Although I lived in Knoxville for a few years, I’d never been to Cade’s Cove in the Smokies. Now that I live on the road I figured it’s be a good time to go. They even have year round camping; a lot of places around here close from November to March.
I almost stayed a few nights, it’s absolutely gorgeous, and worth losing cellular service. I was a little concerned by the constant reminders to be careful of bears and trying to decide.
The scenic loop is a beautiful drive through Cade’s Cove, for those like me that didn’t bring hiking shoes or a canteen or other supplies necessary for a safe hike on the trails. I drove the loop, stopped a few times to get some pictures (I really miss my good camera!) and about half way through was thinking maybe I should stay… then I rounded the corner.
The traffic was stopped for a mother bear and her two big cubs. People were getting out of their cars, with their small children in tow, to get closer to them! No exaggeration here, there were over two dozen men, women and children crowding within 15 feet of a wild bear. A wild mother bear with cubs. I’m no expert on bears but it’s my understanding that a bear that feels it’s cubs are threatened is even more dangerous than normal.
Luckily for them, the bear just sniffed at the group and then turned and took her cubs into the woods. However, that made me decide against camping there. That bear was way too comfortable around humans… I’m way too delicious to try camping in bear habitat!