• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Wildlife Safety

A black bear walks around a trail sign near a trail at Mount Rainier.

Black bears can be found everywhere in the park, even on trails.

Patti Wold, NPS

If You See a Black Bear or a Mountain Lion

Mount Rainier National Park contains a wide variety of wildlife species. Among the largest and most feared are the black bear and the mountain lion. Though you are not likely to see them, they are powerful animals, and your safety depends on how you act around them. Be aware of your surroundings, and follow these guidelines while in the park.

Close Encounters With Black Bears

Black bear attacks are extremely rare in the United States and we have no records of any occurring in Mount Rainier National Park. A bear's response to your presence depends heavily on how you respond to the bear's.

  • Never feed a black bear, either intentionally or by leaving food unsecured.
  • Do not approach bear cubs. An adult may be nearby to protect and defend the cubs.
  • Back away from a nearby bear, even if it appears unconcerned with your presence.
  • Do not run. Back away slowly. Talk loudly.
  • A defensive bear will appear agitated and will often give visual and vocal warnings like swatting or stomping the ground, exhaling loudly, huffing, snapping teeth, or lowering the head with ears drawn back while facing you. This response may escalate to a charge.

If Charged by a Black Bear

  • If the bear stops, slowly back away while talking, keeping the bear in view while leaving the area.
  • If it continues, act aggressively, shouting and throwing rocks or sticks.
  • If the bear attacks and you have food, distance yourself from the food.
  • If the bear attacks and you do not have food, fight back aggressively. This is likely a predatory attack, and the bear is treating you as prey.

Close Encounters With Mountain Lions

Mountain lions (also known as cougars) usually do not like confrontation. If you see one, give it plenty of space so it can get away. Never approach cougar kittens. Leave the area immediately.

  • Do not run or turn your back on a lion.
  • Gather children with adults. Quickly pick up and hold small children.
  • Stand in a group with your companions.
  • If the lion moves toward you, wave your arms and make noise. Make yourself look large, intimidating and in control: stand up tall, open your jacket, yell, throw things.
  • Back away slowly while facing the animal.
  • If attacked, fight back aggressively. Stay standing. Hit as hard as possible especially to the head. Use a stick or rock as a weapon. Throw dirt in the eyes. Protect your head and neck.

Report all bear and mountain lion sightings to a ranger or call park dispatch at (360) 569-6600.

Did You Know?

Artist rendering of the Osceola Mudflow releasing from Mount Rainier.

About 5,600 years ago the summit and northeast face of Mount Rainier fell away in a massive landslide accompanied by volcanic explosions. The Osceola Mudflow, a towering wall of mud and rock, thundered down the White River Valley where it deposited 600' of debris eventually reaching the Puget Sound.