Bears & Food Storage While Backpacking
You are required by federal regulations to store all your "food" properly throughout Yosemite National Park. You must have your food stored unless it's within arm's reach of an awake person (so, don't go for a swim or take a nap while leaving food out).
"Food" includes all food and drinks, regardless of packaging, along with trash, toiletries, and other scented items. These items must be stored in either an allowed bear-resistant food container or food locker. Hanging food is illegal throughout Yosemite.
Bear-Resistant Food Containers
Food lockers (limited availability)
How to Use a Bear-Resistant Container
The container only works if it's closed and locked! Be sure to keep it closed and locked, even while you're around your campsite. Place the container on the ground in a flat, level area 100 feet or more from your campsite. Take care not to place it near a cliff or any water source, as a bear may knock the container around or roll it down a hill. Do not hang or attach anything to the container (ropes attached to the container enable a bear to carry it away). You can place pots and pans on top of the container as a bear alarm if you like. (Read about what to do if you see a bear.)
The best way to carry a bear-resistant container is inside your pack. Think of it as a big stuff sack, though it will always occupy the same amount of space. Later in your trip, when you have eaten some of your food, you can place other items inside the container to conserve space.
Most people don't pack their bear canisters very efficiently. Read more about how to pack a bear canister.
Did You Know?
Unrestricted camping is no longer allowed in Yosemite Valley because of damage it causes. The placement of campgrounds and campsites has changed over the past 75 years in response to a growing understanding of river dynamics, geologic hazards, and the park's natural and cultural resources.