Gatlinburg, TN isn't just a hiker's paradise. Over the years, it has emerged as a hotspot for mountain biking enthusiasts looking to tackle thrilling trails surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. With its close proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg provides mountain bikers with a unique blend of challenging terrains, lush forests, and panoramic mountain vistas. The diversity of trails caters to both beginners taking their first off-road ride and seasoned bikers looking for a serious adrenaline rush.
Popular Mountain Biking Trails Around Gatlinburg
Tsali Recreation Area: While it's a bit of a drive from Gatlinburg, Tsali offers some of the best mountain biking trails in the Southeast.
With nearly 40 miles of trails on a peninsula jutting into Fontana Lake, riders can enjoy lake views and varied terrains.
Gatlinburg Trail: A more gentle option suitable for beginner bikers, the Gatlinburg Trail is 3.8 miles round trip. It's one of the few trails in the national park where both biking and dog-walking are permitted.
Cades Cove Loop: While primarily known as a scenic driving loop, on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from early May to late September, the loop is closed to cars until 10 a.m., allowing bikers a peaceful ride with possible wildlife sightings.
Downhill Mountain Biking at Ober Mountain: This downhill mountain bike park offers miles and miles of purpose-built trails suitable for all skill levels. Choose from green, blue, black, and double black bike trails that travel from the top of Ober Mountain to the base area. A bike trail ticket is required, and bikes, padding, and lessons are also available depending on your preference. This is a great way to see Ober Mountain from a different perspective!
Rentals and Guided Tours:
For those who didn't pack their bikes, several local outfitters around Gatlinburg offer mountain bike rentals equipped with all the necessary safety gear. For beginners or those unfamiliar with the trails, guided mountain biking tours provide a safe and informative way to explore.
Mountain biking, especially on the rugged terrains around Gatlinburg, demands precautions. Always wear a helmet, check weather forecasts, inform someone of your route, and carry essentials like water, snacks, and a first-aid kit.