Climbing Bears

I photographed these climbing bear cubs yesterday morning along the Foothills Parkway in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, near Wears Valley.

The first sound I heard was probably the mother bear, moving through the underbrush near the base of the tree, down the hill approx. 50-feet away. Next, I heard (and soon observed) the three bear cubs climbing the pine tree, shredding bark under paw during their hurried ascent – it was like a sawmill with wood chips flying through the air! I also heard the mother bear snorting a few times, likely communicating with her cubs, or maybe reminding me to keep away from their space.

If you look closely near the top-right of the tree shown in the second picture, you can see a sibling cub perched among the branches.

You can visit my gallery to find prints of Bear 1 or Bear 2.

By Phil

I'm a self-taught graphic artist with a penchant for all things creative, and feature an eclectic collection of unusually imaginative designs available through various print-on-demand galleries. Enjoy a look around my portfolio, collections and blog, and follow me on Twitter for more updates - thanks!


    1. Thanks, Beth. I was taking photographs of fog in the valley below, when I heard a noise…soon, the bears appeared. Lucky timing 🙂

    1. It was a pleasant surprise, for sure. They were noisy climbers, and certainly faster at climbing up the tree than down. Have a great day, Hannah 🙂

      1. I can only imagine how quickly they can scale those trees. I’m glad you were able to be so observant and capture them from afar as you did. That’s quite a story in itself. 😊💖✨

    1. Yes, I just happened to be there at the right moment with my camera. They were good climbers having fun, indeed. Have a great day, dear Preeths 🤗🌹

    1. Thank you, Adan – much appreciated! I had taken only four photos when I heard the bears stirring about in the underbrush, nearby. Happy to have had lucky timing 👍

      1. Great timing I’d say! 😊 Plus I’ve been lucky enough to catch several of your bear adventures, videos & pics – your commentary is superb lending the chill of excitement and raw nature to your work!

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