Love Animals? Here are the Best Spots to See Wildlife in Smoky Mountain National Park
The Smoky Mountain region is well known as an outdoor oasis. Unique wildlife abounds in almost every nook and cranny of the region so you’d be hard-pressed to take a vacation here without catching sight of the area’s captivating wildlife activity. Smoky Mountain vacations are perfect for anyone who loves animals from the solo traveler to the honeymooning couple to the family of five.
Of course, whether you’re enjoying wildlife in the Smokies via trailhead or from the comfort of your cabin deck, you’ll want to follow the standard safety precautions. Don’t feed the animals and keep a safe distance away following all the signage regarding animal interaction. Once you have these safety guidelines tucked away to memory here the top three places to view wildlife near Gatlinburg:
Roaring Fork Motor Trail
This trail offers a 5.5 mile loop of natural wonders. You can easily drive the route or hop out and tackle the trail by foot. One of the more popular creatures you’ll find along this trail are black bears. These fearless warriors tend to cross the road looking for berries and nuts which are abundant in the cove. Wild turkeys are also a common sighting on Roaring Fork. The turkeys are not afraid of people and will often step out in front of a moving vehicle without a second thought. That said, if you choose to drive while observing wildlife in the Smokies, go slow!
Smoky Mountain vacations are never complete without a pitstop to Cades Cove. This historic nook of Smoky Mountain National Park not only contains abundant wildlife, but also serves as home to some of the area’s most historic settlement remains. While you’re browsing through an old building or reading an informational placard you may be lucky enough to spot a group of white tailed deer, a mama black bear and cub, or a variety of wild birds. Woodpeckers are particularly popular in Cades Cove. Venturing a little further into the cove you’ll enjoy a view of local otters sunbathing on the shore or splashing in the creek near Abrams Falls. Cades Cove definitely offers a wide variety of animal sightings, so add it to your bucket list.
When perusing the many wildlife hotspots in Smoky Mountain National Park you’d be mistaken to overlook the understated Grotto Falls. While many people are searching for a black bear sighting or hope to catch wind of a large elk, Grotto Fall is actually popular for more nontraditional wildlife in the Smokies. This three mile loop weaves through an old hemlock forest and wraps around a 25 foot waterfall. The moist nature of the trail makes it ripe for viewing salamanders and other reptiles common to the area. You won’t regret this route and will enjoy a moderate hike to boot!
The Perfect Homebase for All Your Smoky Mountain Vacations
If you’re looking for the perfect homebase while exploring the area’s wildlife Diamond Mountain Rentalsis here to help. Located close to the park and the Gatlinburg downtown strip, our rentals provide both comfort and convenience for your time away. Call and reserve your cabin today!