Top 4 Tips on How to Safely Enjoy Vehicle-Free Wednesdays on Cades Cove Loop Road
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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is once again implementing vehicle-free Wednesdays on Cades Cove Loop Road, which starts on May 4th and runs through September 28th! This is a unique opportunity for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy Cades Cove without having to share the road with cars! There are a things to keep in mind for your visit, so check out these top 4 tips on how to safely enjoy vehicle-free Wednesdays on Cades Cove Loop Road:
1. Wear a Bike Helmet
One of the most important safety tips for vehicle-free Wednesdays on Cades Cove Loop Road is to wear a helmet while riding your bicycle! Although you won’t have to worry about motor vehicles, you don’t want your visit to be ruined by an injury that could have easily been prevented by a helmet! Keep in mind that children under 16 are required by law to wear a helmet, but it is a good practice for everyone to wear one while biking! If you didn’t bring your own bike for the day, consider renting one at the bike rental near the campground store!
2. Park Only in Designated Areas
When driving to Cades Cove, be sure to park your vehicle only in the designated parking spots. This is because roadside parking can pose a safety risk for pedestrians and cyclists who are trying to access their parking spots. While it may be tempting to show up early for the purpose of beating the crowds, you might be surprised how many other folks have the same idea! In fact, there is a big rush for parking spaces first thing in the morning. As an alternative, consider returning late in the day to avoid being turned away from parking areas!
3. Keep a Safe Distance from Wildlife
Since Cades Cove is a broad valley surrounded by mountains, it is one of the best places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to view wildlife! While visitors often see large numbers of white-tailed deer, it is also possible to come across black bears, coyotes and other animals. When biking or hiking along Cades Cove Loop Road, always be aware of your surroundings as wildlife can be unpredictable! If you happen to encounter a black bear, remember to keep a distance of at least 150 feet and never approach a bear!
4. Bring All Your Daily Essentials
Another tip for how to safely enjoy vehicle-free Wednesdays is to bring all of your daily essentials, including food, water and medications! While you may only plan on spending a couple of hours in the area, you might be surprised how long you end up staying! This is because there are a ton of exciting things to see, including historical structures, nature trails, wildlife viewing and an excellent visitor center. You’ll also find that the picnic area is still open on vehicle-free days, so bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the Cove!
Now that you know how to safely enjoy vehicle-free Wednesdays on Cades Cove Loop Road, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to explore Cades Cove without the traffic! Also, be sure to learn more about the history of this exciting event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park!