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black bear in the smoky mountains

Your Guide to Viewing Wildlife in the Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the most spectacular wildlife in the United States! With over 200 types of birds, 80 varieties of reptiles, and 65 species of mammals, the Smokies are teeming with all sorts of critters. Many visitors come to the mountains so they can catch a glimpse of some of the area’s signature animals. We want to tell you where you might be able to find these creatures and the most popular animals you might see while you’re visiting the national park!

Where to Spot Animals

cades cove loop with fog over the mountainsYou could see animals virtually anywhere in the national park. Some animals blend in with the trees and are hard to see in areas with dense trees. The best places for spotting wildlife are along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail or in Cades Cove. Since these areas have open fields, animals are more likely to be seen. Black bears have been known to frequent both of these areas, as well as along hiking trails. White tailed deer and wild turkey are also known for being seen in Cades Cove because they like to feed on plants in the fields. Birds and squirrels can be seen pretty much anywhere in the national park. If you want to see amphibians or reptiles, you will probably need to go somewhere that has water since they like to be near areas that are cool and damp.

Top Wildlife in the Smoky Mountains

You may be wondering what kind of creatures you might see while you are in the national park. Keep reading to find out a little more about the top wildlife in the Smoky Mountains!

Black Bears

The black bear is the official mascot of the Smoky Mountains! With around 1,500 black bears in the national park, there are about two bears per square mile in the Smokies. Bears hibernate during the winter, but they are active throughout the rest of the year. Late spring and early fall are especially good times for bear viewing.

White-tailed Deer

White tailed deer sniffing behind her fawns earsWhite-tailed deer are some of the most common wildlife in the Smoky Mountains. The early morning and late evening are ideal for deer viewing, as the animals are more active during these cooler times of the day. Deer have a habit of grazing right after it rains or when it’s foggy outside, so try to take advantage of these times.

Wild Turkey

It’s always fun to see wild turkeys waddling around in the national park! These birds typically travel in flocks, which makes them easier to spot than more solitary animals. Don’t bother looking for turkeys at night, since they roost in trees when the sun goes down.


yellow and black salamanderDid you know the Smokies are known as the salamander capital of the world? There are over 30 species of salamanders in the national park, which is the most concentrated amount anywhere in the world. You’re likely to find salamanders near waterfalls such as Grotto Falls.

If you want to possibly see wildlife in the Smoky Mountains, now you know some of the best places to go and which animals to look out for! Are you ready to get out in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Start planning your getaway by browsing through our selection of cabins in the Smoky Mountains!