Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the adoption of a new regulation to allow the use of low-speed electric bikes (e-bikes) in the park at all locations where bicycles are currently allowed. Both Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes, which can provide electronic assistance until the rider reaches a speed of 20 mph, are allowed under the new regulation.
Park specific regulations, as described in the Superintendent’s Compendium or Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, have been amended to record this change in Chapters 1. 4 and 4.3. Bicycles and e-bikes are allowed on any park road where motor vehicles are allowed; seasonally closed roads; and the Gatlinburg Trail between the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Gatlinburg (1.9 miles), the Oconaluftee River Trail between the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the town of Cherokee (1.6 miles), Indian Creek Trail (2.9 miles), and Deep Creek Trail (1.4 miles).
E-bikes enable more people to enjoy a cycling experience in the park in a manner that is consistent with conventional bicycle use. Cyclists may only use the small electric motor to assist pedal propulsion. The motor may not be used to propel an e-bike without the rider also pedaling, except in locations open to public motor vehicle traffic. More people, especially those with physical limitations, will now have the opportunity to explore the park in a unique way.
For more information about biking inside the park, please visit the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/biking.htm.