• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Bicycling

Cades Cove Loop Road is closed to motor vehicles on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in summer to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove.

Photo by Don McGowan courtesy of Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Bicycles can travel on most roads within the park. However, due to steep terrain, narrow road surfaces, and heavy automobile traffic, many park roads are not well suited for safe and enjoyable bicycle riding.

Cades Cove Loop Road is an exception. The 11-mile one way road, is a popular bicycling area. It provides bicyclists with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and touring 19th century homesites. During summer and fall, bicycles may be rented at the Cades Cove Campground Store (located near Cades Cove Campground). For information call (865) 448-9034.

From early May until late September each year, the loop road is closed to motor vehicle traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove.

Other areas suitable for bicyclists include the roads in the Greenbrier and Tremont areas in Tennessee, and the Cataloochee Valley and Lakeview Drive in North Carolina. Download a park map to locate these areas.

Safety is always a major concern where cars and bicycles must share the road. The State of Tennessee requires that children age 16 and under wear a helmet. We strongly recommend that all riders wear helmets, use rear view mirrors, and ride properly fitted and well-maintained bicycles. Please obey all traffic regulations.

 

There are no mountain biking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Gatlinburg Trail, the Oconaluftee River Trail, and the lower Deep Creek Trail are the only park trails on which bicycles are allowed. Bicycles are prohibited on all other park trails.

Mountain biking trails are open on national forest and recreation lands outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For information on mountain biking in these areas, please contact the following offices:

Chattahoochee National Forest (770) 297-3000
Cherokee National Forest (423) 476-9700
Nantahala National Forest (828) 257-4200
Pisgah National Forest (828) 257-4200
Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (423) 286-7275
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (800) 628-7207

The Tsali Recreation Area in Nantahala National Forest (listed above) is a popular mountain biking area.

 

Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park's official online store for books, maps, and guides to the park. Operated by the nonprofit Great Smoky Mountains Association, proceeds generated by purchases at the store are donated to educational, scientific, and historical projects in the park.

Did You Know?

Fall leaf colors are most vivid at low to mid elevations.

About 100 native tree species make their home in Great Smoky Mountains National Park—more than in all of northern Europe. The park also contains one of the largest blocks of old-growth temperate deciduous forest in North America. More...