Bear Safety

The Black Bears of Gatlinburg

Bear Safety

Warning: Bears are wild animals that are dangerous and unpredictable. Do not approach bears or allow them to approach you!

Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces a bear is illegal in the National Park.   We suggest following these same rules at all times, even outside of the park.

*** The majority of black bear related attacks to humans are minor and most black bear attacks on humans are a result of the bear attempting to get to peoples food. If it appears that a bear is interested in food you or anyone in your party has, let go of the food and slowly back away from the food and the bear.

Feeding a bear can result in a $5,000 fine and up to 6 months in Jail.   

Bear activity is most common from the early evening, dusk and into the night.  Please use caution and common sense if you see or encounter a bear as there have been several sightings close to cabins – even during the day.  Should you see a bear:

  • Never feed or toss any food to a black bear.  This is illegal
  • Keep children and pets under strict control and if possible bring them to safety inside a vehicle or indoors.
  • Keep the bear at as great a distance as possible. If the bear notices you and changes it behavior such as feeding or the direction in which it is moving, you are too close, back away slowly from the bear and make lots of noise.
  • Never back a bear into a corner or surround it. Being to close to or threatening a black bear can cause the bear to exhibit aggressive behavior such as you being rushed towards by the bear or the bear swatting the ground. The black bear may even make popping noises with its jaw or other loud noises which are indications the bear needs more space so you should slowly back away from the bear and remember DO NOT RUN. Running can trigger an attack mechanism in black bears.

TRASH:  Given the food source problems, the bears will attempt to get into trash left in trash cans or within the plastic trash bins.  Please keep all trash inside the cabin unless you have a bear proof steel container installed outside your cabin.  Please call 865-233-2390 ext 6 and request a trash pickup if needed.