We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

best place to see a bear?

northern Kentucky
Level Contributor
98 posts
1 review
Save Topic
best place to see a bear?

I am coming to GSMNP next weekend, and want to see a bear, have never seen one. I will staying at Elkmont cg (don't really want to see one there). Is there a place that could be recommended that has a good chance to see a bear.

Thanks

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
152 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: best place to see a bear?

Cades Cove

Melbourne, Florida
Destination Expert
for Melbourne, Florida
Level Contributor
13,708 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: best place to see a bear?

I agree Cade's Cove is the best spot. You won't always see them but since you are staying in Elkmont you will be close enough to make more than one trip. We have sometimes gone thru twice in one day. We have camped in both Elkmont and Smokemont and have never seen a bear in the Campground. roaring Fork motor trail is another place to look. Also ask the rangers at the visitors center or at the park campground office. They usually know where there is bear activity.

Level Contributor
1,257 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: best place to see a bear?

It really just depends on your timing. I've visiting the Smokies my entire life, and we use to always have bears in the Elkmont Campground. After improvements were made to the garbage cans, things quieted down a bit.

Cades Cove is a good place to see a bear, but that's only because you can see unobstructed views for long distances. Bears are everywhere in the Park, but it's not easy to see them through the forest. You might see 10 in one trip, then not see one for years.

I would say the best time to see a bear in the Smokies is in August, especially in Cades Cove or Roaring Fork MNT.

Swansea, Illinois
Level Contributor
68 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: best place to see a bear?

A lot of it depends on the time of day, too. Early in the morning (before 9 or 10am) and later in the evening (after 5 or 6) are the times I've seen more bears. The only time I've been to the Smokies and not seen a bear is the time I went with someone who insisted on sleeping late every day. I agree with the above posters - Cades Cove and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail are the best places. Good Luck!

Jeffersonville...
Level Contributor
101 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: best place to see a bear?

We saw 3 last year in different areas of Cades Cove and were there around 1:00 ish. Also saw several elk, turkeys, coyote, turtle, deer. Loved it. .

chicago il
Level Contributor
78 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: best place to see a bear?

Hello,

Just returned from GSMNP (Easter weekend). We saw a mama bear with her cubs just a little bit past Alum Cave trailhead. We also saw a bear nursing her cubs at Cades Cove. It was around 5pm. Just a few miles down the loop another bear crossed the road in front of the cars with her 2 cubs. So we feel pretty lucky. On our drive to Cades Cove (6am) we saw a coyote and a ton of wild turkeys on the side of the road.

Grove City, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,523 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: best place to see a bear?

You'd be surprised when bears might show up. We've gone to Cades Cove twice per trip the last several years and only have seen a bear once. Our last real close view of a bear was when a mother bear and her three cubs ran across the road in front of us on the Gatlinburg by-pass. When there are woods around, just be alert. They are all over.

Nashville...
Level Contributor
163 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: best place to see a bear?

If you want to guarantee seeing a bear, there are 4 at the Wildlife Encounter at Ober Gatlinburg, A male, female and their two offspring.

Savannah, GA
Level Contributor
222 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: best place to see a bear?

We have never seen a bear in Cades Cove but we did walk in on a very large elk taking a nap in one of the old barns so be careful exploring the old homesteads. You'd be surprised where you will see a bear in this area. We just got back yesterday and had a huge bear (600-700 pounds) that took up residence at our cabin while we were there. He apparently figured out how to open the bear proof contraptions on the trash cans and expected his free meal every night.

northern Kentucky
Level Contributor
98 posts
1 review
Save Reply
10. Re: best place to see a bear?

thanks for the feedback, I guess my initial statement should have been "I have never seen a bear outside of a zoo", maybe this week.