Bicycling in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Do you think going on vacation means leaving your bicycle at home? That is not the case when you come to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can vacation in the Smokies without leaving your bicycling routine behind!
Bicycling is a fun way to exercise, and many avid bicyclists bring their bike with them. If transporting your bike is not practical, you can rent one after you arrive.
Forget the confines of your car. See the Smokies up close and personal from the seat of a bike. Cover more territory in less time by avoiding long lines of cars.
Bicycle safety is important no matter where you ride. Riding inside the park presents some unique situations, requiring a few rules and regulations.
You may bicycle on most of the roads within the park. However, park administrators have determined that some roads are not suitable for bike riding due to the following conditions.
- The road is too steep
- The road is too narrow
- There is a lot of traffic on the road
These road conditions present challenges for maintaining bicycle safety while navigating park roads. Some roads may be closed for these reasons while others remain open. Consider these factors before heading out on a bike.
IMPORTANT: Helmet laws in Tennessee and North Carolina require children age 16 and under to wear a helmet. Older riders would do well to set an example, be safe, and wear a helmet as well.
Ride bicycles that are the correct size for your height and weight. Ride a well-maintained bike equipped with rear view mirrors. This makes for a safer day in the mountains. Oh, one last reminder…obey the traffic regulations.
IMPORTANT: Riding bicycles on the main roads of Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be dangerous. Consider the curved narrow roads and the high traffic in the summer when determining whether you should ride. Only experienced bikers should ride on these heavily trafficked roads.
Now that we have covered the do and don’ts, here are some good places to ride your bicycle.
Places to Ride Bicycles in the Park
Bicycling in Cades Cove
Cades Cove is a popular place for bicycling in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cades Cove Loop Road is an eleven mile, one-way road meandering through the most popular destination in the park. Your tour of the loop includes opportunity to see wildlife, and to go inside historic homes, churches, etc., built in the 19th century.
Bicycling in Cades Cove | Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The campground store located near the Cades Cove Campground rents bicycles in the summer and fall. Call 865-448-9034 for more information.
Cades Cove access will be motor vehicle-free all day Wednesdays from May4 – September 28, 2022. Hikers, pedestrians, and cyclists will have the opportunity to experience Cades Cove exhaust free and noise free.
So mark your calendars and save these Wednesdays for all the open road exercise and adventure that you can muster.
Bicycling on Park Trails
As a rule, bicycles are not allowed on park trails. On the other hand, bicyclists may enjoy three park trails while riding their bicycles.
Bicycling on Park Trails | Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The three park trails that allow bicycles are Gatlinburg Trail in Tennessee, and the Oconaluftee River Trail, and the lower Deep Creek Trail in North Carolina.
Bicyclists may ride on Gatlinburg and Oconaluftee Trails from end to end.
There are no mountain biking trails in the park.