bicycles sitting in Cades Cove
May 19, 2022

One of the best ways to explore the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is on a bicycle! There is nothing like the fresh mountain breeze in your face as you pedal through the park and stop to enjoy some of the spectacular scenery! While bikes are not permitted on most trails, you can ride them on nearly every road in the park! Here are the top 3 places that you should visit for the best biking in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Cades Cove Loop Road

Cade Cove Loop Road

Cades Cove Loop Road is a popular destination for biking in the Smoky Mountains because it contains just about everything you might want to see in the park, including a wide variety of historical structures! The 11 mile loop road also offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the park, so keep your binoculars handy as you never know what you might spot in the distance! You can pick up a self-guided tour booklet at the entrance to the loop, and there is a handy visitor center located at the halfway point with a bookstore, public restrooms and bottled water for sale. While you’ll normally share Cades Cove Loop Road with vehicular traffic, summer visitors can take advantage of vehicle free days every Wednesday!

2. Greenbrier Section of the Park

Another one of the places that you should visit for the best biking in the Smoky Mountains is the Greenbrier section of the park! Although bikes are allowed on most park roads, many are not particularly well suited for safe riding due to steep terrain, narrow road surfaces and heavy automobile traffic. The Greenbrier section of the park is an exception, as it is considered an off-the-beaten-path area with far fewer visitors! This area is also home to Ramsey Cascades, one of the best waterfalls in the Smokies! If you are lucky enough to be cycling during the spring months, you’ll also be treated to some stunning wildflower displays!

3. Gatlinburg Trail

Gatlinburg Trail in the Smoky Mountains

The Gatlinburg Trail is just one of two trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where bikes are permitted, so don’t miss this beautiful path on your cycling itinerary! The trail travels for 1.9 miles one way from the outskirts of Gatlinburg TN to the Sugarlands Visitor Center, making it an easy ride if you’re already staying in downtown Gatlinburg! It is a relatively flat trail, and you’ll have the opportunity to discover the foundations and chimneys of several old homesites along your journey. Since the path runs through the forest along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, you’ll also get to enjoy plenty of fabulous views of the river! Note that the other trail where bikes are permitted in the park is the Oconaluftee River Trail, which leads into the park from the outskirts of Cherokee, NC.

Now that you know where to visit for the best biking in the Smoky Mountains, learn more about biking in the Smokies, plus discover where you can find local bike rentals and more! You won’t want to miss the unique opportunity to explore the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by bike!