Ursus americanus, the American black bear and one of the best known features of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. where the bears live in wild, natural surroundings.
A spectacular looking creature measuring up to 6 ft in length, and standing 3 ft tall at the shoulder. A typical male can weigh in at 250 lbs, females normally weigh in at around 100 lbs, however by fall bears can double in weight getting ready for their long periods of sleep when the cold months of winter set in. Bears live 12-15 years however when they have access to human foods/garbage they live half that long. Like humans bears are omnivores, their diet consisting of 85% plant material, the other 15% made up of insects and animal carrion. Bears have a very keen sense of smell, color vision, they are good swimmers, can run 30 mph and boy can they climb!
Black bears in the Smokies don’t actually hibernate but they do den for long periods of time through the winter. Mama bears and cubs (usually 1-4) begin emerging from their dens in late March/early April. Cubs remain with their mama for about 18 months until she mates again. Anytime you are visiting the Smokies please be on the lookout for bears (and other wildlife) which may be in or crossing the road. Pictured here mama and 3 cubs on Roaring Fork Motor Trail.
Most all the travelers that stay at one of our cabins would love to see a bear, many get that opportunity without ever leaving the cabin! We can’t guarantee a bear siting however we will guarantee that when you do see one you will be in absolute awe of them. One of the best wildlife viewing areas in the Smokies is Cades Cove in Townsend, TN If you are a wildlife lover you most certainly will want to make a trip here.
The national park website has great do’s and don’ts when it comes to viewing/encountering wildlife. If you plan to be in the park I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with park regulations regarding the wildlife as well as reading the article on their site devoted to keeping you and the wildlife safe.
The prospect of seeing a black bear in it’s wild, natural surroundings is just another great reason to come to the Smoky Mountains! When you do we hope you will stay in one of our cabins, enjoy the view and just maybe you will be one of the fortunate ones that sees that spectacular creature known as ursus americanus!