Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains are one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country! The Smokies and the nearby city of Pigeon Forge are loaded with incredible attractions, breathtaking natural beauty, and fascinating history. Whether you’re a seasoned visitor to the area, or you haven’t vacationed here yet, you’ll appreciate these four fun facts about the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge TN:
1. The “Smoke” in the Smoky Mountains Comes from Trees
The Smoky Mountains get their signature smoky appearance from the area’s vegetation. The “smoke” is actually fog released by the millions of trees and plants that line the mountains. Every plant releases a little vapor when it breathes, and when all of this vapor comes together, it creates the misty appearance that has enthralled humans for centuries.
The Cherokee called the mountains “Shaconage” (Sha-Kon-O-Hey), which means “land of the blue smoke”. The fog in the Smokies can sometimes look blue because the vapor molecules scatter blue light from the sky. This blue haze is also very noticeable in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.
(See Also: Top 4 Scenic Views in the Smoky Mountains)
2. Pigeon Forge is Named After An Extinct Species of Bird
Another one of our favorite facts about the Smoky Mountains is how Pigeon Forge got its name. The “pigeon” in Pigeon Forge is a reference to the passenger pigeon. This species of bird was very common in the Smoky Mountain area, but they were ultimately hunted to extinction, with the last documented passenger pigeon dying in 1914.
The “forge” in Pigeon Forge comes from the city’s iron forge, which was located along the Little Pigeon River. Constructed in 1817 by Isaac Love, this forge was located right next door to The Old Mill. While the original forge no longer exists, a new blacksmith shop currently operates where the city’s iconic forge used to stand.
3. There Are About Two Black Bears Per Square Mile in the Smokies
The black bear is the most beloved mascot of the Smoky Mountain area. Scientists estimate that that there are approximately 1,500 bears living in the national park. This works out to about two bears per square mile! If you would like to safely see a black bear in the wild during your vacation, we suggest driving the Cades Cove loop road or the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Be sure to always stay at least 150 feet away if you happen to encounter a black bear in the park.
4. The Old Mill Used to Provide Electricity for Pigeon Forge
Today, The Old Mill is famous for grinding grain into flour used in the dishes, mixes, and baked goods sold at the shops and restaurants surrounding the mill. However, up until 1935, The Old Mill was Pigeon Forge’s source of electricity! The spinning of the wheel generated enough power for the whole city. Earlier in Pigeon Forge’s history, during the Civil War, The Old Mill was used to power looms that wove uniforms for the Union Army.
Did reading these fun facts about the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge TN make you want to visit? Amazing Views Cabin Rentals is guaranteed to have the perfect property for your next vacation. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of Pigeon Forge cabins!