Black Bear Visits Reagan Resorts Inn in Downtown Gatlinburg
Reagan Resorts Inn has hosted guests from all around the world, but it is a Smoky Mountain native who recently made headlines for his surprise visit to our hotel. He didn’t have reservations, he didn’t have any money…and he didn’t even have opposable thumbs! Around half past midnight on December 4th, a black bear came lumbering into our parking lot. The furry visitor was spotted by two of our guests, keep reading to learn how this black bear’s visit went!
Guests, John Gonzalez and Kevin Bowers, were visiting Gatlinburg from Tampa, Florida. The two friends were coming back to our hotel when they spied the bear hanging around the elevator door. John told local news station WATE that it was his “first time ever seeing a bear”, so the experience is definitely one he’ll remember for a long time. After exploring the parking lot for a little while, the bear disappeared down a back alley.
While we can’t be sure what compelled the bear to check out our hotel, we like to think that he was looking for a good spot to hibernate for the winter. After all, what could be better than snuggling up in one of our comfy hotel rooms and taking a nap until March? Unfortunately for our four-legged visitor, our hotel is for humans only, so he’ll have to settle for snoozing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with all the other bears.
A Bear with a Sweet Tooth
It turns out that December 4th wasn’t the bear’s first adventure in downtown Gatlinburg. Back in October, the same bear paid a visit to Aunt Mahalia’s Candies on the Parkway. Rather than just sniffing around outside, as he did at our hotel, the bear actually went inside the candy store. Fortunately, there were no guests inside the shop, all of the employees were in the back washing dishes, and the bear didn’t stick around for long. Other than a big paw print on the rug, no damage was done to the store.
During the fall, bears prepare for hibernation by gorging themselves on walnuts, acorns, and hickory nuts, often eating hundreds of these foods in a single day. When there is a scarcity of nuts and acorns in the Smoky Mountains, bears will sometimes look for other food sources. Apparently, this can include caramel apples, fudge, peanut brittle, and chocolates!
Seeing Black Bears in the Wild
While bears do visit the Gatlinburg Parkway on occasion, these incidents are very rare. On the whole, bears keep to themselves within the borders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you’re hoping to see a wild black bear during your vacation, your best bet is driving the Cades Cove Loop Road or the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
Whether you’re in the park or in the city, the following bear safety tips should always be observed:
- Never feed a bear and remember to throw your garbage away
- Always remain at least 150 feet (the length of half a football field) away from a bear
- Don’t run from a bear; slowly back away while watching the bear
- If a bear approaches you, make loud noises to scare it away and throw non-food objects if necessary
About Reagan Resorts Inn
As long as you’re not secretly a bear in disguise, we invite you to stay with us at Reagan Resorts Inn! Located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, our hotel is the ideal home away from home for an escape in the Smokies. Offering a swimming pool, complimentary garage parking, and rooms with private patios or balconies, Reagan Resorts Inn has everything you need for an unforgettable getaway. To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of Gatlinburg hotel rooms!