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Biking in the Smokies


The most popular biking trail in the Smoky Mountains is Cades Cove Loop Road. This 11 mile trail offers scenic mountain beauty. Portions of the trail feature historic cabins and churches, a grist mill, mountain streams, and panoramic vistas. This is a very good paved road. 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. During summer and fall, bicycles may be rented at the Cades Cove Campground Store (located near Cades Cove Campground). For information call (865) 448-9034.


From the Visitor Center in Townsend, turn right and travel 2.9 miles on Hwy 73 to the "Y" intersection. Turn right and travel 6 miles. Parking is available at Cades Cove Store.

From Gatlinburg take Little River Road at Sugarlands Visitor Center. Travel to the “Y” in Townsend (the river makes a “Y”) and follow the sign to Cades Cove.

Another popular biking trail is located in Townsend, TN. The "Shadows of the Past" Historical Trail offers scenic mountain beauty. Portions of the trail run along the river. The trail provides access to great mom and pop restaurants, shops, and motels. Parking is available at both ends of the trail. This is a good paved trail with short hills. It is approximately 9 miles with 3 underpasses and is located on US 321 in Townsend.

Mountain Biking: Climbworks

Bicycling in the National Park:

Bicycles can travel on most roads within the 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.

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.

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 inside 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.

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