Riding Bikes in the Great Smoky Mountains

park-bikesBicycles can travel on most roads within the Great Smoky Mountains. 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. Cades Cove Loop Road is an exception. The 11-mile one way road, is a popular bicycling area. It provides bicyclists withexcellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and touring 19th century home sites. During summer and fall, bicycles may be rented at the Cades Cove store (located near Cades Cove Campground). For information 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 theFoothills Parkway in Tennessee.

Safety is always a major concern where cars and bicycles must share the road. The State of Tennesseerequires 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 MountainsNational 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.