Frequently Asked Questions

1) Can we book direct and avoid traveler fees?

There are no traveler or service fees when you book on Bear Top Cabins site. We don’t have the overhead like the large corporate sites, so you’ll never be charged a fee to reserve your stay. You’ll get the same cabin; the same personalized service.

BUT if you first inquire through VRBO or Airbnb or any other booking site and then ask us to take your booking direct to avoid the service fee, we’re not able to do that.  That would be in violation of terms and conditions. We can lose our listings for taking a booking off their platform.

2) How does Check-in Works?

Your cabin will be ready by 4 p.m. the day of your arrival. Your rental information PDF will contain the address of the cabin and our directions to get you there. It’s very important that you print out your rental information so you can refer to those directions in case your GPS doesn’t get you to the right cabin. It doesn’t happen often, but GPS mapping isn’t always correct in the mountains. Once you arrive, you’ll let yourselves in with the key code we provide. If there is any issue with the code not working, you can call us anytime for assistance. Every property has a lockbox so if there are any technical problems, we can get you in quickly with a key.

Is earlier check-in possible? The short answer is yes–sometimes. If you’re coming in the off-season months of January or February we can almost always get you in earlier than 4:00 p.m. Please contact us in advance so we can confirm your early check-in time. The rest of the year it all depends on how busy we are the day you’re scheduled to arrive.  We ask that you call us around 1:00 p.m. the day of your arrival and we’ll give you a status update. Early check in is not possible during the peak summer and fall leaf season or during any holiday periods but you are welcome to call after 1:00 p.m. and check with us.

3) what do we need to bring?

Every cabin is outfitted with bed linens, blankets, pillows and a minimum of 4 sets of towels (bath, hand and washcloth) for one bedroom cabins and 6 sets of towels for two bedroom cabins. All cabins have a washer and dryer.  We will have liquid soap at all sinks, a roll of paper towels in the kitchen and two rolls of toilet paper per bathroom.

We pride our cabins on having well-outfitted kitchens, including coffeemaker and filters, crock pot, toaster, microwave, blender, aluminum foil, glass baking dishes and basic spices. Some kitchens offer more so we’ll be glad to confirm items for you–just ask.

Need a high chair, baby gate or Pack-and-Play? Quite a few of our cabins have some or all of these items on hand. Just ask and we’ll let you know what your cabin provides.

4) Outdoor grilling and fire pits.

Every cabin has a charcoal grill available. Some have lids like the one shown; others are park models with just the grill grates.  You’ll need to bring your own charcoal but some of the cabins have deck boxes and you’ll want to check them first to see if previous guests have left charcoal or starter fluid. Please use the provided ash cans to dispose of coals after they’ve cooled. Grilling utensils are kept in the kitchen.

Fire pits are not permitted or provided at our cabins for insurance reasons. We love the ambience of a fire but the risk of wildfires in the mountains is too great. One spark can set a hillside on fire and wipe out everything in its path. Thank you for understanding and being cautious when disposing of coals and putting cigarette butts in the provided ash buckets on the decks.

5) Are there Grocery Stores nearby?

Yes, there are several grocery stores to choose from.

6) How accidental damages are handled?

Due to rising costs to replace items like sheet sets, pillows, blankets, quilts, dishes and items that are susceptible to damage, we require a $39 non-refundable damage protection fee. This covers accidental damage up to $300. If there is damage in excess of $300, you agree to promptly pay for for materials and labor in excess of that amount.

Damage protection does not cover excessive cleaning charges. If the housekeeper arrives and there’s far more cleaning work required than usual, you will be billed for the the additional labor required.

7) How to handle trash?

Sevier County does not provide refuse pick-up like most of us are used to at home. So when you depart, the housekeepers are responsible for taking trash to the county dump sites. We ask that you gather up all your trash from inside the house and put it in the garbage cans outside prior to leaving. During warmer months when bears and raccoons are active, we recommend that tasty food scraps–like BBQ bones–be kept in the freezer. Then when you’re cleaning out the fridge before heading home, you can toss the frozen scraps in the outside trash cans. Some cabins have regular trash cans while others have animal-resistant containers.

8) Do the cabins have Airconditioning?

Yes, every one of them! Smoky Mountain summers can go for days in the 90s so A/C is must for guest comfort. We ask that you don’t push the A/C system too hard when the temperature and humidity levels are high. If you ask the heat pump to cool the house to 65 degrees when it’s 95 outside, it can cause the system to literally freeze up and fail. Please be kind to our A/C units and don’t set them below 70 degrees when there’s a heat wave. Close blinds during the day and turn on any overhead fans to help move the air and improve comfort. We really appreciate your help using energy wisely and keeping us from having jaw-dropping electric bills!

9) When will Fall colors be at their peak?

Every year the best fall color days seem to vary as much as a week to 10 days depending on temperatures, sunshine, rain and wind. But it really depends where you’re looking for the autumn palette: high in the mountains of the park at 4,000+ feet…or the trees around your cabin at 1,300 or so feet? Those are two very different elevations and the peak colors in those regions could be as much as two weeks apart. Typically the leaves in the high elevations of the park begin to show color in early October but may not peak until the second or third week of October. By the same measure, the trees in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge may not show full color until the 4th week of October. In some years, peak color has come as late as early November. Our very unscientific, unofficial recommendation is to plan your trip for somewhere between Oct. 20 and Nov. 3. Those two weeks seem the safest bet for enjoying the best nature has to offer.

10) Do you decorate cabins for Christmas?

It wouldn’t be the holidays without them so every cabin has welcoming decorations for all of December and early January. Some of our cabins are decorated just prior to Thanksgiving due to time constraints. Most of the cabins do not have room for full size trees, so we use skinny or Alpine artificial trees. Depending on the owner and their personal style, cabins may have wreaths, garland or swags in the spirit of the mountains. Flameless candles, lanterns, evergreen centerpieces, snowmen, pinecones and conversation pillows and signs add to the charm. Please do not bring real candles to the cabins as they are fire hazard.

11) Where can I buy Wine and Spirits?

You can purchase locally-made moonshine, liquors and wine at distilleries across the county. The Gatlinburg Package Store is on the left side of the road just as you enter Gatlinburg coming from Pigeon Forge. A little further down also on the left is Parkway Liquor. Another option is Wine and Liquor of the Smokies located one mile north of Gatlinburg at 115 S. Mountain Trail Rd.–right across from Westgate Resort just off the Spur (what the locals call the Parkway between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg).

12) Do I need 4-wheel drive vehicle?

All our cabins are on paved roads accessible by 2WD cars, vans, SUVs and pick-up trucks.  But if the weather forecast calls for snow or ice, you may not be able to reach your cabin by any vehicle safely.  This doesn’t happen very often, thank goodness.  But if you are coming to the area in December, January or February–and yes, sometimes even early March–it’s always a possibility and we strongly recommend you purchase trip cancellation insurance. Visit www.vacationprotection.com or www.insuremytrip.com for policy providers and quotes.


A few final notes…

We like to say that ‘our home is your home’ while you’re on vacation.  But there are a few things we put restrictions on–mostly for your safety and the protection of the property.

1. No candles, fireworks or fire pits anywhere on property.  Many of our cabins have battery-operated flameless candles.

2. No additional guests at the cabin than you’ve declared unless approved in advance.

3. Some cabins have Ring floodcams for the parking area.  They are primarily used to check on weather conditions or know when housekeepers or maintenance have completed their cleaning work.  We do not monitor the comings and goings of our guests (who has time for that?)