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.