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Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN - and Anakeesta!

Hi, Michelle Fontaine for “RVing Today TV,” and today we explore the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee area. We stayed at the Pigeon Forge KOA and made our way into Gatlinburg, which is only seven miles away, nine miles from this campground. We really like this KOA. Good attention to detail, nice amenities, and this is what we did this time. We chose a back-in site, $62 a night, as you’d expect for a tourist area, and right in back of these RVs is a nice stream actually called the Little Pigeon River.

The other thing we really like about this is notice this park that adjoins the Pigeon Forge KOA. There’s an access point through the fence down near the waterway, and you can walk your dog or take a walk, and right over there on the other side of that park is the Old Mill Restaurant. 

In addition to the Old Mill Restaurant, you’ll find shops and places like the Pottery House Cafe and Grille, the Old Mill Creamery, the Old Mill Candy Kitchen, the General Store, the Farmhouse Kitchen,  the Pigeon River Pottery, and the Old Forge Distillery, just to name a few, all within very easy walking distance, also where you can park for free at the trolley office and catch the trolley to enjoy the sights in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, all for a very low cost.

The next morning we drove to Gatlinburg, which is nine miles from the Pigeon Forge KOA, also a great destination. On this day, we were heading to Anakeesta and the Firefly Village at the top. So come along and enjoy with us.

We’re in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and we’re going up to Anakeesta. There’s a couple of campgrounds.Twin Creeks is only 2.1 miles from Anakeesta, which is right in the center of Gatlinburg. And Pigeon Forge KOA where we are is about nine miles. It took us about 25 minutes so just plan accordingly.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is the nearest city to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is visited by 11 million people a year. This is, according to Anakeesta, the world’s only Chondola where guests choose to ride in an open-air four-passenger chair, which we did, or an enclosed gondola cabin which holds up to six people. On a nice day, the scenic, gentle, open-air ride takes you to the whimsical Firefly Village, which is 600 feet from the base of the mountain.

We recommend that you skip the long ticket line, and buy those tickets online. It’s $24.99 per adult, and then it goes down. Seniors over 60 and children get a reduced rate, and three years old and under are free. You can also take the Ridge Rambler. It’s also included in the admission price, and get a guided tour through the forest up to the summit.

And we’re here at Anakeesta, which is at the top of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Anakeesta is a Cherokee Indian word meaning place of the balsams, or place of high ground. AnaVista Tower is downtown Gatlinburg’s highest point. It’s surrounded by Vista Gardens. The tower has 84 steps, and from this top, you can see as far as Kentucky.

This is called the TreeVenture Challenge Course, where kids or kids of heart can climb, swing, crawl, and slide through three levels of tree houses. The Treetop Skywalk is the longest skywalk in North America with 880 feet of spectacular hanging bridges suspended 50 to 60 feet in the air.

How about this? A dueling zip line, 2,600 feet through the canopy, side by side with family and friends. One and a half hours is $44.99, plus admission. The price of these two tickets was, I think, about $42, well, well worth it. Lots of things to do up there.