This route is brought to you by Kymberly Byers, a self proclaimed “vagabond bikepacker” whose passion is to ride the back roads to the roads less traveled. Photo Credits: Kymberly Byers
This route takes you through two beautiful National Forests (Cherokee National Forest and Pisgah National Forest), both of which offer plenty of scenic roads and spectacular views.
Great Smokey Mountain National Park is particularly wonderful to gravel bike through. I originally did this route in the Fall (November) and the scenery was all the more beautiful with the leaves changing leaves.
The challenging climbs reward you with thrilling and fun descents.
There is an epic amount of climbing on this route. (For some of you mountain goats, this will be a high instead!)
The busy road that takes you to your only resupply option (at about mile 23) is a shocking departure from the deserted forest service roads that you have been riding. It is your only opportunity to find bathrooms and to get water and food during this route though, so you'll most likely want to stop.
Do this ride if you are looking for a unique Smoky Mountains gravel biking experience with challenging elevation that will reward you with spectacular views.
The only place to resupply is a little early in the route, at mile 23. It is just past Cove Creek and is a bit of a detour. It is here you will find a couple of gas stations.
There are numerous creeks for water if you have a water filter.
Did you notice that this route has 8,000+ feet of climbing? It is a very challenging day of climbing!
I parked in the Waterville Power station lot which is technically in Hartford, Tennessee
Kymberly Byers is a self proclaimed “vagabond bikepacker” whose passion is to ride the back roads to the road less traveled.
Her current mailing address is in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but she gets around quite a bit and who knows where she’ll land next!
Kymberly began bikepacking in 2017 and has been doing multiple trips a year since. In 2020, She bikepacked 100 consecutive days from Fort Wayne Indiana to the Headwaters of the Mississippi to the Badlands, Black Hills, Devils Tower, over the Bighorn mountains, to Yellowstone, made a lap around the Tetons and many points beyond. She also completed smaller trips along the Gulf coast, Texas, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and more- 26 states in 2020 alone!
You can learn more about Kymberly and her 2020 bikpacking trip on the Girls Gone Gravel Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/girlsgonegravel/rebroadcast-strangers-self-worth-with-kymberly-byers-episode-25
“Basically, I just want to ride and experience the vast beauty of our earth. If I can share my experiences, then all the better.”