Black Bears in the Smoky Mountains: What Do They Like to Eat?

When people visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, what’s the main animal they hope to see? Black bears, of course! Bears in the Smoky Mountains are the most active during the early morning and late evening hours in the spring and summer months. But what are they eating while they’re out and about during those hours?

Which Food is Most Important?

Black bear cub playing on wood stock

Acorns are the most important foods for black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains. White oak acorns are the best because they provide a great source of carbohydrates which helps bears put on a layer of fat for their winter survival. In the months of September and October, black bears can gain up to 5 pounds per day, just eating acorns!

Do Bears Like Honey?

Everyone knows the lovable character, Winnie the Pooh. Although Winnie the Pooh isn’t a black bear, he still loves eating honey out of honey pots. Well, Winnie the Pooh isn’t the only bear that enjoys honey; black bears in the Smoky Mountains like honey, too. Even more, the black bears like to eat the bees and larvae that come along with the honey. Bees aren’t friendly creatures, so if you spot a black bear enjoying bees and honey, you may hear some crying and see some swatting at their noses. The stings don’t bother the bears too much because they don’t stop eating!

Do Bears Enjoy Leftover Picnic Snacks?

Bears will spend a lot of time searching for food. When they pick up a scent, they’ll look and look until they find the item. When families leave trash and leftovers in the national park, bears are guaranteed to find the food. This means bears will continue to check back along the trails for more food, making the trails unsafe for families who want to hike in the Smokies. The leftover foods are very harmful to black bears because it doesn’t give them the nutrients they need to survive.

If you stay in one of Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals, you won’t have to plan to eat on the trails! You can enjoy breakfast, before you hit the trails, in one of our fully-equipped Gatlinburg cabin rentals. After spending time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you will be happy to have a cabin to cook dinner in. Our Gatlinburg cabins sit only a few minutes from the national park, meaning you won’t have to drive very far to see the black bears! To begin planning your stay, give us a call at (800) 953-5655 and book your vacation with one of our vacation specialists!