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Wanted; routes in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge Tennessee(7 posts)

Wanted; routes in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge TennesseeWild Bill
Sep 11, 2003 8:24 AM
Planning on going to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Are there any cycling clubs or cycling routes for that area?
Thank you.
Great Smoky Mountains Nat's Parktarwheel
Sep 11, 2003 9:51 AM
Your best option in that area is Smoky Mtn NP. Just avoid riding at times when the traffic is heavy. One good route is from the visitor's center near Gatlinburg west towards Cades Cove. The road goes along the river much of the way, with long descents and climbs. It's about 50 miles round trip from the visitor's center to entrance of Cades Cove. The loop road around Cades Cove is a great route, about 10-15 miles long, but only when traffic is light. Traffic can be very heavy on weekends and during leaf season. One or two mornings a week (check with the park rangers), they close the Cades Cove loop to auto traffic and that's the best time to ride there. If you like to climb, you can ride from the visitor's center along US 441 to Newfound Gap, and then take the access road to the top of Clingman's Dome (6,643'). That is a very long climb with steep sections and lots of windy curves. Be careful coming back down! The biggest issue in GSMNP is the traffic. You need to time your rides to times/days when traffic is lighter, and wear bright clothes for visibility. You don't want to get run over by someone pulling a camper or driving a huge SUV.
Great Smoky Mountains Nat's ParkWild Bill
Sep 11, 2003 12:13 PM
Thank you.
I am from Ontario, Canada and will be going to Tennessee for a week.
Is there any other road trips or toures that you know about?
How about some local bike shops or road riding clubs.
Again, thank you.
other routestarwheel
Sep 12, 2003 9:40 AM
The Foothills Parkway is a scenic road running west of the Smokies. I haven't cycled on it, but it should be good for riding with limited traffic and no trucks.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is on the North Carolina side of the Smokies, starting near Cherokee. It is a fantastic road for cycling, with very long grades. It also has some tunnels, so make sure you have head and tail-lights (I think the Park Service requires them in tunnels). Traffic is generally not very heavy (and no trucks allowed) on the parkway, except during leaf season -- usually starting around mid-October. Make sure you carry everything you need because there are no stores along the parkway, although there is a restaurant and hotel near Mount Pisgah.

Also on the NC side, you might find some good road routes by checking with the folks at Nantahala Outdoor Center south of Bryson City. There also is lots of mountain biking in that area, most notably the Tsali trail system in Nantahala National Forest. You also can ride mountain bikes in selected areas of the Smokies. I was hiking along Deep River trail near Bryson City recently and saw mountain bikes on that trail.
Tarwheel's description is on targetKenS
Sep 11, 2003 12:38 PM
That is a lovely ride. Ride in the morning and avoid the weekend. The road can get narrow and there may be no shoulder so some of the big SUVs get pretty close. Watch out for some steep, damp/slick sections on the Cades Cove loop. They are marked with warning signs.

There are a bunch of bike shops in Knoxville. The Bike Zoo looks worth a visit/phone call. Good luck.
re: Wanted; routes in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge Tennesseelemmy999
Sep 11, 2003 1:03 PM
I live in Knoxville and the bike shops are nothing special. The Bike Zoo is probably the best. The others are Harper's Schwinn, Earth Traverse Outfitters, Riversports, and Cedar Bluff Cycles. There is another one in Maryville which is closer to the Smokey Mtns (well, at least the Townsend entrance). The problem with that entire area is major traffic. At one time the area around Wears Valley road would probably be a nice ride (it is between Pigeon Forge and Townsend) and it still may be, but again traffic is the issue. This road runs along the base of the mountains going south/southwest. Then it comes out in Townsend and are then can go right on the major road (forget the name) then take a left on the Foothills Parkway. A good amount of climbing on the Foothills Parkway. Traffic is not as bad on that road and last I heard it was still closed on the southern end due to flooding in the spring. I have never done any riding up in that area so I can't be more help. In the autumn that entire area is so crowded that any riding might be a problem unless it is very early in the morning.
Cades Cove by MoonlightPureClimber
Sep 11, 2003 2:48 PM
A treasured memory of TN was riding the Cades Cove loop under a full moon. Road is closed to cars after dark. I think it is a regular event for some folk. Anyway it is quiet, eerie, spooky even and you get to see wolves, deer and other critters.