When the weather cools off each fall, folks in the Smokies start looking for more ways to spend time outdoors. Cycling is a great option for all ages. Bicycles can travel on most roads within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, due to steep terrain, narrow road surfaces, and heavy automobile traffic, many park roads are not well suited for safe and enjoyable bicycle riding. Always wear a helmet and use safety gear!
Cades Cove Loop Road is an exception. The 11-mile one way road, is a popular bicycling area. It provides bicyclists with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and touring 19th century homesites.
During summer and fall, bicycles may be rented at the Cades Cove Campground Store (located near Cades Cove Campground). For information on bicycle rentals and hours of operation, please call (865) 448-9034.
Beginning the second week in May, the loop road is closed to motor vehicle traffic Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove. This closure continues through the second-to-last Saturday in September.
Other areas suitable for bicyclists include Greenbrier and Tremont roads in Tennessee, and Lakeview Drive, and Cataloochee Valley in North Carolina. Cyclists may also traverse unfinished portions of the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee. Download a park map to locate these areas.
Safety is always a major concern where cars and bicycles must share the road. The State of Tennessee requires that children age 16 and under wear a helmet. We strongly recommend that all riders wear helmets, use rear view mirrors, and ride properly fitted and well-maintained bicycles. Please obey all traffic regulations.
There are no mountain biking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Gatlinburg Trail, the Oconaluftee River Trail, and the lower Deep Creek Trail are the only park trails on which bicycles are allowed. Bicycles are prohibited on all other park trails.
Mountain biking trails are open on national forest and recreation lands outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For information on mountain biking in these areas, please contact the following offices:
Chattahoochee National Forest (770) 297-3000
Cherokee National Forest (423) 476-9700
Nantahala National Forest (828) 257-4200
Pisgah National Forest (828) 257-4200
Big South Fork National River Area (423) 286-7275
Mount Rogers Nat’l Recreation Area (800) 628-7207
This blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.