Keep it Simple in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Riding backroads from Knoxville, TN to the north side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Stefan joined his wife at their rented cabin and they toured the Park together the next morning in their car. Then, Stefan rode home, returning early on Sunday afternoon.
Bicycle Adventurer: Stefan Hodges-Kluck
Accommodations: The Wright Cabins in Townsend, TN
Distance: 60 miles round trip
Bonus: Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed to motorists every Wednesday and Saturday morning until 10:00 a.m. So, you could extend your ride on this overnight trip by riding to Townsend on a Tuesday or Friday, then riding the car-free loop the next morning.
The Route: Backroads from Knoxville, TN to Townsend, TN and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a return trip the next day.
I'm new to bike touring and I wanted to try an overnight trip to get a feel for riding longer distances with loaded panniers. For this trip, I rode 35 miles south from my home in Knoxville, Tennessee to Townsend which is one of the main Tennessee entrances into the Smokies and substantially calmer than the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge entrance!.
From downtown Knoxville, my low-traffic route went south on Martin Mill Pike until I reached Neubert Springs. I followed Neubert Springs to the end, where I took a right onto Rhea Road, which joined back up to Martin Mill Pike. From Martin Mill Pike, I took backroads through Maryville's hinterland to get to the Old Walland Highway. The OW Highway involves a scenic nine-mile coast alongside the Little River and ends at the start of the Townsend Greenway which leads all the way through town.
My wife, who doesn't cycle, met me at a nice, affordable cabin, The Wright Cabins in Townsend, TN. They were fantastic, but be prepared to bring cash, since they don't do plastic.
The next morning, my wife and I drove around Cades Cove, a broad valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As we drove, the early morning mist rolled over the valley and the motorists were not too numerous. Then, mid-morning, I set back on my trail north and got back home a little before 2 PM!
Tip for this Adventure: We had dinner at Smokin’ Joe's Barbeque.
About This Adventurer: I've been a bike commuter for over 10 years. While I used to mountain bike frequently in both Colorado and Tennessee, only recently have I started to have more fun on roads. My latest bike purchase is a Salsa Vaya 2 which I absolutely love to ride. I hope to get more into bike touring to experience the world around me!?
Favorite Bike Shop: Cycology Bicycles in Maryville, TN
HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your bike overnight adventure!