking Elkmont Rd. is a fun detour, as it will take you to the abandoned Elkmont Community and the Little River Trail.
Take Fighting Creek Gap Rd., which will take you by the entrance to Laurel Falls. Following the road will eventually take you pass the headquarters of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Hwy. 441. Going left from here will take you into Gatlinburg!