For centuries black bears (Ursus americanus) have made Lassen Volcanic National Park their home. Their movements are dictated by ancient connections to the seasons, food sources, and their own inclinations. Bears are curious, intelligent, and potentially dangerous animals.
Lassen is home to an estimated 50 black bears. Despite what their name implies, black bear fur can vary from blonde to black in color. These adaptable animals live in the park year-round, however they enter torpor―a short-term form of hibernation―in the snowy winter months. Grizzly/brown bears (Ursus arctos) are not found in the park.
Where and When to Look for Bears at Lassen
Black bears are part of what makes Lassen Volcanic wild and special. Seeing a bear is often a matter of luck, but you can increase your chances of safely viewing a bear by being Bear Aware and knowing where and when to look.
How to View Bears Safely
Learn what you should and should not do if you encounter a bear close-up or it is reacting to you or what to do in the rare case a bear charges you.
Keep at least 300 feet (100 yards) from black bears
Be Bear Aware on the Trail
What Should I Do if I See a Black Bear?
Seeing a black bear at Lassen Volcanic National Park is a rare treat (there are not brown or grizzly bears in the park). While it is an exciting moment, it is important to remember that bears in national parks are wild and can be dangerous. Their behavior is sometimes unpredictable.
Last updated: December 8, 2022