Great Smoky Mountains National Park | BIKING


Biking is allowed on the roads within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but because of the twists and turns of the mountain roads and the fact that there is no shoulder, road biking is not the best idea. Even the National Park Service advises against it. As for off-road biking, out of approximately 800 miles of trails, only four trails are open to bikes.

Helmets are required by state law in Tennessee and North Carolina for those 16-years-old and younger.

The following is a list of some of the suitable areas for biking.


Cades Cove Loop Road

This 11-mile paved road around Cades Cove is closed to vehicles and only open to hikers and bikers all day long every Wednesday starting in early June and running through the end of September. If you don’t have a bike, you can rent one from the Cades Cove Camp Store. You would think they would be a hot item all year long, but they rarely sell out except on Wednesdays. See the Cades Cove Trading Company website for operating hours and fees. Also keep in mind that the road closure days may change, so be sure to check the National Park Service’s Cades Cove web page for the latest schedule.

Biking is allowed at other times as well, but I advise against it on busy days. The road is narrow and usually jam packed with cars. There is no more than five feet of extra pavement beyond the width of a car, and there are no road shoulders. I suppose you could bike with the traffic, but sometimes cars are barely moving, and you’d be stuck right along with them. Passing slow cars, as pointed out, isn’t a wise idea. Likewise, if traffic is moving fast, there is no way for a car to pass a slower biker unless the biker pulls off the road.

Thursday morning traffic on the Cades Cove Loop Road in late October

Thursday morning traffic on the Cades Cove Loop Road in late October


Deep Creek Loop Hike
Bikes are allowed on the Deep Creek and Indian Creek Trails to a certain point.


Gatlinburg Trail
1.9 mile, one-way trail begins near the Sugarlands Visitor Center.


Oconaluftee River Trail
1.6 mile, one-way trail that begins near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center.

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Last updated on December 18, 2020
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