If you’re in — or will be in — North Carolina, it’s time to make plans to see a phenomenon known as Shadow of the Bear.
Now, if you’re a leaf-peeper, you may already know about Shadow of the Bear. Each year from mid-October to early November, as the sun sets behind Whiteside Mountain near Cashiers, North Carolina, it creates an enormous shadow that resembles a bear. Crowds of people travel to the area each fall to see the autumn foliage and Shadow of the Bear.
What many people don’t realize, however, is that the phenomenon is set to occur again. It will take place from mid-February through early March.
How To See Shadow Of The Bear
If you want to see Shadow of the Bear, one of the best places is from Rhodes Big View Overlook on US Highway 64. The overlook is a few miles west of Cashiers and 5 miles east of Highlands, Romantic Asheville explains. Cashiers, by the way, is about 60 miles from Asheville.
On a clear day, beginning around 5:30 p.m., as the sun begins to set behind Whiteside Mountain, it will make a shadow across the valley below. The shadow will start small, and gradually grow larger until it creates the Shadow of the Bear.
Pro-Tips: Watch for traffic. There won’t be as many people gathering to watch Shadow of the Bear now as there are in the fall, but you should still expect busy traffic along Highway 64. If you want to see Shadow of the Bear when even fewer people are present, avoid the weekends when viewing areas will be crowded. Instead, make your plans for a weekday.
Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park
While you’re in the area, be sure you also make plans to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is only about 50 miles north of Cashiers. After all, there are a number of reasons why the park is the most-visited national park in the U.S. every year.
While the park may have a Tennessee address, Great Smoky Mountains actually runs along the border of both North Carolina and Tennessee. The park, which features more than 800 miles of hiking trails, includes what the park calls “cascading waterfalls” and more than 500,000 acres of forest that’s home to a wide variety of wildlife — including approximately 1,500 black bears and more than 1,500 flowering plant species.
“Observing wildlife is one of the most popular things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains,” the National Parks Foundation notes. “With a wide variety of animals, including approximately 1,500 black bears, the park is a biologist’s paradise.”
If you’d like to read about another natural phenomenon that only occurs for a couple of weeks, be sure to read Yosemite’s Firefall Phenomenon To Draw Thousands Of Visitors Next Month.
And, while you’re thinking about it, be sure to read the rest of our Great Smoky Mountains National Park coverage, including: