4 Must See Churches in Pigeon Forge TN and the National Park
If you are planning a church group retreat to the Smokies and are interested in history, you’ll want to see some of the unique churches in the area! You will be surprised that one of these churches is found within a theme park of all places, while others are situated within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and offer a fascinating glimpse into the past! Here are 4 must see churches in Pigeon Forge TN and the National Park:
1. Robert F. Thomas Chapel
The Robert F. Thomas Chapel has one of the most unusual locations for a church, as it is situated within Dollywood theme park! This one room country chapel is named in honor of the doctor who delivered little Dolly Parton. It features simple wooden pews and hardwood floors that echo with the sounds of families and neighbors as they join for Sunday morning worship! You can join one of the worship services too, which take place on Sundays at 11:30 AM during the regular season and Sundays at 5:30 PM during Smoky Mountain Christmas. Note that since the chapel is located within Dollywood, paid theme park admission is required to access the church.
2. Primitive Baptist Church
Another one of the must see churches in Pigeon Forge TN and the National Park is the Primitive Baptist Church, which was the first of three churches established in the Cades Cove section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Before the Primitive Baptist Church was established in 1827, Cades Cove residents had to travel through the Smokies to Millers and Wears Cove to attend a Sunday service. After a period of time, a conflict arose over biblical interpretation, which caused the Cades Cove Baptists to rename their church as a means to distinguish it from Baptists with other beliefs. This white frame church is the first church that you will find along Cades Cove Loop Road and is on the road to the left just after passing the John Oliver Cabin.
3. Methodist Church
If you are already on the Cades Cove Loop Road to see the Primitive Baptist Church, simply proceed a bit further on the road to see the Methodist Church! While Methodists were active in Cades Cove as early as the 1820s, this church wasn’t built until 1902. It took 115 days for the church to be constructed at the cost of $115. While visiting the church, take note of the unusual design of the two front doors. This was done so that men could enter and sit on one side of the chapel, while women and children could enter and sit on the other side of the chapel.
4. Missionary Baptist Church
You probably won’t be surprised to know that one of the other must see churches in Pigeon Forge and the National Park is also situated on Cades Cove Loop Road! The Missionary Baptist Church was born from the split in the Cades Cove Baptist Church known as the Anti-Division Split. Since Pastor John Adams and other congregation members originally had no set meeting place, they established this church in 1841. They were able to build their own structure on Hyatt Hill in 1884, but a new church was built in 1915 due to the growth of the congregation. This is the building that you can visit along the Cades Cove Loop Road today and it’s the last church on the loop.
Stay close to these fascinating churches in Pigeon Forge TN and the National Park with a retreat at our large cabins for church groups! We look forward to welcoming you to the Smokies!