• pond surrounded by green brush, reflecting a distant range of snow-covered mountains that are dominated by one massive mountain


    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Bear and Other Wildlife Safety


Symbolic of the Alaska wilderness, both grizzly bears and black bears inhabit the park and may be encountered in the backcountry. To keep these magnificent creatures wild and enhance your personal safety, keep the following in mind:

*Make noise while hiking to alert bears of your presence.

*Use Bear Resistant Food Containers and store them 100 yards (meters) from cooking areas and tent sites.

*Be alert for bears and alter your activities to avoid them.

*Never run from a bear.

*Pepper spray can be carried as an added precaution. However, it is useful only as a last resort in the event of an emergency, and should not be viewed as substitute for proper backcountry behavior.

When you visit the Backcountry Desk, you will be provided with more detailed information about hiking in bear country.

To view the PDF brochure on Bear Encounters, click here (approximate 1.9 mb)

Other Wildlife

Denali is home to sheep, caribou, wolves, foxes, bears, moose, eagles, ptarmigan, and other wildlife that you are very likely to encounter in the backcountry. Please keep Denali’s animals wild by following these guidelines when encountering wildlife:

*Do not feed or allow wildlife to obtain human foods.

*Maintain a minimum 300 yards (meters) distance from bears.

*Do not approach or follow wildlife. Maintain a minimum 25 yards distance from all other animals, dens, and nests.

*If your presence alters an animal’s behavior, you are too close.

Image of Safe Wildlife Viewing Distances

Did You Know?

close view of bearberry, a small red-colored plant

In 1908, Charles Sheldon – a hunter and naturalist – described in his journal the idea of a park that would allow visitors to enjoy the beauty he saw while visiting Alaska. In 1917 his vision became reality, with the creation of Mount McKinley National Park.