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Considering not taking I-40 exit #407, Hwy 66 into Sevierville/P.F. if arriving for the weekend on Friday afternoon or you are likely to drive into serious stop and go for the last few miles. There continues to be heavy construction along this road into Sevierville and it is down to only two lanes each direction in much of the area.
As you get into Sevierville and the downtown area intersection ( locals call it Malfunction Junction) a good way to proceed is to head north on Hwy 411 a couple miles out to Veterans Highway which will take you all the way into Pigeon Forge. There is also a route to the south of the parkway but you'll need a local map to follow it.
Here's the way you should go to get to Wears Valley from I-75. When you approach Knoxville, DO NOT take the I-640, but instead head toward I-75 South. Once headed that way, take exit #386 off I-75 to Hwy 129 south. Continue on Hwy 129 to Maryville, then take a right on Hwy 321 toward Townsend. Once you're on Hwy 321, simply follow it to Wears Valley, being sure to take the left turn in Townsend to continue on Hwy 321. An alternative from Maryville you can take Hwy 411 into Sevierville but this will lead you into some heavy traffic if your destination is not out that way.
This route won't be too much longer for you distance-wise, but will save you a ton on time and gas.
Driving from points west on I-81
When you reach the split at I-81 and I-40, take the I-40 East direction toward Newport and Asheville. Then, take either exit #435 at Newport or #440 to reach Hwy 321. Once on Hwy 321, follow it into Gatlinburg, then head north down the spur to P.F.
Just remember that this is the Smoky Mountains National Park, there is going to be a lot of traffic but the city has made MAJOR improvements in getting around and want you to come and enjoy all Sevier County has to offer.
The car shows, Dollywood, the restaurants, the theaters, and don't forget if you stay on the main road all the way from I-40 through Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, through the Smoky Mountains you will end up in Cherokee, North Carolina? All without ever getting off the main road.
Cherokee is something to see, they have a lot of shops that have the same type of items that Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have but less expensive, and they have Cherokee's Harrahs Casino...
So ya'll come on down, enjoy their Southern Hospitality and get away from it all.... See ya soon!
Driving into Pigeon Forge from the direction of Chattanooga
The time of day you'll be arriving may and probably should influence your decision about which route to take. Rush hour in Knoxville should be avoided if possible. Many perfer to take the highway 321 exit at Lenoir City and follow it's winding route into the city and get into the mountain vacation mood while they make the final leg of their trip. If you are undecided which route you choose one poster offered a first hand data that may help you make the decision.
Route 1 via Hwy 321: took 1 hr 17 min with a total distance of 56 miles and was driven on a Sunday evening from 5:30 pm to 6:47 pm with medium to light traffic
Route 2 is via I-75/I-40/Hwy 66: took 57 min with a total of 57 miles and was driven from Pigeon Forge on Monday am from 8:38 am to 9:35 am with medium to light traffic. I-40 has was open eliminating the bypass used for past year or so.
As you can see I-40 took 20 minutes less than hwy 321 on these particular days. However should you be coming in at peak times such as Friday afternoon the traffic into Pigeon Forge via route 66 will probably be heavy enough to eat up those 20 minutes and some but most believe that any other time of the week it is clearly 'faster' to go through Knoxville.
One final thing to consider is if you are traveling in or pulling a RV it is not a good idea to take hwy 321 into the city as several curves and one particular switchback is not suited for it. Coming south from Pigeon Forge the switchback is more friendly but still not a good idea.
** Note: The original information for this page came from the following thread: