Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Create Mountain Biking Trails
Buckle up that helmet and get your feet on those pedals because mountain biking trails are coming to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! The United States’ most visited national park plans to move forward with a proposal to create a bike trail system within the park! We hope you are as excited as us that a brand new recreational activity will be available for Smoky Mountain visitors! Here’s everything to know about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and it’s plans to create mountain biking trails in the park:
What To Expect
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials say that roughly 8 miles of mountain biking trails will be built for biking enthusiasts to enjoy in the Wears Valley portion of the national park! For reference, the national park is currently home to about 800 miles of hiking trails.
Due to the lack of current biking trails in the park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park team searched for ways to allow more biking in the park while simultaneously taking advantage of “new recreational opportunities” in Wears Valley.
How’d We Get Here?
Park officials completed an environmental assessment to find the potential impacts of creating bike trails. The National Park Service came back with a “Finding of No Significant Impact” for this project that is referred to as the “Wears Valley Mountain Biking Trail System.” The National Park Service explored alternatives and environmental impacts associated with the proposal in the Wears Valley portion of Foothills Parkway Section 8D.
Planning efforts way back between 1968 and 1984 determined that Foothills Parkway Section 8D was one of the most desirable areas for recreational development within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
After exploring alternatives and considering public comments, the National Park Service selected “alternative 3 (Proposed Action and NPS preferred alternative) for the development of a mountain bike trail system if construction and annual operational monies become available.”
Under this alternative plan, the national park would create a mountain bike trail system featuring 4.2 miles of easy trail, 2.9 miles of moderate trail and 4.7 miles of advanced trail for a total of 11.8 miles of biking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For folks to access the trailhead, a 0.93-mile access road would need to be built. Other amenities at the trailhead are to include a bike wash and repair station, restrooms and picnic tables!
Other Activities in the National Park
Be active AND see the very best of the Smokies when you visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! The national park is home to numerous hiking trails for folks of all different skill levels and experience. Bring the whole family along for a day full of fun, adventure and beauty!
You’ll find several waterfalls in the national park if you spend a day exploring! One of the most beautiful sights in all of the park is the awesome Smoky Mountain waterfalls! If you’d rather not hike in or want an easier trip, these are great Smoky Mountain waterfalls that you can drive to.
It’s time to cast a line in this beautiful mountain country! The Smoky Mountains are home to a diverse fish population and this activity is both fun and relaxing. Before you go, check out everything to know about fishing in the Smoky Mountains!
We know these mountain biking trails will be a great addition to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Did you know: more changes are on the way for the park! The national park plans to institute parking fees in March. Learn more about the Smoky Mountain parking fees so you’re prepared for your next visit.