If you keep your eyes and ears open, there is a pretty good chance that you'll see a black bear while you're visiting Shenandoah. Seeing a bear in its natural habitat can be very memorable, but it's important to know how to keep yourself, and the bear, safe if you are lucky enough to encounter one. Remember, they are wild animals and should be respected as such.
Encountering a Bear Along Skyline Drive
Unfortunately, wildlife collisions are common. A majority of these accidents can be avoided by simply driving the speed limit (35 mph) and slowing down if you see an animal. If you do see a bear, do not stop in the middle of the road to take pictures. Instead, find a safe place to stop on the side of the road, making sure that all four wheels of your car are off the road.
Encountering a Bear While Hiking
When visiting the Park, you may spot a bear while hiking, camping, or simply walking between your car and the lodge for dinner. If you do spot one:
If a Bear Charges
Following the steps listed above will usually result in the bear minding its own business at a safe distance or running away. There are circumstances when the bear perceives that the threat is more significant. In these unlikely instances, a bear may charge. In this case:
Reporting an Incident
If you become aware of a situation where a bear is hanging around a populated area, people are deliberately feeding a bear, or if a bear charges or comes in contact with you, report it to Park staff immediately by calling 800-732-0911.
Last updated: April 5, 2023