Vehicle-Free Wednesdays Extended in Cades Cove

Updated: February 12th, 2021: The National Park officials have decided to extend their initial project of vehicle-free Wednesdays throughout Cades Cove Loop Road. This full-day opportunity will start May 5th through September 1st, 2021. In an effort to improve visitor experiences and lessen times of traffic congestion, the park will study these effects through the summer. After summer of 2020, more than half of the reviews they received were very positive towards a vehicle- free day fro bikers, hikers, etc.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced the implementation of vehicle-free access on Cades Cove Loop Road every Wednesday, in the summer of 2020. After many positive reviews from visitors, the park has decided to extend this project into summer 2021. In an effort to improve visitor experiences and lessen times of traffic congestion, the park will study these effects through the summer.

History of Vehicle Free Access  

Vehicle-free time periods of 3 hours began in 1995. Over the last 25 years, use has continued to increase with up to 1,100 people a day cycling or walking along the roadway. During the morning closures, access to the campground, picnic area, horse concessions, store, and trails is blocked to accommodate parking for the biking/pedestrian opportunity on the Loop Road. As a result, traffic leading to the Cades Cove area is often gridlocked by a line of motorists waiting for the road to open at 10:00 a.m.

Summer 2020 Vehicle Free Wednesdays

Park officials have incorporated feedback from the planning process to assess the effectiveness of the trial in improving safety and the visitor experience. By closing the roadway for the entire day, bicyclists and pedestrians will have over 12 hours of daylight to use the Loop Road. This will allow available parking with less impacts to campground, picnic area, and concession operations. By eliminating Saturday morning closures, motorists will have access to Cades Cove on what is traditionally the busiest day of the week for travel.

Mobility-assisted devices are welcomed during vehicle-free days on the Cades Cove Loop Road for individuals with disabilities. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/grsm.

Featured Posts

postimg

Up-to-Date Retail Businesses Reopening

As of May 28th, 2021: Busines.

postimg

Up-to-Date Activities Reopening

As of May 28th, 2021: Busines.

postimg

Up-to-Date Lodging Businesses Reopening

As of May 28th, 2021: Busines.