Multiple Tennessee Trails Closed After Bears 'Bluff Charge' Hikers

By Sarah Tate

October 27, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

Multiple trails at a popular Tennessee hiking destination have been closed after bears were reportedly "bluff charging" visitors.

Dana Soehn, a representative with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, confirmed on Wednesday (October 26) that two trails were closed after park officials reported an increase in "bluff charges," a move that bears have been known to do where they try to scare humans away from the area, per WVLT. Bears normally back off without attacking in the charges, but the wild creatures still pose a dangerous threat.

"Along a couple of the trails in these areas, we have had instances over the last week where people have gotten too close to those feeding areas," Soehn said, adding that there have been a large concentration of black bears feeding on acorns. "Those bears have bluff charged, putting the visitors at risk and disrupting that natural heat behavior."

The impacted trails are the Gatlinburg Trail, between Gatlinburg and Sugarlands Visitor Center, and the Twin Creeks Trail, between Gatlinburg and Twin Creeks Science and Education Center. The trails are closed until further notice.

The move to close the trails comes days after a man visiting Gatlinburg was attacked by a bear that managed to get inside his locked rental cabin. The man sustained injuries and scratches to his head and back, and the bear was captured and euthanized.

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