"A most tremendous-looking animal . . . "

So wrote Meriwether Lewis of a grizzly he encountered in May 1805 during the Corps of Discovery's exploration of the West.

If you've ever seen a bear in the wild, you likely remember exactly where and when you saw it. Were you excited? Nervous? Awe-struck? Maybe you felt a little of all those things.

America's national parks provide an important refuge for three species of bears. Explore this website to learn about bears, the work we do to protect them, and guidelines for staying safe around them.

A bear approaches a visitor along a road at Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Hiking in Bear Country

Learn about hiking in bear country and how to stay safe.

grizzly bear

What Should I Do if I See a Bear?

Seeing a bear in the wild is a special treat for any visitor to a national park. Learn about visitor and bear safety.

grizzly bear

Prepping for Winter

What do bears do to prepare for winter? Learn about their fall feasts and winter slumbers.

visitors renting bear spray

Staying Safe in Bear Country

Bear spray is the last tool in your toolbox. Should you have to use it, learn how to use bear spray safely.

Black bear sticking tongue out

What sounds do bears make?

Explore our sound gallery and listen to some of the bear sounds captured in parks

Last updated: February 4, 2019

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