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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

70 mi 113 km of trail 3 Recommended Routes

Easy Trails 6 Trails Intermediate Trails 10 Trails Hard Trails 0 Trails

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is made up of countless forested mountain ridges that form the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. Encompassing over 800 square miles in the southern Appalachian Mountains, this one of America's most visited national parks, and for good reason! The park is famous for its stunning variety of flora and fauna, the magnificence of its ancient topography, and the remnants of its Southern Appalachian culture. Visitors are sure to be impressed by the wonderful diversity that the park has to offer.

To learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Please Note: There are no singletrack trails within Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are open to mountain bikes. This page serves as a general overview of the area. If you're visiting the park and looking for places to ride, check out the following areas:

Visiting Tips

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, some secondary roads, campgrounds, and other visitor facilities close in winter. For more information on seasonal closures and to check current conditions, visit the park's website.

Due to the varied elevation and topography in the park, local weather can be unpredictable. The temperatures are greatly varied between mountain tops and valley floors, and the weather can also be drastically different. The park's lowlands average about 55 inches of rain per year while Clingmans Dome receives up to 85 inches per year. Visitors are advised to plan ahead and be conscious of the weather when planning a trip to the park.

Fees & Passes:
There is no entrance fee for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Camping & Lodging

Camping:
The park maintains ten developed campgrounds. Campsites at Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Elkmont, and Smokemont may be reserved online or by phone at (877) 444-6777. Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground. All remaining park campgrounds are filled on a first come, first served basis. For more information about camping reservations, campground amenities, and seasons of operation, visit the park's website.

  • Abrams Creek: 16 sites. Open late May to mid-October. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Balsam Mountain: 46 sites. Open late May to mid-October. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Big Creek: 12 sites. Open early April to late October. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Cades Cove: 159 sites. Open year round. Reservations can be made online.
  • Cataloochee: 27 sites. Open late May to late October. Reservations required and can be made online.
  • Cosby: 157 sites. Open early April to late October. Reservations can be made online.
  • Deep Creek: 92 sites. Open early April to late October. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Elkmont: 220 sites. Open mid-March to late November. Reservations can be made online.
  • Look Rock: 68 sites. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Smokemont: 142 sites. Open year round. Reservations can be made online.

Backcountry Camping:
Advance reservations and permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. To make reservations, please visit the park's website.

Lodging:
The LeConte Lodge is the only lodging located within the park. It is located on the top of Mount Le Conte and is only accessible on foot. Reservations must be made in advance and can be made online or by calling (865) 429-5704.

Food & Drink

There are limited options for food and beverages located within the park. Cades Cove Campground Store sells limited groceries and camping supplies and has a snack bar that serves breakfast, sandwiches, wraps, soup, chili, pizza, and soft serve ice cream. The Elkmont Campground Concession offers some snack items, beverages, and a limited selection of camping supplies. Smokemont Riding Stables sells snacks, beverages, firewood, and ice. Vending machines can be found at most of the visitor centers. Visitors looking for more dining options can visit the nearby towns located just outside the park.

Other Activities

Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park have a multitude of options when it comes to ways to explore the park. Whether hiking, biking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, picnicking or simply enjoying the scenery from the road, Great Smoky has plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy all that the park has to offer. For visitors looking for other adventures in the area, check out the nearby options for mountain biking and rock climbing in the area.

Recommended Routes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 3

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Favorite Riding over the bridge on Kessel!
Difficult

Kessel's Lazy Wave

3.2 mi 5.1 km 74' Up 22.56 m Up 860' Down 262.24 m Down

Cherokee, NC
Favorite Riding over the bridge on Kessel!
Intermediate/Difficult

Uktena's Dreamy Wave

3.5 mi 5.6 km 59' Up 18.03 m Up 858' Down 261.54 m Down

Cherokee, NC
Favorite Made it to the top of Indian Creek trail (as far as bikes are concerned). Time to bomb it back downhill!
Intermediate

Deep Creek Area Ride

9.9 mi 16.0 km 723' Up 220.52 m Up 720' Down 219.57 m Down

Bryson…, NC

Trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 13

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2.1 mi 3.4 km #1Kessel Run
Difficult
Cherokee, NC
Difficult
Cherokee, NC 24 
7.1 mi 11.4 km #2Rich Mountain Road
Easy/Intermediate
Wildwood, TN
Easy/Intermediate
Wildwood, TN
3.1 mi 5.0 km #3Indian Creek Trail
Intermediate
Bryson City, NC
Intermediate
Bryson City, NC
1.9 mi 3.1 km #4Deep Creek Trail
Intermediate
Bryson City, NC
Intermediate
Bryson City, NC
2.3 mi 3.8 km #5Fire Tower
Intermediate/Difficult
Cherokee, NC
Intermediate/Difficult
Cherokee, NC
8.3 mi 13.3 km #6Parsons Branch Road
Easy
Wildwood, TN
Easy
Wildwood, TN
3.2 mi 5.2 km #7Upper Tremont Road
Easy
Gatlinburg, TN
Easy
Gatlinburg, TN
1.6 mi 2.5 km #8Oconaluftee River Trail
Easy
Cherokee, NC
Easy
Cherokee, NC
2.2 mi 3.5 km #9Forge Creek Road
Easy
Wildwood, TN
Easy
Wildwood, TN
1.4 mi 2.2 km #10Gatlinburg Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Gatlinburg, TN
Intermediate/Difficult
Gatlinburg, TN
18.0 mi 29.0 km #11Mt. Sterling Road/Old Cataloochee Turnpike
Intermediate
Cove Creek, NC
Intermediate
Cove Creek, NC
17.7 mi 28.5 km #12Balsam Mountain Road
Easy
Maggie Valley, NC
Easy
Maggie Valley, NC
1.1 mi 1.8 km #13Cove Creek Road
Intermediate
Cove Creek, NC
Intermediate
Cove Creek, NC

Photos of Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 10

MTB Project is built by riders like you. Add Your Photos

Kessel Run - Fire Mountain - Cherokee, NC - 8/20/2017
Aug 22, 2017 near Cherokee, NC
Uktena to Tinker's Dream to Kate's Wave - Fire Mountain Trails - Cherokee, NC - 11/11/2018
Nov 17, 2018 near Cherokee, NC
Made it to the top of Indian Creek trail (as far as bikes are concerned). Time to bomb it back downhill!
Feb 12, 2019 near Cherokee, NC
Deep Creek, Great Smoky Mountains NP.
Jun 11, 2018 near Bryson…, NC
Smoky Mountains 097
Jun 11, 2018 near Bryson…, NC
beautiful!
Mar 25, 2018 near Bryson…, NC
Amazing Stream
Mar 25, 2018 near Bryson…, NC
View of Falls in the summer.
Jun 11, 2018 near Bryson…, NC
Oconalufttee River on the Oconalufttee River Trail looking towards Cherokee.
Mar 1, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
Elk in the fall months are in rut and can become very unpredictable.
Mar 1, 2016 near Cherokee, NC