black bears

Black Bear cub in Cades Cove

Black Bear cub in Cades Cove

A black bear cub forages in Cades Cove Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Black bears are excellent climbers and many park visitors miss seeing bears because they don’t look up. It is not uncommon to see smaller cubs in the highest branches of an oak or walnut tree shaking down nuts for easier eating!

Black Bear Great Smoky Mountains Park

Black Bear Great Smoky Mountains Park

A black bear climbing a tree in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many park visitors miss bears because they only look at ground level and do not look up into the treetops.

Bears climb trees for protection and to feed on nuts and fruit. This is especially true in Autumn as the bears fatten up for their long winter naps.

Always keep in mind that black bears are wild animals that can easily outrun an adult human. Never approach a bear in the wild, never provoke a bear in the wild and never ever ever feed a bear in the wild. Feeding bears alters their natural proclivities and could lead to behavior that endangers bear and people alike.

Black Bear Great Smoky Mountains 3

Black Bear Great Smoky Mountains 3

A black bear in the Cherokee Orchard section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Richard Weisser.

How to Find Bears in Great Smoky Mountains

How to Find Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Black Bear near Roaring Fork
Black Bear near Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

When visitors are asked why they come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there are many common answers.

They come for the incomparable mountain views, the over eight hundred miles of hiking trails, the historic structures, the crystal clear streams, rivers and waterfalls and of course the wildlife…

Especially black bears!

Unfortunately many would-be bear spotters have unrealistic expectations when it come to seeing bears in the Smoky Mountains. Although current populations are at historically high numbers, black bears are reclusive and tend to avoid contact with humans. So the odds of actually seeing a bear during a casual visit are not very good. Continue reading

Black Bear Great Smoky Mountains 07

Black Bear Great Smoky Mountains 07

A black bear forages in the Cherokee Orchard area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains Black Bear 002

Great Smoky Mountains Black Bear 002

A black bear in  the Cherokee Orchard section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just outside of Gatlinburg Tennessee.

Roaring Fork Black Bear

Roaring Fork Black Bear

A black bear along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains Part 2

Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains Part 2

Black Bear near Roaring Fork Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Black Bear near Roaring Fork

I was reading some reviews about black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and was surprised to learn that many people come to the Park EXPECTING to see a bear. In many cases these reviewers were disappointed.

It occurred to me that there may be an information gap regarding the somewhat large bear population in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the actual likelihood that a park visitor will actually see a black bear. Continue reading

Smoky Mountain Black Bear

Smoky Mountain Black Bear

A black bear in the Cherokee Orchard region of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Cherokee Orchard is just outside the city limits of Gatlinburg Tennessee.

Cades Cove Black Bear

Cades Cove Black Bear

A young black bear forages for food in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

More about Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Black Bear Cherokee Orchard in the Great Smoky Mountains

Black Bear in Cherokee Orchard