Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove aims to provide a family-friendly experience in which kids and adults can enjoy rides together. Sometimes, however, even the swinging ship or carousel rides of this area prove too much for easily-scared children. Thankfully, an alternate option exists: Black Bear Trail, which allows kids to access new thrills without worrying about heights or spinning sensations. Although bumpy at times, this decidedly mild ride offers an enjoyable experience for all types of visitors.
Each rider is acquainted with a friendly bear, who acts as a guide through this charming adventure. The bears are separate, making this ride a more solitary experience than most others in Wildwood Grove. Still, if you wait in line with loved ones, you can see friends and family members — and their respective bears — as you navigate this ride. If you arrive accompanied by a young child, you may also enjoy a tandem ride. The bears are spacious enough to provide plenty of room for plus-size riders or pairs of kids and adults.
Each bear follows a track that leisurely meanders around Wildwood Grove, passing beautiful foliage along the way. At some points along the ride, you’ll spot some of the park’s more intense offerings, including the Dragonflier coaster.
The Black Bear Trail experience can best be described as whimsical, so don’t enter this ride expecting huge thrills along the way. Rather, this journey is surprisingly peaceful — especially as you enter its more secluded portion. Still, you’ll find a little excitement as your bear begins to gallop, bouncing up and down slightly as it navigates the track. As you make the last bend in the trail, you’ll observe a merchandise area, and finally, the ride’s entrance and exit. Lasting nearly two minutes, the ride is long enough to offer a moment of whimsical fun, but not so long that you’ll tire of its even-keeled nature. Get ready for an endearing ride that is sure to please.
Guests using electric conveyance vehicles (ECVs) are more than welcome to board this ride, but first, must transfer into a wheelchair provided by Dollywood’s staff members. From there, these guests can easily access the ride load area.
Tandem rides are available — and required — for children under 42 inches in height. During tandem rides, each child sits in front of an adult — and both are secured with the same seatbelt.