black bear in the smoky mountains
October 17, 2023

If you are coming to visit the Smoky Mountains, you may be interested in trying to spot some of the wildlife that calls the area home. With so many incredible species in the Smokies, there are plenty of opportunities to spot native animals in their natural habitats. Read on to learn more about spotting wildlife in the Smoky Mountains, from ideal locations and times to important safety tips:

What types of wildlife live in the Smoky Mountains?

white tailed deer animals in the smoky mountains

The Smoky Mountains are home to lots of different types of wildlife. In total, there are over 65 species of mammals, more than 200 kinds of birds, and over 80 different types of reptiles and amphibians. There are even more than 30 salamander species, which has caused the area to be dubbed “the Salamander Capital of the World.” Some of the most common animals that can be seen here in the Smokies include black bears, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, squirrels, wild turkeys, red-tailed hawks, and of course, salamanders.

Where are the best places to spot wildlife in the Smoky Mountains?

The best places to spot wildlife in the Smoky Mountains are typically areas that offer more open sight lines, as opposed to the thick forest that covers much of the area. One of the most popular locations to spot wildlife in the Smoky Mountains is Cades Cove, as the wide-open valley makes it relatively easy to spot nearby animals. Another great place to spot wildlife in the Smoky Mountains is along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, where black bears can often be seen playing in the trees next to the road. Remember, the more wide open the space, the better your chances are of spotting the animals you are looking for!

What are the best times to spot wildlife in the Smoky Mountains?

colorful fall leaves

Animals are typically more active when there are fewer visitors nearby, which means that peak visitation times are not ideal for spotting wildlife. Instead, try looking for wildlife during less popular times of day, such as during the early morning and during the evenings. Additionally, it is typically easiest to spot wildlife in the Smoky Mountains during times of year when it is not overly hot or cold, such as late spring and early fall. By planning your wildlife viewing trip around these ideal times, you can increase your odds of success!

How do I safely view wildlife in the Smoky Mountains?

One of the most important things to consider when viewing wildlife in the Smoky Mountains is safety, for both yourself and the animals. It is important to follow all safety regulations, as this protects visitors and animals alike and allows continued viewing in the future. Remember to stay at least 50 yards away from wildlife at all times and to never feed wild animals. It is recommended to bring binoculars to help you get a clear view while staying far enough away. When you follow safety rules while viewing wildlife in the Smoky Mountains, you are helping to protect yourself and the animals you are watching.

Now that you know all about how to spot wildlife in the Smoky Mountains, you’re probably ready to get started! If you’re looking for the perfect accommodation during your trip to the Smoky Mountains, just check out our selection of cabin rentals and find your perfect location today!