An icon of wilderness, Glacier is home to large numbers of both black and grizzly bears. This page presents basic information needed to ensure a safe visit for both you and our wildlife. For more detailed information, stop by any visitor center or attend a ranger program.
Read more about each species on the Bears informational page.
Keeping a Safe Distance
Never intentionally get close to a bear. Individual bears have their own personal space requirements, which vary depending on their mood. Each will react differently and its behavior cannot be predicted. All bears are dangerous and should be respected equally.
It’s exciting to see bears up close, but we must act responsibly to keep them wild and healthy. If you see a bear along the road, please do not stop near it. If you wish to view the bear, travel at least 100 yards (91.4 meters) and pull over in a safe location. Roadside bears quickly become habituated to traffic and people, increasing their chances of being hit by vehicles. Habituated bears may also learn to frequent campgrounds and picnic areas, where they may gain access to human food. To protect human life and property, bears that seek human food must be removed from the park. Resist the temptation to stop and get close to roadside bears—put bears first at Glacier.
Hiking in Bear Country
Hike in Groups
Carry Bear Spray
Secure your Food and Garbage
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
While in Camp
If you encounter a bear inside the minimum recommended safe distance (100 yards / 91 m), you can decrease your risk by following these guidelines:
For more detailed information, watch our Bear Safety video.
Bear spray is intended to be sprayed into the face of an oncoming bear. Factors influencing effectiveness include distance, wind, rainy weather, temperature extremes, and product shelf life. It is not intended to act as a repellent. Do not spray gear or your camp with bear spray. Pre-sprayed objects may actually attract bears.
Be aware that you may not be able to cross the U.S./Canada border with some brands of bear spray. Canadian Customs will allow the importation of USEPA-approved bear spray into Canada. Specifications state that the bear spray must have USEPA on the label.
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Park Wildlife Biologist John Waller explains about bear behavior and how to hike and travel safer on the trails in Glacier National Park. Learn why it's not a good idea to walk quietly and how best to react to a surprise encounter with one of the park's largest and most magnificent residents.
Last updated: October 23, 2020