Mountain biking in the Smokies - It's a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and land a great workout at the same time! Anytime is a good time to go! There are plenty of places in the Smokies to rent bicycles, or if you'd rather, bring your own! This is a good idea, especially for the kids since it gives them an opportunity to ride their own bikes.
Most roads in the Smokies are suitable, however, these mountain roads can be steep at times.
If you're looking for a bigger challenge, Cades Cove has a loop road that is 11 miles one way! This area is one of the most beautiful in the Smokies, and mountain biking is popular here! Cycling in Cades Cove is the perfect way to enjoy viewing the amazing wildlife you'll see here. If you're into wildlife, (and a lot of folk are) take your bike and go early to ride the loop! The best mornings to go are Wednesdays and Saturday mornings. That's because the loop road is closed to traffic until 10:00 am giving cyclists, and pedestrians plenty of room to walk, and ride. Traffic closures are May through September.
Other great routes in Tennessee include Tremont, and Greenbrier. If you'd like to ride in North Carolina, head to Lakeview Drive, or Cataloochee Valley.
In riding areas where you must share roads with vehicle traffic, safety is an important issue, especially for children! It's the law in the state of Tennessee that children under the age of 17 wear helmets, however, it is highly recommended that everyone wear a helmet. It's important to have a bike you're comfortable with, and you must obey all traffic rules.
Mountain biking trails are located outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, however, there are three in which bicycles are allowed. These are the Deep Creek Trail, the Gatlinburg Trail, and the Oconaluftee River Trail.
There are other places to ride outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the most popular is "Bike The Smokies" in Gatlinburg. These electric bicycles do the work while you enjoy all the beauty these mountains have to offer. You can pedal normally for all the exercise you need. However, if it becomes to much just turn the throttle and let the bike do the rest. It's a great way to get exercise, fresh air, and have lots of fun!
If you need further information on any of these areas, you can call the Cherokee National Forest at (423) 476-9700, Big South Fork National River Area at (423) 286-7275, or Chattahoochee National Forest at (770) 297-3000. Wherever you choose to go mountain biking, you can believe that these Great Smoky Mountains is the excellent place to see and do it all while cycling!