Cades Cove Loop Lope

Wed April 14 - Sun November 14, 2021 Directions

10 Mile Loop Lope - November 14

$75 11/14 7:30AM EST - 10:00AM EST Registration ends November 10, 2021 at 1:59pm EST

5K Loop Lope - November 14

$75 11/14 7:35AM EST - 9:05AM EST Registration ends November 10, 2021 at 1:59pm EST

Virtual 5K

$75 Registration ends November 14, 2021 at 11:59am EST

Virtual 10 Mile

$75 Registration ends November 14, 2021 at 11:59am EST
Cades Cove Loop Road (10 Mile Course) and Cades Cove Loop Road/Sparks Lane/Loop Road Exit (5K Course) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Cades Cove Loop Lope is the only organized footrace held inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to benefit Friends of the Smokies. All funds raised benefit park projects and programs such as historic preservation, wildlife conservation, native plant and grassland restoration, and much more.

There are two course options, a 5K or a USATF Certified 10-Mile Loop. Participation is limited to 750 total runners. The 2019 in-person Cades Cove Loop Lope sold out in just a few weeks, so don't wait to register!

If you can't make it to Cades Cove on Sunday, November 14 or the race is already sold out, but you still want to support the park, sign up for the Virtual Race! A virtual race can be run (or walked!) anytime, anywhere, even indoors or on a treadmill. Virtual runners will receive a race t-shirt and finisher's medallion via mail, however, they will not be eligible for awards. 

Carpooling is essential to maximizing participation in this race. A limited number of vehicle passes will be available for purchase for an additional fee. Please note: Parking passes always sell out on the first day of registration, which is Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Registrants who do not purchase a vehicle pass must either carpool with a passholder they know or utilize the group transportation option from the Townsend Visitors Center.


Race Day Information

The health and safety of our Friends is paramount. We will be following CDC Guidelines and taking precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

  • Leave No Trace: Because this race happens inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is essential that all of us (staff, volunteers, and runners) do our best to Leave No Trace on race day. If you wish to discard clothing, like gloves, or any type of food or beverage waste (like goo packets) even if they are biodegradable, please hold onto those items until you come to a water station or the finish line.
  • Awards: There will not be an Awards Ceremony. Trophies will be presented to the overall (male and female) 1st, 2nd & 3rd place finishers for both the 5K and 10-Mile courses. There will be 1st place awards for age categories. These will be mailed to winners the week after the race.
  • Course Sweeps: After 1.5 hours on the 5K course and after 2.5 hours on the 10 Mile course, members of the Smokies’ all-volunteer Cades Cove Bicycle Patrol will ride along the routes to notify participants that the Cades Cove Loop Road will open to vehicle traffic. A shuttle vehicle for any participants remaining on the 10 Mile course will drive the course at 10:20 a.m. If the shuttle vehicle approaches you and you are still on the course, you WILL be required to ride the vehicle out. Due to the nature of this race, the road must open in a timely manner and participant safety is of the utmost importance. Therefore, this policy will be strictly enforced.
  • BE AWARE: It will be dark in Cades Cove when you arrive, so consider bringing a headlamp or small flashlight.
  • Water Crossing (5K Course):There is a low water point on the 5K course. A creek crosses the road near the beginning of Sparks Lane and you will have to run through it. The water level depends on the weather during and around that time. There will be a volunteer stationed on the other side of the water with towels for you to dry your feet!
  • Participant Transfers: Since we will likely have a waiting list for this event, we are unable to transfer a registration from one participant to another.
  • Event Transfers: If you signed up for either the 10-Mile or the 5K and decide you'd like to switch to the other distance, this is allowed. Please make sure to let us know either by contacting OR at Packet Pick Up so that we can make the change.
Transportation and Parking

No vehicle without a parking pass will be admitted past the Townsend Wye on race day until after 11:00 a.m. All passholders must show their parking pass at the checkpoint at the Townsend Wye in order to enter Cades Cove on race day. This means there are no drop-offs and pick-ups allowed for participants.

Parking passes are an additional charge during registration. Typically, parking passes sell out on the first day that registration opens, which is Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

1) Meet at the designated parking field adjacent to the Townsend Visitors Center (located at 7906 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882)
2) Buses will arrive at 6:00 a.m. The first bus will leave when it is full. The last bus will leave at 6:30 a.m. Do not arrive at the Townsend Visitors Center prior to 5:30 a.m. as our volunteers will not be ready to receive you.
3) Watch for volunteers to direct you. As you approach the Townsend Visitors Center, you will turn on to Myers Road next to the Visitors Center. You will be directed to turn again just past the Visitors Center into a field (this is uneven terrain!)
4) It will be dark so please bring a flashlight or headlamp for your walk from the field to the bus loading area.
5) Each bus will make one trip in and one trip out. We cannot guarantee any certain departure time from Cades Cove after you finish.
6) It is unlikely you will ride in and out on the same bus so please do not leave personal items on the bus. There is a coat/bag check at the Cades Cove Amphitheater.


1) If you purchased a parking pass, you will pick it up with your packet at Packet Pick Up. Please have it handy when you approach the Townsend Wye intersection so that you can show it to the Park Ranger who will be at the checkpoint.
2) Do not arrive before 6:15 a.m., as volunteers and Park Rangers may not be in place to assist you before that time.
3) When you get to the entrance of Cades Cove there will be a park employee or park volunteer to direct you to the parking area. Please be courteous to them; we could not do this race without them. 
4) You may be asked to park on uneven terrain. If your vehicle has low clearance, be aware of your surroundings.
5) It will be dark so please bring a flashlight or headlamp for your walk from the parking area to Coat Check (Cades Cove Amphitheater) or the Start Line.
6) There is approximately a 0.5 mile walk from the parking area to the coat check station. There is approximately a 0.5 mile walk from the parking area to the start line. They are in opposite directions from one another. 

Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.

10-Mile Elevation Map

5K Elevation Map

Race Website

Additional race information can be found at


Available for Apple and Android devices.

Interactive Race Day Experience with RaceJoy

Live Phone Tracking, GPS Progress Alerts and Cheers!

We are providing you with RaceJoy as part of the official race experience for the Cades Cove Loop Lope.

Download the RaceJoy mobile app in advance to ensure proper phone setup. Invite your friends and family to track you and send you cheers!

Some key RaceJoy features include:

GPS Progress Alerts

  • Receive continual progress updates as you complete your goal.

Live GPS Tracking

  • Remote spectators can track your progress live in a map view. You can also track others.


  • Receive supportive audio cheers from remote friends & family.

Virtual Results (virtual events only)

  • Enter your race-assigned bib number to automatically submit your finish data for real-time scored results.
To use RaceJoy, you must carry your phone and activate tracking on the day you complete your race.
View RaceJoy How-To
Aid Station and Course Map

Cades Cove Loop Road (10 Mile Course) and Cades Cove Loop Road/Sparks Lane/Loop Road Exit (5K Course) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Race Participant Survey

Please complete the following survey to help us better understand your race experience.

Did you participate in the race?

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