Top 10 Places to Visit in Tennessee by Bike

Top 10 Places to Visit in Tennessee by Bike

Adrian Ciocirlan

Curious to see where we go today?

As you probably are use to, we will go through different places, cultural or recreational for all kind of journeys, places rich in history or natural diversity. All special, that’s for sure.

1. Smoky Mountains National Park

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Did you knew that this is America's most visited national park?

World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, The Great Smokies are part of an International Biosphere Reserve.

The Great Smokies are also home to the densest black bear population in the Eastern United States and the most diverse salamander population outside of the tropics.

Bicycles can travel on most roads within the park. But, due to steep terrain, narrow road surfaces, and heavy automobile traffic, many park roads are not well suited for safe and enjoyable bicycle riding. Don’t be sad! Cove Loop Road is an exception.

The 11-mile one way road, is a popular bicycling area. It provides bicyclists with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and touring 19th century home-sites.

2. The Parthenon Tennessee

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First thing first.

Get a bike from Nashville B-cycle, a fun and easy way to see the sites and explore Nashville's fantastic greenways!

They have 36 convenient B-stations and over 310 bright red bikes to get you around Nashville.

Then go to Parthenon.

This is the world's only full-size replica of the ancient Greek temple. You will be surprised to hear that this is an exact replica of the Greek temple, its architecture including not a single straight line; no two columns are the same size, nor are they placed the same distance apart. No two steps are the same size and the floor is not square or level.

Inside you will discover the tallest indoor sculpture in the western world, a statue of Athena, the ancient goddess of wisdom and learning, the deity for whom the original Parthenon was erected. Originally built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897, the building became unsafe and was rebuilt in 1929. A proud symbol of Tennessee's Capitol city, the "Athens of the South," the Parthenon houses the city's permanent art collection, plaster casts of the Elgin Marbles, a gift shop, and visitors center.

3. Downtown Knoxville

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Cycling in East Tennessee means rolling hills and surprising landscapes, meandering routes along beautiful rivers and creeks, and spectacular scenery on roads, greenways and trails.

Knoxville offers an infinite array of byways which offer everything from a leisurely scenic stroll with the family to challenging tracks for the adventurous cyclist.

Over 65 miles of greenways are perfectly designed for the recreational biker or adventure enthusiast as well as challenging and also hilly roads and trails for those looking for a more thrilling experience. 

4. Lookout Mountain

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Here you find three top rated, world-famous natural attractions that showcase the natural beauty of Lookout Mountain and views of the Chattanooga Valley.

Start your day at Ruby Falls, America’s deepest cave and largest underground waterfall accessible to the public.

Go next to a leisurely stroll through Rock City Gardens. Each season there's a new reason to visit with changing flora, fauna, and the world-famous "See Seven States" view.

Then ride the Incline Railway, the world’s steepest passenger railway. What will close best the journey as the views of Chattanooga from the Lookout Mountain Tower?

5. The Titanic Museum

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If you liked the story directed by James Cameron you should come and see the Museum built half-scale to the original ship.

Similar to the one in Branson, Missouri, the museum holds 400 pre-discovery artifacts in twenty galleries.

The structure is built in a pool to create the illusion of the Titanic at sea, and the 2-hour, self-guided tour is designed to give guests the sensation of being an original passenger on the Titanic's 1912 maiden voyage.

It is the largest permanent Titanic museum in the world.

6. Big South Fork National River

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If you are a passionate rider you probably know about IMBA Epic.

Now I will tell you all 5 Ride IMBA Epic is made up of five trails the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (NRRA) in Tennessee: Collier Ridge, West Bandy, Duncan Hollow, Grand Gap and a section of the John Muir Trail.

Deep forests, rocky faces and views into river gorges compliment the fun, moderate trails on this ride. Riding all of the trails and connecting each with some gravel road means approximately 35 miles. There are 30 miles of singletrack and about 5 miles of gravel to connect everything. The singletrack is flowy and smooth with minimal climbing. Grand Gap and John Muir trails present massive rock shelters and several scenic views of the Big South Fork River from the rim of the gorge 500 feet above the river and its huge boulders. While all 5 of the trails are open to hikers, only Grand Gap and John Muir trails have an appreciable number of hikers. There is a large number of horse trails inside the park, but horses are not allowed on the mountain bike trails listed here. However, you may see them on the gravel roads that connect the bike trails.

The trails are mostly beginner to intermediate level offering a few technical sections and creek crossings as riders meander through pines, oaks, hemlocks, maples, and other richly diverse trees and native plants along with abundant wildlife featuring black bears, turkey, deer, and other small game.

The moderate climate easily allows mountain biking year round. You can also try hiking/biking trail named Chestnut Ridge, a 13 mile loop beginning at the Rock Creek Trailhead. It is a flowing singletrack that offers an overlook of the park.

7. Rock Island State Park Tennessee

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Enoy your favorite outdoor adventures and explore the fabulous natural heritage in an 883 acre park located on the headwaters of Center Hill Lake at the confluence of the Caney Fork, Collins and Rocky Rivers.

The rugged beauty of the park includes the Caney Fork Gorge below Great Falls Dam. These overlooks are some of the most scenic and significant along the Eastern Highland Rim.

Great Falls is a 30 foot horseshoe cascading waterfall, located below the 19th century cotton textile mill that it powered over 100 years ago.

8. Gatlinburg

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Gatlinburg offers many exhilarating options for bicycle enthusiasts.

For those who love to churn the wheels, get a good work out, and ride through scenic landscapes there is no better place.

For those bicycle lovers who prefer a more relaxing ride there plenty of safer and just as scenic options to choose from in the Great Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area:

Cades Cove Loop Road: One of the few exceptions for riding in the national park, bicycles are allowed on the Cades Cove Loop Trail is allowed. Cyclists can enjoy this 11-mile loop road and view wildlife, visit historic cabins and take their time enjoying this spectacular valley. Bikes can be rented from Cades Cove during the fall and summer.

Another option is Townsend Bicycle Trail: This 3-mile paved trail is located in Townsend, TN and parallels Highway-US 321. Cyclists can expect rolling hills and spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains as they ride along. This is a great trail for the family and children of all ages. Portions of the trail run along the Little River, and bicyclists have access to restaurants, shops, and motels along the way. Parking is available at both ends of this trail.

One of few trails open to bicycles in the park, Gatlinburg Trail One, is the perfect family friendly bike route through the forest. This trail travels 1.9 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg. The path is relatively flat through forest and the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. Foundations, chimneys and remains of historic homes can be seen along this trail.  And you are only about 15 minutes from Elk Springs Resort.

As an experienced road cyclists you should choose Foothills Parkway, a 16.5-mile stretch of road that carves through the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Foothill Parkway, which runs between US 321 and US 129, proves a challenge with steep grades and sharp turns. This road biking route has significantly less traffic than other roads running through the park.

The avid mountain biker should definitely go on Forge Creek Road/Parsons Branch Road that leads to the Gregory Bald Trail, just past the turnoff for the Cades Cove Visitors Center. It is an adventure.

Mountain bikers can huff it up a 5.4 mile one way route to the crest of Hannah Mountain and back. To avoid traffic on your ride the best time to do this trail is when it is closed to automobile traffic.

Check with the Cades Cove Visitors Center for details on this.

9. Birthplace of Country Music – Bristol

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If you are here, you have to find out why the place is called Birthplace of Country Music.

Bristol is probably best known for being the site of some of the first commercial recordings of country music, showcasing Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, and later a favorite venue of the mountain musician Uncle Charlie Osborne.

So, easy. Visit The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, which tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, explores how evolving sound technology shaped their success, and highlights how this rich musical heritage lives on in today’s music. The museum also houses a research collection including an extensive digital archive.

If you have some time, go see the Beautiful and majestic Bristol Caverns!

Paved, well lighted walkways wind through the vaulted chambers and along the banks of the ancient Underground River that carved these remarkable caverns from the hard core of the earth 200 to 400 million years ago.

10. Walnut Street Bridge

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I think this could be very romantic night journey.

Maybe you will also be in time for Wine over Water, a wine tasting event that takes place on the Walnut Street Bridge. Over 150 wines from all over the world get tasted. Or, even better.

Every summer, Chattanooga hosts the Riverbend Festival where country music and rock bands come and play for the city. On the last night of the festival, fireworks are shot off for the spectators.

The bridge is used to display a bright waterfall of fireworks, which fall down into the river below. The fireworks are displayed at the middle of the bridge, and boaters are not allowed within several hundred feet.

What do you think about our trip today? Have you already visited Tennessee and have some great tips for us? We can’t wait to hear from you!