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How Did ‘The Spur’ Get Its Name?

Road in the Smoky Mountains in the fallWe’ve all driven on it. You would know what it is as soon as you saw it. Commonly referred to by locals and visitors alike, The Spur is the road that connects travelers from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg, and vice versa. It is the road that cuts through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and is lined with vibrant trees and a beautiful mountain stream. But the question remains, how did this popular roadway earn it’s name?

Its Shape

It’s no secret that both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge were settled by early pioneers in the early 1800’s, and spurs were a common accessory to anyone who rode a horse at the time. If you imagine the Gatlinburg Parkway as the rowels of the spur, and the roads as the heel straps, it is easy to see how this accessory was the source of inspiration for the roadway. The two lanes of traffic travelers use are next to each other while on the Gatlinburg Parkway, but then branch out from each other once you enter The Spur.

Its Definition

One of the definitions to the word spur is “something that makes you want to do something, or that causes something to happen.” Since this short five-mile roadway takes travelers through a short sample of the stunning mountain scenery that can only be found in the Smoky Mountains, it’s not a far stretch to think that this road was named after the inspiration it gives visitors. Not only do guests get to preview the relaxing scenery their soon-to-be enjoyed vacation has to offer when arriving to Gatlinburg, but the guests leaving are inspired to return soon as they wave goodbye to their beloved mountains.

Its Use

If you look at the definition of a spur road, you are likely to find a description of a typically short road forming a branch from a longer, more important route. These types of roads are different from a bypass because they usually always reconnect with the same major road. Ok, so this is more likely than not the true story behind how The Spur got its name because it connects the Pigeon Forge Parkway to the Gatlinburg Parkway. The problem with this answer is typically spur routes are branches off major interstates, and the Gatlinburg Spur is a branch off a highway. Does this mean the mystery remains unsolved?

Honking Your Horn on the Spur

When you drive on the spur, you’ll notice many people honking their horn through the tunnel! It’s just tradition, so be sure you join in!

What are your thoughts on what the ‘inspuration’ was for this popular mountain route? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page!

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