cades cove biking
· ·

Biking at Cades Cove: A Must-Do Smoky Mountains Summer Activity

For many visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the highlight is a visit to the 6,800-acre Cades Cove.  With an abundance of native wildlife, unforgettable mountain and meadow vistas, and well-preserved historical buildings, this point of interest rivals the many hiking trails that surround it in popularity.

What is Cades Cove? 
Cades Cove was a long-standing but scattered community of homes, farms, churches and businesses at the base of the Smokies, with most resident working in farming and logging.  Before that, it was hunting ground and temporary settlement for Cherokee tribes.  In fact, the area was called Tsiya’hi, and one of its leaders was Chief Kade, for whom the Cove is named.  The abundance of black bear, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, coyote and other animals drew many Native Americans to the area, as well as the Europeans who followed.

When the National Park was officially established, the residents of the Cove weren’t keen on leaving.  The last of them didn’t move out until the 1937, and one of the Baptist churches continued to hold services until the 1960’s, against the National Park Service’s laws.

Why do visitors love biking Cades Cove?
Most people will drive the 11-mile loop around the valley, and that’s fine.  But if you truly want to experience this special place to the fullest extent, and you’re in reasonably good physical condition, try riding a bicycle to get around.  If you’re really fit, you could probably manage riding the whole loop.  The majority of visitors will take the Sparks or Hyatt Lane cutoffs to shorten the route.

Biking is allowed on the main roadways from early May to late September on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.  You won’t have to worry about sharing the road with motor vehicles, because the loop is closed to autos from 7 AM to 10 AM.  So not only will you have cooler weather, exhaust-free air and safe riding conditions, you’ll also have easier access to seeing the native wildlife and the primitive sites.  Plus, being outdoors in nature does wonders for nearly everyone, and you’ll get around in the most eco-friendly mode of transportation, besides walking.

Just remember to finish before the cars return to the road, so you can have an optimal visit.  Since few roads in the park are suitable for cycling because of the steep and winding terrain and heavy traffic, this gives you a great opportunity to pedal around.  Also, please refrain from touching or feeding animals if you encounter them.

Where can we rent bikes?
Of course, you can always bring your own wheels and helmet.  But if you didn’t, rent them from the Cades Cove Campground Store.  You can choose between geared bikes (at a rental rate of $6.00 an hour) or non-geared bikes ($4.00 an hour).  Helmet rentals are also available, which can be a good idea if you want to maximize your safety.

Similar Posts