3 Popular Animals in the Smoky Mountains and Where to See Them

April 24, 2024

There are many things to see when you go on a hike in the Smokies! For example, there is always stunning natural scenery. You may even have the opportunity to see the wildlife that live in it. Let us tell you more about these creatures. Here is a list of 3 popular animals in the Smoky Mountains and where to see them:

1. Black Bears

Black bears have a popular density of two bears per square mile which makes them the most popular animal in the Smokies. They are also some of the largest, as the males typically weigh 250 pounds. They can be even bigger though, as there have been some black bears in the Smoky Mountains that weigh over 600 pounds. In addition to their size, black bears have other unique traits that help them thrive. Their sharp claws make them great climbers. They also have a large nose that gives them a strong sense of smell, as well as great vision. While they can be seen all over the area, black bears have a large population in Cades Cove. Visitors have the opportunity to see them when they drive along Cades Cove Loop Road and walk the Cades Cove Nature Trail. The nature trail is a flat 2-mile route that is perfect for hikers of all ages and skill levels.

2. Salamanders

yellow salamander found in the great smoky mountainsSalamanders are another one of the popular animals in the Smoky Mountains. In fact, the area is deemed the “Salamander Capital of the World.” Their ability to regenerate limbs and organs helps them survive attacks from their bigger predators. Some salamanders can breathe through their skin, while others have gills. While salamanders don’t have vocal chords, they can still make snapping and clicking noises to communicate. Salamanders are not as easy to spot as black bears due to their small size. However, visitors can still see them at Grotto Falls. The hike there has a roundtrip distance of 2.6 miles. You are most likely to find salamanders hiding under rocks along the water. Use extreme caution, as the terrain will be slippery!

3. White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer have many amazing physical abilities. For example, they can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and jump to heights of up to 10 feet. They don’t have good vision. In fact, white-tailed deer can see 3 times less clearly than humans. However, they have a stellar sense of smell. This is because white-tailed deer have a lot of surface area in their long slender noses. It is no surprise that they use this sense to know when predators are nearby. Similar to black bears, white-tailed deer can be seen all over the Smoky Mountains, but they are most populous in open-field areas. See them in Cades Cove on the Tennessee side and Cataloochee Valley on the North Carolina side.

We hope you enjoyed learning about some popular animals in the Smoky Mountains. Before your next visit, explore these safety tips for seeing animals in the Smoky Mountains!