Grizzly Bear

The grizzly bear is characterized by a distinctive hump on the shoulders, a slightly dished profile to the face, and long claws on the front paws.

Grizzly bears usually live as lone individuals, except for females accompanied by their cubs. Grizzly bears can be seen in close proximity in areas of abundant food, such as berry patches and salmon spawning areas. During the breeding season, a male may attend a female for up to two weeks for mating.

Grizzly bears are omnivorous, eating a mixed diet of grasses, berries, roots, fish and small mammals. They are also predators of caribou and moose and their calves. They will scavenge carrion when available. The roots of peavine (Hedysarum alpinum) are important spring and late fall food. Green vegetation is preferred through the summer. Berries, especially blueberries (Vaccinium uliginosum) and soapberries (Shepherdia canadensis) form the bulk of the diet starting in late July when grizzly bears go into a feeding frenzy called hyperphagia. During this time they eat nearly nonstop.

Female bears reach sexual maturity around six years of age. Mating usually occurs in June and July, with a pair coming together for one or two weeks and mating several times. With delayed implantation, cubs are born midwinter. A female can have one to three cubs which will stay with her for up to three and a half years.


Grizzly Tales

Explore more stories of grizzlies in Denali.

Showing results 1-2 of 2

  • Denali National Park & Preserve

    Grizzly Bear Population Ecology in Denali

    brown bear sitting on a hillside

    What have 25+ years of studying grizzly bears in Denali taught us? Read more

  • a bear looking at a moose and her calf

    Denali is home to a daily life and death drama for many animals, though the 'big five' mammal species stand out in the minds of many visitors. In addition to the opportunities for viewing or photographing Interior Alaska’s large mammals, Denali is a great natural laboratory to study the species and their interrelationships. Unlike the rest of Interior Alaska, the Denali carnivore/ungulate community has been little affected by human harvests for several decades. Read more