"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.

visitors renting bear spray

Bear Spray

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

a black bear standing in tall green grass

What do bears do when they wake up?

What happens when bears wake up? Learn about this important time of the year for you and bears.

Last updated: May 7, 2019

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