Biking in the Smokies
In addition to being a fan of whitewater rafting, are you also a biking enthusiast? Just about everyone wants to experience the joy of breathing in fresh air, exercising without even knowing it, and trying to catch a glimpse of some exotic wildlife that can’t be found in your backyard. Nothing enhances that experience like a family biking adventure in the peaceful, lush views of the Great Smoky Mountains area!
Here are two of the most popular bicycle trails in the Townsend area of the Smokies to get you started on a family cycling journey:
Townsend Bicycle Trail: This paved trail, approximately 4.5 miles in length, is located in Townsend Tennessee, also known as the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies.” It has only a few short, easy hills and is great for cyclists of all levels including older children. It runs parallel to Hwy. US 321 in Townsend, with a portion running along the Little River. This bike trail offers access to restaurants and shops along the way.
Part of the same trail is the historical biking trail called “Shadows of the Past.” It is approximately nine miles on a well-paved trail with short hills. During your ride, be sure to stop by the Townsend Visitors Center and take a break in the rocking chairs on the porch or browse in the shop! Your purchases directly benefit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. View The Townsend Loop and Townsend Bike Trail Route & Directions Guides.
Townsend Bike Rentals:
A.J.’s Restaurant: 865.448.6059
Apple Tree Acres: 865.448.0699
Cades Cove Loop Road: The most well-known biking trail is the Cades Cove Loop, approximately 11 miles, with new pavement. Starting at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park it provides cyclists fantastic opportunities to see wildlife while touring 19th-century cabins, churches, a gristmill, mountain streams, and panoramic vistas. It’s not unusual to see wild turkey, deer, and a black bear or two! Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Loop is closed to cars on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10 a.m. giving bicyclists and hikers unrestricted run of the trail. View the Cades Cove Loop Road Bicycle Route.
Bicycles can be rented at the Cades Cove Bike Shop from April through October. Helmets are $1 for anyone over age 12 and free for those under. Need a baby seat? They have those too! You can call 865.448.9034
State laws for both Tennessee and North Carolina require that children age 16 and under wear a helmet. It’s strongly recommended that all riders wear helmets, use rear view mirrors, and ride properly fitted and well-maintained bicycles.
Additional Biking Trails include the Clover Hill Caper, Louisville Lap, Ellejoy Jaunt, and Little River Run. Read about the sights and sounds to be found along all these trails at on Townsend Bike Routes.