Road and Off-road Biking
Cycling is a popular yet demanding sport in the Smokies, primarily due to the scarcity of flat terrain. But if you you love the challenge of mountain biking there’s no better place.
Some of the best-known Smoky Mountains mountain biking trails are the famous Tsali trails, overlooking Fontana Lake just west of Cherokee. Named after the 19th century Cherokee Indian martyr, the 42-mile network of multi-use trails offers a variety of challenges, from mild to extreme.
Hikers may use the Tsali trails any day of the week, but bikers and horseback riders must share the trails on alternating days. A schedule is posted at the trailhead. Download a Tsali map.
Biking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is only allowed on the roads where vehicles are permitted.
For road biking, there are many miles of uncrowded back roads in the Cherokee area. The least-mountainous of those routes are generally the ones that follow a river, including the river trail along the Oconaluftee north of Cherokee (above).
Road & Trail Guides – For detailed descriptions of roads and trails throughout the Smokies, we recommend one of Jim Parhams’ excellent guides. Website.