Bears in the Smoky Mountains Active | Getting Ready for Hibernation

Bears in the Smoky Mountains are active while getting ready for hibernation this year. Sightings and encounters with people have been on the rise this autumn since many bears are traveling as much as 10-15 miles outside their normal foraging range within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in search of food. Visitors and residents alike should take extra measures to secure trash in your automobiles, homes and businesses.

bear-in-garbage-jbutewicz-heysmokies

National Park Rangers report the increased bear activity is due to an unusually low amount of forest foods available this year. White Oak acorns, Red Oak acorns and other nuts, known as the mast crop, have provided an extremely low yield. There has also been a lack of carbohydrate-rich wild cherries available for the bears this year.

For those planning a hike, the National Park reports increased bear activity on the following trails this fall:
Laurel Falls Trail – Little River Road
Little River Trail  – Elkmont
Grotto Falls Trail – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Ramsey Cascades Trail – Greenbrier
Mt. LeConte Lodge Area

For those planning to backpack, the National Park reports increased bear activity at the following backcountry sites this fall:
Cosby Knob Shelter
Mt. LeConte Shelter
Russell Field Shelter
Backcountry Campsites 13, 21, 24, 38, 41, 95
Backcountry Campsite 113 is currently closed

For up-to-date backcountry trail and campsite information, call the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 865-436-1297.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources strongly encourages visitors and residents in the Smoky Mountains to use the following tips to keep both bears and humans happily coexisting:


Do not feed bears.
Keep pet food indoors and feed pets in the house or garage.
Store garbage in bear-proof containers outdoors or keep garbage indoors where it’s inaccessible to bears.
Clean outdoor grills after use and if possible store grill indoors.
Do not put out bird feeders between and April and January when bears are most active.
Do not add food to your compost piles.

For more information on black bears and safety, visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Bear Facts of Hibernation
Bears start preparing during the summer for over-wintering by gaining as much weight as 30 pounds per week. Through the fall, their activity will decrease as they wait to receive some unidentified signal that its time to enter the den. Bears make dens in hollowed-out trees, burrows, caves, and rock crevices. Black bears keep their heads and torsos warm enough that they can wake if disturbed.

More Hey Smokies Features:

Smoky Mountain Hellbenders
Smoky Mountain Hellbenders...
Smoky Mountain Hellbenders are the largest aquatic salamanders in the national park. You may recognize the Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganien[Read More >>]
Spur Tunnel Repairs Begin
Spur Tunnel Repairs Begin...
Smoky Mountain road closures set to snarl traffic. Spur tunnel repairs begin. Northbound Spur traffic will be one lane beginning January 3 t[Read More >>]
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe...
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe. What is behind the Southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Years day? Some folk[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Smoky Mountain Turkey Tail Mushrooms...
Smoky Mountain Turkey Tail mushrooms are always in season! Trametes versicolor (common name Turkey Tail mushroom) is a decomposing polypore[Read More >>]
Christmas Cookie Recipe
Christmas Cookie Recipe...
Christmas Cookie Recipe. When the holidays arrive in the Great Smoky Mountains there are many HeySmokies sweet treat favorites but the tradition[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Long Cold Full Moon
Smoky Mountain Long Cold Full Moon...
Smoky Mountain Long Cold full moon is on the rise! Smoky Mountain Long Cold Full Moon is on the rise! The final full moon for 2022 will appe[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash!
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash!...
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash! Who wouldn’t love a beautiful ornamental tree, not too large or too small, with an abundance of [Read More >>]
Laurel Falls Trailhead Closure
Laurel Falls Trailhead Closure...
Laurel Falls Trail Closure Laurel Falls Trailhead closure will begin Monday, November 7, 2022 and end Thursday, November 17, 2022. A geotech[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Ghost Stories
Smoky Mountain Ghost Stories...
Smoky Mountain Ghost Stories. The Smoky Mountain region is steeped in strange and unexplainable occurrences that some say are supernatural. We h[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Southern Mac And Cheese Recipe
Smoky Mountain Southern Mac And Cheese Recipe...
Smoky Mountain Southern Mac And Cheese Recipe is the perfect side dish for any meal and sometimes it is a great meal all by itself. All you ne[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Hunters Full Moon
Smoky Mountain Hunters Full Moon...
Smoky mountain full hunters moon HeySmokies.com Smoky Mountain Full Hunters Moon. Most of the time, the full moon isn’t completely full. We [Read More >>]
Take a Scenic Drive on Moonshiner 28 near the Great Smoky Mountains!
Take a Scenic Drive on Moonshiner 28 near the Great Smoky Mountains!...
Take a Scenic Drive on Moonshiner 28 near the Great Smoky Mountains! Perhaps no image is more stereotypical of the rural South than that of the [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut...
Love is in the air for Smoky Mountain Elk. Smoky Mountain Elk Rut is on. The call of the wild echoes in the Smokies as Bull Elks seek mates.[Read More >>]
10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains
10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains...
10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains. Packing the 10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains is like your insurance [Read More >>]
All You Need to Know About Snakes in the Smoky Mountains
All You Need to Know About Snakes in the Smoky Mountains...
Yes, there are 23 species of snakes found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but only 2 of them are poisonous; so don't let that keep y[Read More >>]
Giant Hogweed Invades Smoky Mountain Region
Giant Hogweed Invades Smoky Mountain Region...
Giant Hogweed Invades Smoky Mountain Region. Giant Hogweed looms large on it's march toward the Smokies. Giant Hogweed can reach up to 20-f[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Southern Fried Green Tomato Recipe
Smoky Mountain Southern Fried Green Tomato Recipe...
Smoky Mountain Southern Fried Green Tomato Recipe is the perfect solution to all the extra tomatoes from your garden. The HeySmokies.com culinar[Read More >>]
The Big Creek Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Big Creek Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park...
Big Creek ranger district is found on the eastern edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a small campground for 12 sites for tents onl[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Parsons Branch Road Opens
Smoky Mountain Parsons Branch Road Opens...
Smoky Mountain Parsons Branch Road Opens after a six year closure. GSMNP officials celebrated the reopening of Parson Branch Road with a ri[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains  Seeks Help Identifying Historic Homesites
Great Smoky Mountains Seeks Help Identifying Historic Homesites...
Dan Lawson place is one of the many historic homesites preserved in the Smoky Mountains. Great Smoky Mountains Seeks Help Identifying Histor[Read More >>]