Black bear walking through the mountains
September 22, 2014

Have you ever wondered how many bears are in the Smoky Mountains? And where can you go to see them? Those are two of our most popular questions about black bears in the Smoky Mountains, so keep reading to learn more!

There are approximately 1,500 black bears that roam throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since the national park is so large, 1,500 bears doesn’t seem like very many. Lots of people think that this will mean they don’t get a chance to really see the bears while they are spending time in the Smokies. This isn’t true, though! Believe it or not, there are approximately 2 black bears per square mile in the Great Smoky Mountains. So, there’s a good probability that you’ll see them when you visit.

(Also Popular: Highlights of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park )

There are a few spots that are best for seeing wildlife and black bears in the Smoky Mountains. Here’s where you should go:

Where to See the Smoky Mountain Black Bears

Of course, Cades Cove is known for the historical structures that bring the old history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to life. When you spend time in Cades Cove, you can take the auto tour around the 11 mile loop road, go hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains or enjoy a picnic while you watch the wildlife.

Don’t worry if you don’t have time to visit Cades Cove during your vacation, though. You can see the black bears just about anywhere in the national park. They roam free, in their natural habitat, so you may get lucky and see one in the distance while you’re hiking, or while you’re driving along one of the auto tours.

Safety Tips for Seeing Black Bears in the Smoky Mountainsblack bear in the smoky mountains

You have to remember that black bears are wild animals. While they may appear cute and cuddly, they have unpredictable behavior.

When you are in the national park, you don’t have to worry about black bears coming up and bothering you. They tend to stay away from people, but you have to remember not to bother them.

When you see a bear, stay extremely alert. Don’t approach the bear because the bear may think you’re too close, resulting in a quick change of behavior.

Even though it’s very unusual, if a bear begins following you, change your direction. If it continues to follow you, you should get aggressive by shouting and moving to higher ground. In these instances, it may be necessary to throw objects (like rocks or non-food items) at bears. If you throw food items, it will be attracted to you, so make sure you just use items in the national park like sticks and rocks. You have to make yourself appear larger than the bear.

black bear smoky mountainsBlack Bears at Cabins in Gatlinburg

When you stay with Parkside Cabin Rentals, you don’t have to worry about stepping outside and seeing black bears. While it’s not impossible, it is extremely rare, to see a black bear at a cabin. Typically, the bears stay away from areas where there is a lot of human interaction (unless traces of food have been left outside over time).

We keep each of our properties safe, so you and your family can enjoy a relaxing vacation without the worry of wildlife in the area.

To learn more about black bears in the Smoky Mountains, take a look at the National Park Service website.

Is your family planning a vacation to Gatlinburg to see the black bears in the Smoky Mountains? Take a look at our two bedroom cabins in Gatlinburg when you are looking for the best place to stay in the Smokies.

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