Since Gatlinburg is nestled right in the Great Smoky Mountains it should be obvious that you are sharing this beautiful region with a plethora of animal life. I’ve heard so many families talk about the adults and children alike keeping their eyes peeled for a bear sighting. Visitors may be curious as to where the most likely places are to encounter these animals in safe, controlled environments. While proper safety precautions should always be taken into consideration when approaching the wildlife of the area, there are a few spots, both controlled and open, around the city where bear and other animals can be encountered.
Wildlife Encounter – This is a feature within the Ober Gatlinburg amusement park. Be prepared to have face-to-face encounters with bears, flying squirrels, raccoons, turtles, snakes, fish, tree lizards, and many more. The park also features an underwater viewing area where visitors can watch river otters playing, as well as a “nocturnal house” which plays host to the creatures who prefer the nightlife. This exhibit is only $6 for adults, $4 for children and free for children 6 and under with a paid adult ticket.
Cade’s Cove – This valley receives over 2 million customers every year and consists of an 11-mile-one-way loop that takes visitors along a path full of historic sites that hold lots of meaning for the history of the area. The wildlife in this particular area is abundant, and you’re sure to encounter something to satisfy your craving for wild life on your journey. You always may come into contact with black bears, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, red wolves, beavers, raccoons, and more. Obviously, many of these animals are not to be approached directly, so you should be definitely be attentive when exploring the area. This will ensure that you can experience their majesty while still remaining safe.
Another great way to see wildlife is to stay in a cabin tucked away in the mountains. Imagine relaxing on a back deck in a hot tub or rocking chair taking in nature at its best. Below are some photos sent to us from some of our guests. The possibilities of taking in the abundance of wildlife Gatlinburg has to offer are endless. Just be sure to always show appropriate behavior and respect towards animals!