Biking the Smokies

If you brought your bike with you into the Smoky Mountains you are in for a treat.  Even though bikes are not allowed on any of the trails in the National Park, there are plenty of places to bike while you are visiting.

  • Biking in Cades CoveCades Cove – This is possibly the most biked area of the GSMNP.  Due to the low elevation and the gentle rise and fall of the roads makes this a great place to bike for the whole family.  You don’t have to be an experienced bicycler to enjoy a trip around the 11 mile loop road in the mountains.  Also, the park service shuts down motor vehicle traffic in Cades Cove on Wednesday and Saturday morning so that the bicyclists have the area to themselves, until noon.
  • Cataloochee – Another great place to take a bike.  The roads inside the valley are flat and give you plenty of space to ride around and enjoy the pristine beauty of this location.  While you ride you will be able to take in the not only the natural beauty but the wildlife that calls this valley home.
  • Newfound Gap Road – Not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced,  if you are a serious ‘biker’ this is a grueling uphill climb from the Sugarlands visitors center to the top of the mountain.  Be sure to keep the drivers in mind and use the pull-offs to keep traffic flowing.
  • Foothills Parkway – The Foothills Parkway has long been a source of consternation to the people of Tennessee, but if you have a bike with you, you will be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place to ride in the mountains.  After a brief climb from Townsend, you will hit a nice relatively straight road that doesn’t see a lot of traffic and is a great place to put some miles on your bike.
And if you are looking to do some mountain biking, don’t be sad because you can’t tackle the trails in the GSMNP.  The state parks and national forest on both sides of the mountains provide plenty of trails that you can get on for the adventure of biking on the mountain.  These areas are designed for mountain biking and you will have room to enjoy yourself while practicing this extreme sport.

If you didn’t bring a bike, there are places where you can rent a bike while you are in the area.  One of the most popular is the Cades Cove Campground Store.  Either while you are staying in the campground or while you are visiting Cades Cove for the day, a bike from the campground store will give you a way to cruise around the campground or to tackle the Cades Cove Loop Road.  Also, if you are in one of the towns around the Smokies and you need an accessory for your bike or a repair, there are a number of bike shops ranging from small mom and pop stores to mountain bike shops that can help you replace a chain or a set of brakes.

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