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

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Nisqually to Paradise delays and Kautz Creek area closure.

    Road construction from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. Expect a 30-minute delay, Monday through Friday. Beginning May 29 to mid-July, all services at the Kautz Creek parking and picnic area are closed through the week. Limited parking on Sat & Sun. More »

  • Melting snow bridges and high streamflows create hazards for hikers, skiers, and snowshoers

    Be aware of hidden- and potentially fatal- hazards created by snow bridges and high streamflows on Mount Rainier. More »

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?

Floyd Schmoe, Mount Rainier's first full-time Park Naturalist.

Floyd Schmoe was Mount Rainier's first full-time Park Naturalist. In 1923, he launched the park's "Nature Notes", a series of writings on various park-related topics. There are hundreds of editions of the notes in the park's collection, all of which are accessible through the Mount Rainier History & Culture webpage: More...