Biking in the Smoky Mountains

Biking in the Smoky Mountains is a popular activity in certain areas, but bicycles are not permitted on the majority of the trails in the national park. However, there are many popular areas for road biking and a few places around the park for mountain biking. Find more information on the NPS website.

Cades Cove Loop

The 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road is the most popular route for biking within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This loop provides bicyclists with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and touring of 19th century home sites. Deer and black bear are often sighted along the way. You can also identify over 1,500 plant species through the changing seasons.

Cades Cove

Vehicle Free Wednesdays

To allow bicyclists and pedestrians the enjoyment of Cades Cove without traffic, the loop road is closed to motor vehicles on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from sunup until 10:00 am beginning the second week in May and continuing through the second-to-last Saturday in September. If the 11 mile loop proves too grueling, take Sparks or Hyatt Lanes, which cut across the cove to shorten the journey. These roads will eliminate most of the hills on the loop; however, you will miss some points of interest, such as the grist mill and visitors center.

Biking In The Smoky Mountains

Other than Cades Cove, the only areas suitable for bicyclists are Greenbrier Cove east of Gatlinburg, near the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, Cataloochee Valley and Lakeview Drive on the North Carolina side of the park. Other than on the Gatlinburg Trail, Oconaluftee River Trail, and part of Deep Creek Trail, bicycles are not permitted on any other hiking trails in the national park.

Great Smoky Mountains
Biking In The Smoky Mountains

Mountain Biking

There are no mountain biking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Gatlinburg Trail, the Oconaluftee River Trail, and the lower Deep Creek Trail are the only trails on which bicycles are allowed. Bicycles are prohibited on all other park trails. Outside of the national park, however, are several national forests and recreation lands where mountin biking is allowed. Notably, the Tsali Recreation Area in the Nantahala National Forest is a great area for mountain biking.

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