Riding in Area Around Great Smoky Mtns National Park/Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
Posted 12 July 2012 - 11:19 AM
Posted 12 July 2012 - 12:45 PM
If you have kids that want to ride, Cades Cove is open to bikes and closed to cars one day each week. A bit hilly (for young kids, say under 8) and not for your training ride. More of a family ride. We did it and enjoyed it greatly.
Some folks have said you can ride Laurel Creek and Little River roads (they lead from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove), but I wasn't comfortable with the lack of sight lines. A car would never see you, and most are looking at the scenery anyway.
My 2 cents.
Posted 13 July 2012 - 08:06 AM
If I were you though, given where you are staying, I would drive to the park and ride inside the park. What I remember of the roads that circumnavigate the park is that they are narrow, twisty, and VERY popular with people who like to drive motor vehicles hard and fast through the twisties. Not a place for a cyclist in my opinion.
Posted 16 July 2012 - 08:55 AM
Posted 03 August 2012 - 08:07 PM
Posted 07 August 2012 - 10:32 AM
Posted 15 August 2012 - 01:04 PM
Regarding routes, if you're willing to take a drive before you hop on the road I cannot recommend starting in Townsend, TN enoug. There's also a nice entrance through Wear's Valley that isn't well-known. It's at the south entrance of the park, maybe 20-25 minutes from Gatlinburg. The town is incredibly friendly to two wheeled transportation (human and motor powered). There are some nice offshoots through town. There's a bike shop in Maryville, TN (blanking on the name) that has recommended routes that will take you along the foothills parkway which is significantly less crowded than the roads to major look outs.
Having ridden both to Clingman's Down/Newfound Gap and up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park I'd say I prefer the ride in Colorado. The climb was a bitch for a big guy like me, but it felt much safer with traffic. the Smokies are the most visited park in the US so it comes with the added traffic. You will see groups of cyclists throughout the area. Again, Townsend was a godsend. I rode everywhere in that town all week. I even rode from our cabin to Cades Cove, met the wife and kids who drove and rode back.
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