Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears.
Area closure in the area around Baxter's Pinnacle
An area closure is in effect around Baxter's Pinnacle to protect nesting peregrine falcons. This closure precludes any climbs of Baxter's Pinnacle and usage of the walk-off gully. This closure will be in effect through 8-15-2013.
Area Closure in effect in the Elk Ranch area
A temporary area closure is in effect in the Elk Ranch Area to protect wildlife during the denning and young-rearing period. Follow the link for a map of the closed area.
A major attraction in Grand Teton National Park is spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors should be aware that these amazing animals -- moose, grizzly and black bears, elk, and bison -- may be dangerous. Always stay at least 100 yards from bears and wolves.
What are you hoping to see when you visit Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway? Majestic mountain scenery? Wildlife? Many animals make this park their home including moose, bison, elk, black bears and grizzly bears. You may encounter wildlife almost anywhere – on trails, along roads or in developed areas like campgrounds. The National Park Service needs your help protecting these magnificent creatures. Your behavior has consequences for all wildlife, including bears – their future is in your hands.
Wildlife and roads are not a good combination. Animals feeding along roads quickly become comfortable around vehicles and visitors, increasing their risk of being hit by a car. When people stop for a close look or a picture, animals may become bold and approach or feel threatened and attack. Help keep all animals wild and visitors safe by following these simple rules for safe viewing.
•Only use designated pullouts when viewing wildlife and stay with your car. •Always maintain a distance of at least 300 feet from ALL large animals. •Use binoculars, spotting scopes or a telephoto lens to get a close-up view. Beware that small cameras may tempt you to get to close to an animal. •Never get between an adult and its offspring. Females with young are especially defensive. •Do not leave food, garbage or coolers in the open bed of a truck or the exterior of a vehicle. •Never feed a bear or any wild animal! •Remember you may also impact small animals. Do not approach nesting birds or the burrows of ground animals. Give all animals the space they need to survive. •Follow directions from park staff. •Remember, the law prohibits approaching, harassing, or feeding wildlife.
Stop by a visitor center for more information. Be a responsible wildlife observer. Enjoy their beauty and majesty from a safe distance during your visit to Grand Teton National Park.
If you love wildlife, please follow all food storage regulations in the park. This short video explains how to store your food and other scented goods. Keep bears from being destroyed due to human food conditioning.
Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway are home to black bears and grizzly bears. Bears are intelligent and curious animals with an incredible sense of smell – seven times greater than that of a bloodhound. This keen sense helps bears locate food, communicate with each other, detect danger, and sometimes acquire human food. To keep bears and humans safe, visitors MUST properly store food, garbage and any item with an odor, while camping and recreating in bear country.
Imagine a bear strolling into your campsite. Your food is in the trunk of your car with the hatch open. Are you going to get up and close the trunk with the bear approaching? Absolutely not! But, the smell of food, drinks, dishes, and toiletries entices bears into campsites and picnic areas. When not immediately using, keep anything with an odor in a bear-resistant food storage locker or in a hard-sided vehicle with doors locked and windows closed. Bears can break into cars when the windows are cracked open, and tear through the soft cover on a pickup truck or jeep. Remember, if it smells, lock it up!
Keep a clean camp. Park rangers and campground hosts will confiscate improperly stored or unattended food, and you may be fined. Never leave backpacks or coolers unattended even for a minute. Tents are also vulnerable; do not take food, water or toiletries into your tent. If a bear approaches while you are eating, take your food and retreat. Never throw your food or backpack at a bear as a distraction. Immediately report careless campers and all bear sightings to a campground host or the nearest ranger. Your help may protect your life and the bear’s life.
Why does this matter? Improper storage may allow bears to receive a “food reward.” Bears that receive food even once can learn that humans are a source of food, everything from bacon slices to toothpaste. Bears quickly become “food-conditioned,” acting more aggressively each time they seek human food. This dangerous situation usually results in the death of the bear in order to protect the public. Don’t let your actions result in the death of a bear.
Please help keep bears wild and people safe! Be Bear Aware, and follow all food storage regulations. Enjoy your visit to Grand Teton National Park, but remember it is a wild place and respect all wildlife.
Did you know you might find both black bears and grizzly bears in Grand Teton National Park? About 100 black bears and 70 grizzly bears call this place home. Catching a glimpse of one of these magnificent animals is a highlight for many park visitors, but remember for your safety, stay at least 100 yards away from any large animal.
It seems like it should be easy to tell these bears apart, but it is trickier than you might think! To tell which bear is which, it helps to learn about their characteristics and habitat.
Black bears usually live in the forest feeding on grass, roots, berries, insects, fish, mammals and carrion. Bears also love to eat human food, when they get the chance, so keep all items with an odor locked up! Ask a ranger for more information about proper food storage. Adult black bears weigh from 100 to 300 pounds and stand up to 3 feet at the shoulder, but lack a shoulder hump. Their claws are about 1.5 inches long and are not visible from a distance. The head tapers and has a flat profile with prominent, slightly pointed ears. Even though the species is “black bear,” these bears may be blonde, cinnamon, brown or black.
In contrast, grizzly bears spend more time in open country, once roaming the Great Plains. Their diet is similar to black bears, but also includes larger mammals and whitebark pine nuts. Adults weigh 200 to 500 pounds, stand 3.5 feet at the shoulder, and have a pronounced shoulder hump. Their claws are up to 4 inches long and are visible from a distance. Grizzly bear heads are massive with a dished-in face and rounded ears, very different from a black bear. Like the black bear, they may be blonde to black, but usually with grizzled, or silvery, tips on their fur.
As you may have guessed, even people who frequently see bears may be confused! So, we are going to have a little fun and test your bear ID skills…
(Slides of various bears with the species answer after a few seconds.)
Seeing wildlife in Grand Teton National Park, especially bears, is a thrill! You may encounter bears anywhere at any time in the park: hiking, camping, picnicking or driving. Use the characteristics you have learned to tell the type of bear, but remember to keep your distance and store your food properly. Take home memories of the majestic mountains and wildlife of Grand Teton National Park.
Did You Know?
Did you know that Uinta ground squirrels, sometimes mistaken for prairie dogs, hibernate up to eight months a year? These animals leave their burrows in March or April to inhabit the sagebrush flats, but may return by the end of July.