Race Header

Cades Cove Loop Lope

Sun November 4, 2018 Directions

10 Mile Loop Lope

7:30AM EST - 10:00AM EST

5K Loop Lope

7:35AM EST - 9:05AM 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

This is the one & only organized footrace held in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, brought to you by Friends of the Smokies and the Knoxville Track Club, and it benefits Friends of the Smokies. Participation is limited to 750 total runners. There are two course options, either a 5K Loop Lope or a 10 Mile Loop Lope. Price for either course is $75 per participant.

Please note that you may register here to participate in either the 5K or 10-mile course.

Carpooling is essential to maximizing participation in this race. Only 100 vehicle passes will be available for purchase for an additional $35 fee when registration opens. SOLD OUT!!! Registrants who do not purchase a vehicle pass must either carpool with a passholder they know or utilize the group transportation option which will be provided by Friends of the Smokies.

Preferred Lodging Partners

Last year many people asked where to stay in Townsend; this year, we have identified some preferred lodging partners-

- The Townsend Gateway Inn - Rates vary by room type; 15 rooms have been blocked for Saturday, November 3rd. Call (865) 238-0123. Book under the "Cades Cove Loop Lope" room block;  Must be booked two weeks in advance (by October 20, 2018).

- Little Arrow Resort - Offering everything from RV cabins to tiny homes! Visit their website for more information and to book your stay.

Race Contact Info

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


Here's what's in the race packets-

  • Vehicle pass (if secured through the registration process)
  • Race bib & chip
  • Safety pins
  • T-shirt

Here's where to pick up race packets-


There is no race day packet pickup. There will be no packet mailing.

Finishers’ medals will be distributed on race day; everyone who registers will receive a medal. At the 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 also will be age category trophies for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place male and female finishers for both courses. The awards ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. If you do not stay to pick up your award, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to get it to you.

A note about the 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. In preparation for cars on the road, the finish line will come down as well. Registrants do not have to exit the courses.

Additional Things to Know

  • Because this race happens inside one of the crown jewels of the national park system, 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. Our volunteers will dispose of those items for you. Please do not throw anything at all down on the course.
  • Time changes on race day. Be sure to "fall back" before going to sleep on Saturday night.
  • After you arrive in Cades Cove on race morning, please do your best to be as quiet as possible since there will be campers staying in Cades Cove who are not participating in the race. After you park your car or get off the bus, please be conscious of the volume of your activities. 
  • Please be aware of your surroundings at all times. There will be people coming & going from the Cades Cove campground who are not participating in the race. As you walk from the parking area to the starting line (by the way, it's 1/2 mile approximately), and as you exit the Loop Road after the finish, please watch for vehicles.
  • Whether you are a passholder and will park your vehicle in Cades Cove, or are riding the buses and are parking your car in Townsend, you may be directed to park on uneven terrain. If your vehicle has low clearance, be advised.
  • It will be dark in Cades Cove when you arrive, so consider bringing a headlamp or small flashlight

REFUND POLICY – Our refund policy is designed to encourage anyone who has an issue crop up with training, scheduling, or life getting in the way to cancel and free up a spot on our waiting list. The policy is as follows: Prior to 10/5/2018, refunds will be issued at 100%. From 10/5/2018 to 10/26/2018, cancellations will result in a 50% refund. For cancellations after 11:59 PM on 10/26/2018, no refunds will be issued.

Where to Park and What To Do

Information for Parking Passholders and Non-Passholders

No vehicle without a pass will be admitted past the Townsend Wye on race day until after 11:00 a.m. All passholders must show their vehicle 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.



If you are not a vehicle parking passholder, and are not riding with a passholder, then you will need to ride the provided buses. The buses are not running back & forth on race day. Each bus will make one trip in and one trip out. We cannot guarantee any certain departure time from Cades Cove after you finish the course. The first bus will NOT leave before the awards ceremony which is at 9:30 a.m.

For those who are riding the buses, please arrive at the designated parking field adjacent to the Townsend Visitors Center (located at 7906 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882) in order to be ready for departure on the buses at 6:30 a.m. Buses will begin arriving at 6:00 a.m. (Thank you to the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority for lending us the field beside their visitors center in Townsend, TN for parking on race day.) The first bus will leave as soon as it is full; the last bus will leave at 6:30 a.m.

Bus Riders - Do not arrive at the Townsend Visitors Center before 5:30 a.m.

- Watch for volunteers with reflective vests and flashlights directing you
- Turn on to Myers Road next to the Visitors Center (VC)
- You will be directed to turn a little past the VC and into a field. You will park on uneven terrain. If your vehicle has low clearance, be aware of your surroundings.

- It will be dark so having a light to walk from the parking area to the buses which will be in the front parking VC parking lot (directly in front of the VC) would be helpful in keeping you safe


It is unlikely you will ride in/out on the same bus. Please do not leave items on the bus. There will be a coat check/bag check under the Friends of the Smokies tent which will be located near the Cades Cove amphitheater/pavilion, across from the campground office. We will provide the safety pins and volunteers to assist you; the coat check number will be a tear-off from your race bib.


If you purchased a vehicle pass, please have it handy when you approach the Towsend Wye intersection so that you can show it to the Park Ranger who will be at the checkpoint.

The road will be closed between the Townsend Wye and Cades Cove for the race. The Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed for the race until 11 a.m.

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.

This year we will also have directional signage to assist you in locating the start line, the finish line, and coat check. BRING A FLASHLIGHT OR HEADLAMP, PLEASE. IT'S REALLY, REALLY DARK OUT THERE.

After you park if you would like to check a bag or jacket, the coat check station will be under the Friends of the Smokies tent in front of the amphitheater, across from the Cades Cove Ranger Station. The tear-off slip at the bottom of your race bib will be your coat check ticket.

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. Hopefully the volunteers and directional signage will help guide you.

You may be asked to park on uneven terrain. If your vehicle has low clearance, be aware of your surroundings.

The 10 Mile race starts at 7:30 a.m. The 5K race starts at 7:35 a.m. Passholders do not need to arrive earlier than 6:15 a.m. If you arrive earlier than that, we may not be ready to assist or guide you or answer your questions. Again, remember to "fall back" on Saturday night.


10 Mile Course

10 Mile Course Elevation Map

5K Course

5K Course Elevation Map

Aid/Water Stations + Course Monitors

Locations of Aid/Water Stations + Course Monitors

Click the icon below to download the attached PDF.

Race Website

Additional race information can be found at https://friendsofthesmokies.org/looplope/.


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