With the backdrop of the scenic Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is the perfect place to log some quality time in the great outdoors. Soaring mountains, dipping valleys, blooming wildflowers, lush forests, rushing waterfalls, flowing streams, stirring wildlife…these are just a few of the things you’ll see while enjoying your natural surroundings in the Smokies. And one of the best ways to take it all in is by bicycle!
Pigeon Forge offers many great bike trails for everyone from beginners to pros, providing tons of opportunities to see nature from a new perspective. Every trail offers something different, and each has its own challenges. Some are flat, easy, or short, while others are steep, difficult, and run for several miles. As you plan your outdoor time during your Smoky Mountain Vacation, be sure to put some of these Pigeon Forge bike trails on your list, starting with our top 2!
Cades Cove Loop Road
This 11-mile, one-way road is one of the most popular outdoor tourist attractions in the area, home to historic homes and buildings, various wildlife, peaceful streams, beautiful mountain scenery, vivid wildflowers, expansive pastures, and more. The Cades Cove Loop Road within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an easy ride for experienced road bikers, but it’s also appropriate for intermediate riders and some beginners.
From early May to late September, Cades Cove Loop Road is closed to motor vehicle traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10 a.m., allowing bicyclists to enjoy the ride without worrying about cars. For those who didn’t travel with their own bikes, the Cades Cove store rents bicycles during summer and fall. The ride is a scenic one but be prepared for several challenging hills along the way — the views are worth it!
Townsend Bicycle Trail
The Townsend Bicycle Trail in Pigeon Forge is a 3-mile trail that’s great for cyclists of all skill levels, including kids. The paved trail features several hills, but the asphalt makes for an easier ride. The trail runs alongside Highway 321, so if you want a short break, stop by the visitor center along the way. As you bike the Townsend Bicycle Trail, enjoy beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains and the Little River. Along with the nice scenery, the trail will take you past lots of Pigeon Forge restaurants and shops. You can stop for some ice cream or a drink, grab a bite to eat before hitting the trail again, or even pick up any biking gear you may have forgotten. It’s a great ride for those wanting to have the best of both worlds — the natural surroundings of the Smokies and the commercial excitement of Pigeon Forge.
Bike Trails Galore!
As you set off on a biking expedition in the Smokies, remember there are no mountain biking trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can ride along some roads in the park, but many great biking trails are located in Pigeon Forge and the surrounding areas.
Pigeon Forge Riverwalk Greenway |Easy
Running alongside the Little Pigeon River, the new greenway trail is 4 miles long and is great for all ages. Along with beautiful Smoky Mountain scenery, the trail features nice amenities, including benches, a water fountain, and a city memorial. You can find bike trail entrances at Patriot Park, Butler Street at Ashley Avenue, and Jake Thomas Road.
Gatlinburg Trail |Easy
On this 1.9-mile, one-way trail, head from the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg. The mostly flat trail goes alongside the Little Pigeon River and features lovely water views. Along the way, you’ll also see remnants of several historic homes. It’s rated an easy trail, so it should be good for kids as well as adults. And be sure to check out the Mountain Farm Museum that’s made of log structures built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, including a 2-story log house, barn, pig pens, corn cribs, a blacksmith shop, and more!
Oconaluftee River Trail | Easy
This 3-mile, round-trip trail features a canopy of trees, some small hills, and beautiful river views. You can start at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and ride all the way to the edge of Cherokee, NC. The trail is a fairly flat one, so it should be an easy ride for kids and adults.
Greenbrier Road | Easy – Intermediate
East of Gatlinburg near Cosby, TN, lies the Greenbrier Trail, taking you on a 6-mile, round-trip journey following the Little Pigeon River. The first mile is paved, followed by a few miles of gravel, so be prepared for a moderately bumpy ride. There’s also a picnic area and pavilion, perfect for a recharging with a bite to eat.
Tremont Road | Intermediate
Starting at the parking lot near the “Y” in Townsend, the Tremont Road bike trail takes you along Laurel Creek Road towards Cades Cove before ending up at Tremont Road. Road bikes can take the 5-mile, round-trip ride, and those on mountain bikes or hybrid bikes could also continue onto the gravel road that goes past the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.
Lower Deep Creek Trail |Intermediate
A 1.9-mile, round-trip ride, the Lower Deep Creek Trail within the national park just outside Bryson City, NC, boasts some fantastic scenery, including beautiful wildflowers and flowing waterfalls. Bicycles are allowed only on the paved surface, so when the old roads end, it’s time to head back.
Foothills Parkway |Difficult
A more challenging ride between US 321 and US 129, the Foothills Parkway features incredible Smoky Mountain views. The 16.5-mile ride is not as busy as others, but it does have quite a few hills that the more experienced riders will enjoy.
Biking Safety Tips & Tricks
- Always follow the rules of the road & check signs at the beginning of trails.
- Be considerate of other riders; some trails are single track.
- Stay hydrated, drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your ride.
- Dress appropriately, wearing closed-toe shoes and shorts or pants that won’t catch in the wheels.
- Know your skill level and consider this when choosing a trail to bike.
- Protect your skin and eyes on rides with sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, if needed.
- Due to heavy traffic and winding landscapes, road biking can be dangerous; only experienced riders should ride the roads.
- Tennessee state law requires that all children 16 years old and under wear a bike helmet.
- Ride a bike that is properly fitted to your size, and always check the tires and brakes before setting off.
Where to Stay
After spending a day on a Pigeon Forge bike trail, you’ll need a comfortable place to rest and recoup. Check out our Pigeon Forge cabins, ranging from 1-16 bedrooms, that offer a variety of amenities. Whip up fruit smoothies before hitting the trail in the fully equipped kitchen. When you return, slip into your swimsuit for a bubbly soak in the hot tub with sunset hues across the mountaintops. Afterwards, plop onto the cozy couch with a movie on the big screen TV or a chat with your bestie and a glass of wine.
Feeling reenergized? Shoot pool or play arcade games in the rec room. And when everyone’s ready for bed, stay up with a good book by the fireplace or take a spa bath in the jetted tub before slipping into the master suite’s king-size bed. A Smoky Mountain cabin is the perfect place to relax and recharge after an active day biking in Pigeon Forge!