Bears at Glacier Bay

brown bear walks the rocky beach

Glacier Bay National Park is home to both brown bears,Ursus arctos, and black bears,Ursus americanus. Black bears are primarily creatures of woodlands and are found among the forested areas of the lower bay, including Bartlett Cove. In contrast, park biologists have recently discovered that brown bears inhabit virtually every part of Glacier Bay, from the barren glaciated areas to lush old-growth forests.

Although it is not always a given that a visitor will see a bear in Glacier Bay, there are very few beaches on the bay’s 1,100 miles of coastline where sign of bear activity is not visible. Bears thrive in a variety of habitats, and their strategy for survival is to constantly explore their surroundings for new food sources. Most of the islands in the bay are visited routinely by bears, and one can expect to find them almost anywhere. They are always a thrilling sight when spotted on their mostly solitary rambles along Glacier Bay’s beaches.

brown bear walks the beach
Bear Safety

What to do if you encounter a bear.

black bear sniffs tree stump
Bear Research and Management

Learn about protecting Glacier Bay's bears.

black bear sow and cub
Bear Identification

Which is Which?

bear scat
Bear Sign

Scat, Mark Trails, Rub Trees, and Bellyholes

brown bear walks along cliff
Middle School Scientists

Three great lesson plans to share with your students.


See Also:

Glacier Bay Bear Photo Gallery
Up close and personal

The Blubber Bonanza
What happens when a dead whale comes ashore?

Living in Harmony with Bears
A great resource about Alaskan bears, 35 pages ready to print


Last updated: March 20, 2018

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


907 697-2230

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