Anakeesta, located in Gatlinburg, Tenn., has been described as a “getaway from your getaway”.
This outdoor mountaintop experience features 70 acres of pristine forested land and is nestled in and above the heart of Downtown Gatlinburg.
It is known for its scenic Chondala (chairlift), southern-style cuisine and sweeping views.
But there’s one more feature Anakeesta is known for but only a few might ever be so lucky to experience it: black bear sightings.
But last week, hopeful bear-spotters were in for a surprise when one particular mama bear and her two cubs got just a little too friendly with an Anakeesta guest on the Rail Runner attraction.
Video of the bear encounter goes viral on TikTok
Anakeesta’s Rail Runner attraction is a single-rail mountain coaster featuring a 1,600 foot track, a 400 ft elevation and speeds of up to 25 mph.
On Sunday, a TikTok video went viral, featuring unbelievable footage of a mama bear and her two cubs crossing the Rail Runner track as a rider approached.
The video, featured below, has since racked up more than a million views.
The video shows a mama bear and her two cubs casually crossing the track as a single-rider slowly approaches.
Spectators are heard saying “How awesome would it be to be on that ride right now!” Another spectator comments “I would be freaking out!”
A spokesperson for Anakeesta, Michele Canney, told Knox News that while spotting a black bear in the park isn’t out of the ordinary, this behavior was unusually bold for the family of black bears.
“This is a new one to me,” Canney said. “It was something that was unanticipated and to see that happen was a little bit of a surprise.”
Other bear sightings at Anakeesta
Both guests and Anakeesta crew alike regularly share pictures and footage of black bear sightings at the park, which have remained a staple since the park’s opening in 2017.
Anakeesta shared this video of one of their “regulars”, featuring a mama bear affectionately known as “Ana” and her two cubs on Vimeo last month.
Anakeesta guest Mikee Nolan shared this an incredible shot of a baby bear crossing the highly trafficked mountain top entrance to Anakeesta with the Chondala loading station in the background earlier this year. View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Miles in the Sky (@milesintheskytn) on Jul 20, 2020 at 12:12pm PDT
It is however important to note, that while Anakeesta is an incredible location for bear spotting, as the National Park Service reminds us, it is important not to approach a black bear and not to let a black bear approach you whenever possible.
“Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don’t run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same,” reads a notice on the NPS.gov website.
“If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.) you are too close.”
Anakeesta is located at 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. To learn more about Anakeesta or to purchase tickets, visit them online at Anakeesta.com.