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.


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:

No thumbnail available
Bearly 5K Virtual Race Scheduled....
The Appalachian Bear Rescue Bearly 5K will virtually be fun for the entire famil! Bearly 5K Virtual Race Scheduled for Saturday, October 31,[Read More >>]
Children's Cancer Fundraising Hike Scheduled
Children's Cancer Fundraising Hike Scheduled...
Frank Gioscia hikes to find a cure for children's cancer. Children's Cancer Fundraising Hike Scheduled. The CureSearch Ultimate Hike is sche[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Black Bear Euthanized
Smoky Mountain Black Bear Euthanized...
Smoky Mountain black. bears. Always stay at least 50 yards away from Smoky Mountain wildlife. Smoky Mountain Black Bear Euthanized. We are s[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 >>]
No thumbnail available
Mountains To Sea Trail Challenge...
Mountains to sea trail challenge begins September 1, 2020 Mountains To Sea Trail Challenge. Mountain-to-Sea trail issues challenges to celeb[Read More >>]
Ramsey Cascades
Ramsey Cascades...
Ramsey Cascades is a difficult hike with an amazing destination.There are many waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains and a personal favorite i[Read More >>]
Virtual Beer Festival
Virtual Beer Festival...
North Carolina virtual beer festival promises to be a delicious diversion! Virtual Beer Festival scheduled for August 21, 2020. State of Sou[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 culinar[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Poisonous Plants
Smoky Mountain Poisonous Plants...
Smoky Mountain Poisonous Plants. Don’t let poison ivy or its relatives scratch your summer fun. "It comes on like a rose, but everybody kno[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
GSMNP Bike Trail Proposal...
GSMNP needs your input on proposed bike trail. GSMNP bike trail proposal. Great Smoky Mountains National Park seeks public input for a propo[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 >>]
Great Smoky Mountains Hikes For Healing Program Announced
Great Smoky Mountains Hikes For Healing Program Announced...
GSMNP Superintendent Cassius Cash leads Hikes For Healing program. Photo credit - GSMNP Great Smoky Mountains Hikes For Healing Program Ann[Read More >>]
Dollywood Flowers And Food Festival
Dollywood Flowers And Food Festival...
Dollywood Flowers And Food Festival promises to be beautiful and delicious! Dollywood Flowers And Food Festival. Dollywood has added a new f[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Full Buck Moon
Smoky Mountain Full Buck Moon...
Smoky Mountain Full Buck Moon Is On The Rise! No fireworks this year? No problem. Watch the full Buck Moon rise on the 4th of July inste[Read More >>]
Tick Safety Tips!
Tick Safety Tips!...
Tick Safety Tips! Ticks and what you need to know to stay safe! It is that time of year in the Smoky Mountains. Summertime and outdoor activitie[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains Facilities Open
Great Smoky Mountains Facilities Open...
Sugarlands Visitors Center Great Smoky Mountains Facilities Open. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has opened some campgrounds, visito[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Cades Cove Car Ban...
Cades Cove car ban implemented by Great Smoky Mountains National Park. National Park officials announce the implementation of vehicle-f[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Travel Advisory
Smoky Mountain Travel Advisory...
Smoky Mountain Travel Advisory. Smoky Mountain travel advisory. Upcoming Single-Lane Closures on the Spur. Great Smoky Mountains N[Read More >>]
Virtual Synchronous Firefly Event
Virtual Synchronous Firefly Event...
Can't make it to the big Smoky Mountain firefly event? No problem go virtually! Virtual Synchronous firefly event to be held Monday, June 1,[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Fire Ant Invasion...
Fire ants have marched into Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Smoky Mountain Fire Ant Invasion is underway. This small intruder may pose [Read More >>]