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View of Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains

Where to Take the Most Scenic Ride Through the Great Smoky Mountains

The fall season is quickly approaching, and that means the beautiful fall colors are making their way into the Smoky Mountains. Maybe you don’t want to go hiking in the Smokies when you’re visiting, but you’re looking for the perfect way to see the fall colors and be outdoors?

If you want to see the Smokies and spend a little time outdoors, taking a bike ride is the best idea! Unfortunately, there are no real mountain biking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but all park roads are open to bicyclists. The roads in the national park are tricky to ride on, though, so unless you’re a regular bicyclist, we don’t recommend braving the national park roads.

(See Related: Don’t Miss This Inside Look: CLIMB Works Mountain Biking in Gatlinburg)

Take a look at these Smoky Mountain bike trails where anyone is welcome to ride a bike and enjoy the mountain scenery. (We also think these are some of the safest routes, too!)

Cades CoveBicycle sitting by a tree in the Great Smoky Mountains

Cades Cove is, by far, the best place to ride a bike in the Smokies! Early on Saturdays and Wednesdays, until 10 a.m., the Cades Cove Loop Road is only open to bicyclists, walkers and runners. What makes this so great is that there aren’t any cars getting in the way, and there aren’t large crowds.

When you ride your bike around Cades Cove, you can experience the 11 mile loop road before all of the people start heading into the mountains. Plus, the early morning hours are some of the most beautiful in the national park–the dense fog, the bright trees as the sun comes up. Even better, when you start your day early and make your way through Cades Cove during those morning hours, you will have the rest of your day completely free to explore.

Typically, Cades Cove is really busy, and it can take hours to make it around the loop road. We would normally suggest planning to spend an entire day at Cades Cove, but if you’re going to take part in this Great Smoky Mountain bike trail, it won’t take you near as long to complete the loop.

You may also like to read 8 Shocking Secrets of Cades Cove You Won’t Believe before you visit!

Dark sky hovering over Cades CoveGatlinburg Trail

Another one of the Great Smoky Mountain bike trails that’s perfect for families is the Gatlinburg Trail. This is one of only two pet friendly trails, and one of the few trails where it’s easy to ride a bike!

This trail is only about 2 miles in length from Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Gatlinburg area. There are views of a river that flows alongside the trail, and there are also some historical structures to see. The trail is flat and easy for bicycle riders of all ages.

For more information about the Smoky Mountain biking trails, take a look at the National Park Service website.

Make sure, when you are biking on the trails, that you stay aware of all of the vehicles or other bikers around you. When you are at Cades Cove, you may stumble across some wildlife, so be careful of that, too.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you ever been on any of the Smoky Mountain biking trails? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below this post!