GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — With more people taking advantage of vehicle-free Wednesdays at Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will soon offer a weekly shuttle service from Townsend to accommodate more visitors.
Park officials announced that beginning July 7, a shuttle service will be offered from Townsend to Cades Cove between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. each Wednesday for a flat rate of $25. The service will include the transport of personal bikes.
The shuttle service will run through September 1, when vehicle-free Wednesdays at Cades Cove will conclude for the year.
“Vehicle-free Wednesdays in Cades Cove continues to be extremely popular,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Our staff has worked hard to manage safe parking access, including making improvements to a field traditionally used for parking that allowed us to add 85 more spots this year. But, the demand still far exceeds the space and we’re hopeful the shuttle service will allow more people the opportunity to enjoy this unique experience.”
According to a park release, parking lots have typically filled by 8:00 a.m. and stayed full until 1:00 p.m. on vehicle-free Wednesdays, resulting in hundreds of cars being turned away during that time period.
Shuttle service may be booked online at www.rockytoptours.com. Participants who choose not to ride the shuttle are encouraged to plan their visit to Cades Cove in the late afternoons and early evenings to spread use out throughout the day.