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:

Bob Ross' son hosts painting workshops at Blount County Public Library
Bob Ross' son hosts painting workshops at Blount County Public Library...
Bob Ross' son hosts painting workshops at Blount County Public Library. The beloved painter Bob Ross is best known for "happy little trees," mou[Read More >>]
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Mardi Bear Event
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Mardi Bear Event...
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Mardi Bear Event will be a fun way to celebrate Mardi Gras in the Smokies! This Smoky Mountain event is scheduled f[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts 12.5 Million Visitors
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts 12.5 Million Visitors...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts 12.5 Million Visitors. Great Smoky Mountains National Park broke it's all time annual attendance re[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 Winter Experience
Smoky Mountain Winter Experience...
Smoky Mountain Winter Experience event is scheduled for January 27 -29, 2020 at the Ramsey Hotel in Pigeon Forge. This inaugural event will offe[Read More >>]
5 Awesome Winter Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains
5 Awesome Winter Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains...
5 Awesome Winter Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains! We love winter in the Smoky Mountains. The crowds thin out and the traffic slows down. Cle[Read More >>]
Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions - Hunter Hills Theater
Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions - Hunter Hills Theater...
Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions - Hunter Hills Theater. Gatlinburg is widely known as a national vacation destination offering[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 >>]
New Years Eve Bootlegger's Ball
New Years Eve Bootlegger's Ball...
New Years Eve Bootlegger's Ball will ring in 2020 Tuesday, December 31, 2019. This roaring good time will be held at Junction 35 Spirits in Pige[Read More >>]
German Christmas Lebkuchen Recipe
German Christmas Lebkuchen Recipe...
German Christmas Lebkuchen recipe is one of the most beloved and popular Christmas treats in Deutschland. The recipe dates back to the 14th cent[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains Oconaluftee Holiday Homecoming
Great Smoky Mountains Oconaluftee Holiday Homecoming...
Great Smoky Mountains Oconaluftee Holiday Homecoming. The annual holiday homecoming at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center is scheduled for Saturday[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Fraser Fir Trees, America's Favorite Christmas Tree
Smoky Mountain Fraser Fir Trees, America's Favorite Christmas Tree...
Smoky Mountain Fraser Fir Trees, America's Favorite Christmas Tree.  The Fraser fir, which can reach some 55-feet tall in the wild, is the only [Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountain Annual Festival Of Christmas Past
Great Smoky Mountain Annual Festival Of Christmas Past...
Great Smoky Mountain Annual Festival Of Christmas Past Saturday, December 14, 2019. The event will be held at Sugarlands Visitor Center beginnin[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Long Cold Full Moon
Smoky Mountain Long Cold Full Moon...
Smoky Mountain Long Cold Full Moon is on the rise! The final full moon for 2019 and the decade will reach its apex at 12:12 a.m. on December 12t[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Winterfest
Smoky Mountain Winterfest...
Smoky Mountain Winterfest begins November 22, 2019 and runs through February 15, 2020. This celebration of light gives our mountain communities [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 [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Event 2020
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Event 2020...
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Event 2020. It’s never to early to start making plans to see the Synchronous Fireflies (and the Blue Ghost Fi[Read More >>]
Biltmore Downton Abbey Exhibition Special Event
Biltmore Downton Abbey Exhibition Special Event...
  Biltmore Downton Abbey Exhibition Special Event will be featured through April 7, 2020. Costumes, sets and more are part of the new Down[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut...
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut is heating up in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.The fall mating season begins each year around mid-September and is [Read More >>]
Dollywood Light The Way 5K
Dollywood Light The Way 5K...
Dollywood Light The Way 5K is scheduled for Friday November 15, 2019 at Dollywood. This annual event is celebrating its seventh year running. Th[Read More >>]