Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains

Black bears

Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains

Seeing wildlife is one of the best things about visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. That is one of the many reasons why many people choose to have a vacation in the mountains.

Learn and Be Amazed with the Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains

Have you ever heard of the Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains?  There is a wide variety of animals in the world. These animals may live in the great Atlantic Ocean, in the vast savannahs of Africa, in the jungles of the Amazon or just around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Great Smoky National Park is home to over dozens of different species of animals from mammals, to birds, to amphibians or even to fishes. The National Park is considered to be a sanctuary for a wide variety of animals.  

Seeing wildlife is one of the best things about visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. That is one of the many reasons why many people choose to have a vacation in the mountains. However, viewing these animals in the Great Smoky Mountains can be challenging as the national park is covered by a dense forest. And most of these animals are a little bit shy, as the sound of human beings around these animals will make them hide on their respective homes.

When talking about animals in the Great Smoky Mountains, one animal would often come to our minds, and that is the Black Bear. The Black Bears are considered to be the national animal of the Smoky Mountains. There are about 1,600 black bears around the national park making the Great Smoky Mountains as one of the largest protected areas where black bears can live in its natural habitat. These animals are also found nearly in all gift shops in the Smoky Mountains. Whether you buy a T-shirt, postcards, mugs, and magnets, these bears are literally on the cover. 

The Great Smoky Mountains Black Bears:  What You Need to Know

A bear is a species of large short-tailed omnivores that are found in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. There around eight species of bears in the world. The smallest is the Sun Bear commonly found in the Southeast Asian forest. The largest bear species are the Polar Bears that are found throughout the Arctic region. But the most common bear in Northern America is the Black Bears. A large population of these bears is found the Great Smoky Mountain National Park which is commonly called the American Black Bear. The American Black Bear grows up to 5 to 6 feet long and weighs 200 to 600 pounds, much smaller than their American counterpart the Grizzly Bear. 

The American Black Bear is considered to be a medium-sized bear, and as I said, these bears are omnivores. Their diets are dependent upon the season and location. These bears typically live in mostly forested areas. So they are considered to be wild animals, and their behavior can be unpredictable. These bears might be medium in size, but they can also be as dangerous as the other wild bears in America. They can also inflict serious injuries or even death if you try to challenge these creatures. Although attacks from these black bears are rare, being cautious is still the best thing to do when you have an encounter with this animal.

Places to See Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains

Black Bears are nearly all over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Spotting one during your vacation in the Smokies is exciting. These black bears would come out from hibernation as the weather around the Smokies is starting to get warm. So if you’re a bear enthusiast or just a tourist who wanted to see black bears roaming in its natural habitat, these places are the best to start your hunt.

Cades Cove

This 11-mile one-way loop road is one of the most famous trails in the Great Smoky Mountains. Here you can experience the great scenic views of the Great Smoky Mountains, a great history of the Smokies, an open field of wildflowers, and looming wildlife. Some parts of the Smoky Mountains are covered with dense forest and are great for wildlife viewing. However, Cades Cove offers you an open area where you will have an opportunity to see wildlife, from white-tailed deer, raccoons, turkeys, and the famous black bears. So driving, hiking, or biking around Cades Cove gives you an excellent opportunity to encounter these black bears.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Another place where you can have a great opportunity to see black bears is the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The trail is a one-way, scenic loop that is 6 miles long that provides you great views of the mountains, streams, historic buildings, and black bears. Trailing around this area in the comfort of your vehicles allows you to see some black bears roaming around the area.

Little River Trail

The Little River Trail is an 18-mile stretch that runs alongside the Little River. The trail allows you to have an incredible view over the mountains and a chance to see some black bears. So don’t get to speedy as you will miss such an enjoyable experience.

What to Do if You See a Black Bear in the Great Smoky Mountains

As mentioned, Black Bears are nearly found in all areas of the Great Smoky Mountains. Although black bears would rarely attack humans unless being threatened, still extreme precaution is being implemented by the authorities. An encounter with the animal is unavoidable when you explore the vast lands of the national park. So we have some tips for you when you in contact with these Black Bears. 

#1 Stay at least 50 yards away

Bears are considered to be dangerous if threatened. And staying away is one of the best options.  You have to make sure you are not a threat to them. Black bears are not an exemption, so keeping a safe distance from them is the first thing you should do when you see one. Stay away from them at least 50 yards (150 feet). Most of these bears won’t attack as they are only interested in protecting their food, cubs and their space.

#2 Do not feed the bears

Feeding the bears is punishable by law around the Smokies. This is the one thing that every tourist should know. You cannot feed the bears and also all the other wild animals around the area. This is for the safety of the bears and you. 

#3 Identifying yourself to the bear

First things first stay calm at all cost. When you see a black bear, and the bear sees you, make sure you identify yourself so that it will know that you are human and not prey. By waving your arms slowly, this would help the bear recognize you as a human. So don’t make sudden movements or scream, it may trigger an attack.

#4 Don’t run from the bear

Most bears want to be left alone. If you get up close with a bear, do not make sudden movements or never run away from the bear. Moving away sideways from the bear will allow you to keep an eye on the bear, and this move is a non-threatening movement to bears. But if you run from the bear, it will most likely chase you away. And mind you bears are fast.

So if you are really hoping to see a black bear in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, remember the places I mentioned above. Those places are famous for getting to see a black bear out in the wild. Also, please remember to keep those tips in mind when you visit the Smokies for the safety of both you and the Black Bears.

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