The wildlife in the Smokies is one of the top reasons to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and it is quite likely if you venture into the park in the morning or evening that you will spot plenty of birds and mammals. Although these animals might seem tame at times, it is important to remember they are still wild, and it is important to respect them and their habitats. Use this handy guide to make your experience in the Smokies more enjoyable for you and them, and make your base camp at one of our cabins in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.
Enjoy Smoky Mountain Wildlife from a Distance
Many of the wildlife in the Smokies having become accustomed to having humans nearby and give off the appearance of being quite tame. Deer will innocently gaze at you from Cades Cove and even smaller woodland creatures may not run away immediately. It is important, however, that you do not attempt to interact with Smoky Mountain wildlife.
It might seem harmless to approach an animal that has stayed put even after seeing you, but the birds and mammals in the park are still wild. Approaching them might frighten them or it could teach them to approach humans on their own. Left alone, none of the animals are likely to hurt anyone, but by affecting their behavior, something bad could happen. For the same reason, you should not try to call them or make loud noises.
The great thing about the national park, however, is that there are plenty of other options for enjoy Smoky Mountain wildlife from hiking its many trails, cycling or driving around Cades Cove or the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, or bringing binoculars or a telephoto lens for critter spotting.
Keep Your Snacks to Yourself
Another important thing to remember is never to offer food to wildlife in the Smokies. Although your food may not make them ill, it increases the likelihood of their dependence on humans. Not only does this mean that a fragile ecosystem could be affected, but it can cause animals to seek out humans.
This is why stories exist of bears rummaging through campsites and picnic areas or animals causing damage to human property. Left to their own environment, none of these things would happen. To help prevent this, do not leave any litter behind, particularly if it has been around food as animals have an amazing sense of smell. By all means take a picnic on your hike, but bring everything back to your cabin with you.
Make your time in the Smokies all the more special by staying at one of our luxurious yet affordable cabins in Gatlinburg. From full kitchens to make a hearty breakfast or tasty dinner to luxurious amenities like hot tubs and fireplace, you will be glad you opted for a log cabin.