Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail in Pigeon Forge, TN Lights Up Winterfest

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The new Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail in Pigeon Forge, TN, less than three hours from Greenville, SC, is part of the three-month-long Winterfest that happens every year in East Tennessee. The Riverwalk debuted in the 2022-23 season and is set to be installed every year!

For those not familiar with Winterfest in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, it is a months-long festival in the area that has more than six million lights to delight visitors. The festival starts in November and runs through February and encompasses not only free holiday lights around town but also holiday-themed shows, attractions, and other entertainment for the whole family.

The newest installment of Winterfest is the Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail, a free walk-through light display that has several access points along the river in Pigeon Forge. I visited towards the tail end of Winterfest in late January 2023 and it was perfection because the Christmas crowds had come and gone and the town was in one of its rare down times. It was awesome. And it’s back for the 2023-2024 season!

Winterfest will run November 9, 2023 – February 18, 2024.

Riverwalk at Winterfest in Pigeon Forge

The New Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail

The trail runs from Pigeon Forge Municipal Parking Lot, which is at 2936 Teaster Lane between the LeConte Center and The Island in Pigeon Forge along the Riverwalk Greenway to Patriot Park, which is about a mile-and-a-half one way. There are more than 40 light displays along the paved path, including light tunnels (my favorite). It’s really neat and such a lovely display of lights.

We parked at the Island of Pigeon Forge to start at the beginning and before long, my kids and I were surrounded by blue and white sparkling lights that made a tunnel. Then we saw a huge display that looked like a fountain of lights with snowmen, stars, and snow mounds followed by blue and white stars hung high along the path and then a giant 52-foot long caterpillar – it was quite sparkly.

There are butterflies, shooting stars, deer, bears, squirrels, and all kinds of imaginative and fun characters along the way. My kids, ages 12 and 8, and I really enjoyed it.

Accessing the Walking Trail

So there are several access points along the route if you only want to do a part of it. A handy map can be found here that is very helpful.

Winterfest Riverwalk Pigeon Forge Caterpillar

Access points include where we started at the Island at Pigeon Forge, the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, Patriot Park, the city’s Municipal Parking Lot, and the Old Mill. The entire path is paved so it is handicap and stroller-accessible. It’s also pet-friendly as long as pets are kept on a leash.

Visiting the Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail

There is no charge to visit the Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail in Pigeon Forge, which is awesome. Thank you to the City of Pigeon Forge!

You can walk the trail from November 9, 2023 – February 18, 2024.

After you walk the trail, you can visit the Island at Pigeon Forge, where you can ride the Great Smoky Mountain Sky Wheel, fly over the country at SkyFly America, enjoy shopping and dining, and watch the water light show. There are free trolleys available from the parking lot to the Island.

Island at Pigeon Forge at Night

For other things to do during Winterfest, we have a big story on it. Just note that once Christmas is over, most of the shows take a short break through January. There are plenty of other things to do in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area. For places to stay, see our reviews on several awesome spots in the area for families.

About the Author
Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer. Originally from New Jersey, she is in love with the Upstate and could not imagine raising her kids anywhere else. She enjoys hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, camping, cooking, and exploring all that Greenville has to offer. And she really loves baby goats. Follow her on Instagram at @scadventurer.

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