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

    Denali

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Hiking in Bear Country

Bears

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 Information Center, you will be provided with more detailed information about hiking in bear country.

Learn more about bear safety

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 1/4-mile (.7 km) distance from bears
  • Do not approach or follow wildlife. Maintain a minimum 25 yards (meters) distance from all other animals, dens, and nests.
  • If your presence alters an animal's behavior, you are too close
 
Know the difference between black and grizzly bears
Use tracks and the physical appearance of a bear to determine whether it is a black or grizzly. Do not use color for identification.

Did You Know?

a green hillside and a brown scar denoting where a landslide occurred

Warmer temperatures have led to dramatic thawing of permafrost. Thaw releases carbon, as once-frozen materials decompose, but allows increased plant growth. Researchers in Denali are studying whether thawing permafrost will increase or decrease world-wide carbon emissions.