Cades Cove Car Ban

Cades Cove Car Ban - Heysmokies

If you have never experienced the serenity of Cades Cove without the noise and exhaust fumes of cars you are in for a treat!

Cades Cove Car Ban begins Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed to motor vehicles from sunrise until 10:00 a.m. on both Wednesday and Saturday mornings to allow bicyclists, runners, and walkers time to enjoy the cove without having to worry about heavy traffic. This special experience on the 11-mile paved loop road will last until late September.

During the season, bicycles can be rented at the Cades Cove Campground Store. For pricing info, give them a call at 865.448.9034. Of course, you can bring your own bikes and helmets to enjoy the scenic ride through this historic landscape. Be mindful that Tennessee law requires cyclists under the age of 16 to wear a helmet. HeySmokies and the GSMNP recommend anyone of any age wear protective head gear…just sayin’!

You won’t find any mountain biking trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are only 3 trails in the National Park that allow bicycles:

  • Gatlinburg Trail
    Begins at Sugarlands Visitor Center and travels 1.9 miles one-way toward the outskirts of Gatlinburg along the West

    Deep Creek biking in the Smokies

    You will love the remote beauty of Deep Creek ranger district in Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

    Prong of the Little Pigeon River. Leashed pets are allowed on this trail.

  • Oconaluftee River Trail
    Begins at Oconaluftee Visitor Center and travels 1.5 miles one-way toward the outskirts of Cherokee along the Oconaluftee River. Leashed pets are allowed on this trail.
  • Deep Creek and Indian Creek Trails
    From the Deep Creek Campground, cyclists can access both Deep Creek and Indian Creek Trails. Bicycles are allowed on both trails until the point where the old roadbed ends and the hiking trails begin. Pets are not allowed on this trail.

Bicycles are allowed on most roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so drivers need to be alert of cyclists when driving through the park. Due to the narrow, steep, curvy conditions of park roads the HeySmokies cycling team recommends avoiding biking park roads in the interest of the safety of all park visitors.

Bonus Biking Tip! – Tsali Recreation Area has over 40 miles of mountain bike trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Tsali is located on the Southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the southern shore of Fontana Lake near Bryson City, North Carolina.

For more information on bicycling in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and adjacent National Forests, please visit

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cades Cove Clean Energy

Cades Cove solar array

The new Cades Cove solar array powers the Cable Mill visitor center and more! Photo credit – NPS.

Smoky Mountains National Park Cades Cove Clean Energy. The new solar array in the Cable Mill area of Cades Cove is up and running!

The new green energy project will reduce greenhouse gases by 23 tons thus reducing fuel costs by $14,000 annually. Until now the park used a diesel-fuel generator for powering the site which was noisy and adversely affected the natural experience of park visitors and wildlife.

This is a great step in making our park operations more environmentally friendly, said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. The solar panels will provide a great, natural source of energy for the Cable Mill Area that enables us to provide a better visitor experience and to be better stewards of the park.”

The newly solar array boasts 80 photovoltaic panels that provide a quiet, passive energy source to serve the small visitor center, bookstore, and restroom facility at the unofficial halfway point around the Cades Cove driving loop. The panels can be found behind the restroom in an open area that receives maximum exposure to both morning and afternoon sun. A berm was raised around the array and planted with native plants to minimize disturbing visitors view of the historic area.

Cades Cove is one of the most popular parts of the Smokies and averages around 2 million visitors per year. Many visitors stop at the Cable Mill area to tour the old mill, blacksmith shop, Cable house and other historic structures located there. Due to the isolated location at the west end of Cades Cove, the Cable Mill area is completely off the TVA power grid and it is necessary to generate all power on site.

The Southeast Region of the National Park Service provided the funding for this project. The work was completed by Solar Power Integrators, a veteran-owned company. The Smokies is also home to another solar array at the Sugarlands Visitors Center near Gatlinburg which has been helping to reduce greenhouse emissions for several years.

America’s First Bullet Train Cures Cades Cove Car Conundrum

The Cades Cove bullet train is ready to roll!America’s First Bullet Train Cures Cades Cove Car Conundrum. Traffic jams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park have reached epic proportions as annual visitation exceeds twelve million people annually. Cades Cove is often the epi-center of the traffic frustration.

The scenic eleven mile drive on the Western edge of the national park is literally being loved to death. Frequent “bear jams” can turn a leisurely two hour drive into a bumper to bumper free for all lasting upwards of ten hours. But all of that is about to change with the new Cades Cove bullet or “Maglev” train.

Maglev technology is nothing new to Asian countries with trains exceeding over 200 miles per hour. A traditional diesel train engine is not required. The Cades Cove train will be electromagnetically suspended above the track and literally propelled by magnetic force. The magnetic tech requires thousands of mega-watts of electricity which will be provided by the new Cable Mill solar array.

The new Cades Cove bullet train will be a revolution to each park visitors experience,” said National Park spokesperson J. K. Reelly. “Once all the passengers are aboard we will safely transport visitors around the cove.  We will be able to reach famous land marks such as the historic Cable Mill in less than thirty seconds from our terminal at the cove entrance. Train passengers will enjoy full service while aboard the train including a complimentary set of steak knives from the good people at Ginsu.

The projects contract was awarded to the Ginsu Corporation after an intense bidding war in late 2017. The contract includes provisions to protect the natural beauty of the cove and it’s historical treasures.

Everyone at Ginsu was thrilled to be a part of this project and to work with the national park service,” said Ginsu media representative We’ar Sharpe. “We found that our amazing saws and knives are extremely adapt at clearing the appalachian forests for the new track and could therefore be more competitive with our bid.


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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts Star Gazing Event at Cades Cove

Cades Cove Stargazing must be seen to be believed! Bring the family and explore the universe! (Photo credit – ESB Professional/Shutterstock.)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts Star Gazing Event at Cades Cove. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in cooperation with the Smoky Mountains Astronomical Society, will offer a stargazing program in Cades Cove on Saturday, September 23, 2017 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Experienced astronomers and numerous telescopes will be on hand to provide a discovery of the spring sky’s position of stars, galaxies, and constellations, including the Milky Way. In case of rain or cloud cover where night skies are not visible, the program will be cancelled.

It’s a great opportunity to gaze at the star-studded sky without the obstruction of artificial light as seen in developed areas outside the park,” said Park Ranger Mike Maslona. “People will be amazed at the vast depths of this planetary world and all that they can see in the complete darkness. This program mixes astronomy, legends, and the beauty of the stars to create a worthwhile exploration into the wonders of the heavens.

Participants for the program will be directed to park near the orientation shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. A park ranger will walk with the group one-third of a mile to a nearby field to the viewing location. No vehicles are allowed to drive to the site.

Those planning to attend should dress warm and bring a flashlight. Participants might also like to bring a lawn chair or blanket for sitting, along with binoculars which can be used for stargazing. Carpooling is strongly encouraged.

The program is subject to postponement due to rain or cloud cover. Call the day of the event to confirm that the program will take place at 865-448-4104.

Cades Cove Foot Race

Lace up your sneakers and head to Cades Cove for this foot pounding annual event!

Cades Cove Foot Race (AKA – the Cades Cove Loop Lope) hosted by Friends of the Smokies and the Knoxville Track Club is scheduled for Sunday November 5, 2017. This exciting race was originally billed as a one time event at it’s inauguration in 2010. Since then it has grown in popularity. Participation is limited to 500 total runners and all participants will be awarded a t-shirt and finishers medallion.

We are very excited to bring this race back to such a beautiful part of our national park,” says Jim Hart, Friends of the Smokies president. “This is a unique way to experience the splendor of the Cove and raise money to protect it for future generations at the same time.


HeySmokies owner meets Great Smoky Mountains National Park superintendent Cassius Cash.

Friends of the Smokies will provide more than $90,000 for historic preservation and wildlife  management programs in Cades Cove and a total of $1.4 million for other critical park projects.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash remarked the race marks an opportunity to connect with the next generation of public lands stewards who are active in our national parks.

We are pleased to work with the Friends to offer this opportunity that supports the park and encourages people to use the park for fitness,” said Superintendent Cash. “The park provides an incredible setting for people to improve mind, body, and spirit.”

Registration began August 1, 2017 at Participants can choose between the 3.1 mile (5K) or the 10-mile loop routes.