menuTimber Tops logo
mountain landscape

3 Tips for Viewing Wildlife in the Smoky Mountains

A black bear cub in the Smoky Mountains.
September 13, 2016

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the best wildlife viewing in the nation! Visitors to the Smokies will have the chance to see more than 200 types of birds, 67 varieties of fish, 65 species of mammals, and over 80 types of reptiles and amphibians. To help you make the most of your time in the national park, Timber Tops Luxury Cabin Rentals has put together three tips for viewing wildlife in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Visit the Right Locations

The key to finding your favorite animals in the Smokies is knowing where to look! While much of the national park is covered in dense forest, there are some open areas where you are more likely to spot Smoky Mountain critters. Cades Cove is one of the very best places for wildlife viewing, because this valley has plenty of space for animals to stroll into view. White-tailed deer, turkeys, woodchucks, and black bears are all known to frequent Cades Cove.

(See Also: Top 4 Reasons to Visit Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains in the Fall Season)

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail also offers some excellent wildlife viewing right from your car. As you make your way through the winding road of this scenic drive, you may spot a turkey or a bear poking out from the trees.

2. Go Birding on a Guided Hike

A Pileated woodpecker in the Smoky Mountains in the fall

If you want to see some of the beautiful birds in the Smoky Mountains, consider taking a hike with A Walk in the Woods. When you sign up for their four-hour Birding Tour, your knowledgeable guide will take you on one of the park’s beautiful trails and help you spot and identify the area’s gorgeous feathered residents. Follow the link to learn more about scheduling a guided hike with A Walk in the Woods .

3. Know the Habits of Your Favorite Animals

When you go looking for wildlife in the Smoky Mountains, it helps to know when your favorite animals are likely to make an appearance. Here is a quick look at when you can spot some of the park’s most popular critters:

  • Black bears hibernate during the winter, but they are out and about from late spring through early fall. The best times to see bears is from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

  • White-tailed deer can be seen throughout the year, although they are most active in the fall, as this is their breeding season. Early in the morning and late in the evening are the best times to spot a deer. These timid creatures are known to graze after rainstorms on foggy days, so try to take advantage of these opportunities.

  • Wild turkeys breed in the spring, so keep your eyes out for males strutting their stuff in the fields of Cades Cove and other areas throughout the park. These birds typically travel in flocks, which makes them easier to spot. Daytime is the best for viewing turkeys, as they roost in trees at night.

Although it probably goes without saying, remember to always follow the park’s safety measures when viewing wildlife in the Smoky Mountains. These include keeping a reasonable distance (150 feet for bears), not disturbing the animals, and not feeding the animals.

Two deer in the Smoky Mountains

When you stay at our cabins in the Smokies, you will be just a short drive away from some of the best wildlife viewing spots in the area. Our properties come with everything you need for an amazing vacation, including mountain views, bubbly hot tubs, fully furnished kitchens, and plenty of in-cabin entertainment. To start planning your getaway, check out our complete selection of Smoky Mountain cabin rentals!

Related Blog Posts

Smoky Mountain Paycation
April 1, 2017
The Great Smoky Mountains Will Pay You to Visit Them in 2017
aerial view of downtown Gatlinburg
February 19, 2014
Smoky Mountains’ Wildlife Viewing in Cades Cove
view of downtown Gatlinburg visitors get during a Gatlinburg vacation weekend
April 8, 2015
4 Steps to Planning a Cheap Gatlinburg Weekend Getaway
aerial view of downtown Gatlinburg
November 12, 2013
What You Need To Know Before Winter Hiking In The Smokies