Where To View Wildlife This Summer

Given the nature of its surroundings, it is to be expected that Gatlinburg TN is home to a variety of animal life. Perhaps the most famous creature that calls this area home is the black bear, a species that has in many ways become an unofficial “mascot” of the region. Because of this, visitors may be curious as to where the most likely places are to encounter these animals, as well as other animals, in safe, controlled environments. And while proper safety should always be observed 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.

One controlled environment where visitors can meet some of the local wildlife is the Smoky Mountain Wildlife Encounter, a feature within the Ober Gatlinburg amusement park (We offer many Gatlinburg cabins located near Ober Gatlinburg on Ski Mountain). Here you can have face-to-face encounters with bears, flying squirrels, raccoons, owl, 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.

To see animals in a more open environment, you might try visiting Cade’s Cove. This valley is a famous Gatlinburg attraction, 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 area is particularly plentiful, and you’re sure to encounter at least deer 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 definitely be attentive when exploring the area. Never get too close to or attempt to feed any of these creatures. This will ensure that you can experience their majesty while still remaining safe.

Gatlinburg offers a plethora of wildlife for visitors to encounter. Whether in a controlled or open environment, coming into contact with these creatures is sure to leave you with fond memories of your Gatlinburg vacation. Just be sure to always show appropriate behavior and respect towards animals and their surroundings.