Outdoor adventures and Townsend usually means floating down a river, hiking the Smokies, but just as many visitors trip to Cades Cove for the park’s biking opportunities along the Cades Cove Loops Road.
At the Cades Cove Campground Store, you can rent bicycles and helmets for a trip around the Loop Road. As you might have guess, this store is located at the Cades Cove Campground. Biking equipment is available beginning in April at a rate of $3.25 an hour. Contact the Cades Cove Campground store from 865-448-9034.
If the 11 mile Cades Cove Loop Road is too grueling a trip for you, Sparks and Hyatt Lane cut across the cove to shorten the journey for any first-time Smokies visitors. The shortcuts can also eliminate most of the hills on the loop, however, they also cut out many of the points of interest. Some people bike Cades Cove using one of the short cuts and then visit the cove again by car. You can only use bicycles on the Cades Cove loop road or other paved areas of the tour. You may not take bicycles off road or on trails.
Drinking water and restrooms are always issues to bikers. Both are available near the Cades Cove Campground Store and at the Cable Mill area inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is recommended that bikers bring a water bottle with them along with a bike friendly bottle holder. Though the Cades Cove Campground Store is at the beginning of the loop, the Cable Mill area is six miles away.
Cades Cove Loop Road is closed to motor vehicles for the benefit of foot and bicycle traffic from sunrise until 10:00 a.m. every Saturday and Wednesday morning from May 7-September 24. Summer hours are 9-5 (7-7 on Wednesday and Saturday bicycle days). Last rentals are at 4:30 p.m. Take care to wear helmets and heed warning signs. Bikes are permitted on most park roads but prohibited on most trails.
It’s summertime which means the kids are out of school, the temperature has the mercury rising, and you’re looking for fun things to do locally that can fill up some of those idle days. Townsend’s summer offerings grow with each passing year from tubing the Wye to new ranger programs offered by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And there’s always Cades. Visitors have flocked to the cove for years each summer to explore whether by bike or foot.
To get you started, we suggest starting your itinerary in the national park. With so many waterfalls to take in, you’re bound to find a trail leading to at least one – try hiking to Abrams Falls by way of the Abrams Falls Trail. Need a map? They’re available for anyone to pick up at the Townsend Visitors Center. Looking for something different? As previously mentioned, throw a tube into the Little River and let the current do the rest. There are numerous outfitters in town located on the banks of the river to rent a tube, or tubes, for a day. If not, just play in water or dip your line in and enjoy the countless summer hours fishing for some of the best Smoky Mountain trout you’ll find. The visitors center also holds a pottery festival each June if you’re more inclined to spend part of your day inside.
Maybe spending as much time in a more natural setting is your cup of tea. Well, you won’t find a place to get more familiar with the outdoors than you’ll find in Townsend. Townsend is home to a number widely used campgrounds as well as one located in Cades Cove that you’re sure to find one that suits you and your needs. Summers are the perfect time for a cook out and a late night campfire. Roast a few marshmallows and tell some ghost stories while making memories that will last a lifetime. If you feel like trekking closer into Gatlinburg, stop by the Sugarlands Visitors Center and catch the amazing synchronous fireflies (early to mid June) at Elkmont.
Summer is also concert season around Townsend. You’ll find an array ofconcerts and jam sessions in the area. Just pick a date. Listen to local musicians and visit with instrument builders. Or, attend one of the town’s week-long acoustic music camps and learn how to pick a guitar, banjo, or Dobro with the best of them. There’s so much going on this summer in Townsend it’s hard to just come down for a day. So stay a while, or a week, or be our guest for the entire summer. You’ll won’t regret a Townsend summer.
Where can you see an artist whose work is displayed in galleries across America and is known in artistic circles as one of the best in his craft? This year, it’s basically right in your backyard at the Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival in Townsend as Jim Reinert is the featured artist at the 2012 version of the festival.
Around 30 potters and masters of clay from around the region are expected to be in attendance at the Townsend Visitors Center June 2. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 2. Artists will show off their skills of hand building, Raku and horsehair firing demonstrations. Children will be able to take part in hands-on activities with Carol Ware.
Reinert received an MFA in ceramics from Michigan State University in 1976. He currently works in Owosso, MI as an active studio potter. Reinert has been involved for many years with the Lansing Community College ceramics and art programs in addition to serving as an instructor at the Potters’ Guild since 1974. He was a founding member of the MI Guild of Artists and Artisans and maintains an active profile in its operation. The guild produces one of the three Ann Arbor summer art fairs.
Hugh Bailey, a 50-year potter whose creatures and various animals are renowned, and Joe Frank McKee of Treehouse Pottery in Dillsboro, N.C., will also be at the festival presenting their wares. The children’s tent, where young people and families can learn how to work with clay, will be overseen by Maryville native Carol Ware.
A grant from Arts Build Communities, a program funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, is what makes this festival possible every year.
The festival also includes food booths and music, and is located at 7906 East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend.