There’s a small town in northeastern Illinois a few hours out of Chicago called Galena. Galena is a small quaint little town with antique shops, bed and breakfasts, and a variety of unique eateries. This was also home to Ulysses S Grant for a period of his life. Because of this historical importance one weekend a year either in August or September Galena becomes the target for 3000-5000 Boy Scouts from Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa attending the Grant Pilgrimage. If you were heading to Galena on this weekend for a romantic getaway your plans were just dashed. Something similar happens in the Smoky Mountains area from time to time and it’s important for you to know when not to visit the Smoky Mountains if you want to avoid, endless traffic, crowds of people and really loud cars. Yes, I’m talking about the variety of car shows that occur all along the parkway especially the “Rod Runs”.
If you’re a car enthusiast by all means come on down and visit! If you don’t want to be stuck in traffic behind loud smelly cars (some are really smelly) then you want to avoid the Rod Run Weekends that occur in April and September.
If you’ve been to the Smokies you’re aware of the parkway and all the parking lots along that strip, now imagine all of those parking lots filled with hot rods, trucks, people in folding chairs lining the street like a parade route. The sidewalks are filled with people walking plus; scooters, electric wheel chairs (Rascals?), bicyclists all moving up and down trying to view the cars.
Then there is the traffic….it’s endless. Trying to go from Titanic to the Aquarium is the time equivalent of flying from Chicago to LA. Pack a lunch, you’ll need it. Locate the recirculate button on your dashboard, you’ll thank me later. Put in ear plugs when going through the tunnel on the spur, that seems to the place to find out just how loud your car is.
So, when are the times not to visit the Smoky Mountains to avoid all this? Here are the dates:
- Pigeon Forge Rod Run- Spring: Fri, Apr 16, 10 AM – Sun, Apr 18, 8 AM EDT
- Shades of the Past Car Show: Fri, Sep 10 – Sat, Sep 11
- Pigeon Forge Rod Run- Fall: Sep 10, 10 AM – Sep 19, 8 AM EDT
There are other car shows but these are the big ones that really cause the most havoc on tourists who don’t share this particular interest. Here is a list of those other shows: Car Shows
Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in? Check out our sample itineraries: https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/
If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.
Thank you for reading. If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.