Bear Safety

Bear spray poster with Jeff Bridges
Help us spread the word about the importance of carrying bear spray!

All of Yellowstone is bear habitat—from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful. Prepare for bear encounters no matter where you go.

Your safety cannot be guaranteed, but you can play an active role in protecting yourself and the bears people come here to enjoy.

  • Keep at least 100 yards (93 m) from bears at all times and never approach a bear to take a photo.
  • Never feed bears. Bears that become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed.
  • If a bear approaches or touches your car, honk your horn and drive away to discourage this behavior.
  • Review the best practices before you hike or camp in bear country, and learn what to do if you encounter a bear.
  • Learn about bear spray, a highly effective, non-lethal bear deterrent.
  • Make sure you know what areas are closed for bear management.
  • Share posters from our "A Bear Doesn't Care" campaign!

There is an average of one bear attack per year in Yellowstone. In separate incidents in 2011 and 2015, three people were killed by bears inside the park. More people have died by drowning or suffering thermal burns from hot springs than aggressive bears.

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3 minutes, 35 seconds

Wonders abound in Yellowstone, though many come with an unfamiliar danger. Learn how to adventure through Yellowstone safely.

Campers preparing dinner in the Tower Campground
Camp in Bear Country

Tips to keep bears and people safe.

Photo of hikers with bear spay
Hike in Bear Country

Best practices for safely exploring the park.

Photo of ranger deploying bear spray.
Bear Spray

Learn about this highly effective bear deterrent.

Photo of a grizzly bear and cub on a boardwalk at Old Faithful
Bear Encounter

How you react to a bear encounter depends on the circumstances.

Photo of a sign indicating a bear management area
Bear Management Areas

Restrictions to reduce encounters between humans and bears.

Photo of a person watching a grizzly bear from a vehicle
Watch Roadside Bears

Learn how to protect yourself and keep bears wild when watching them along the road.

An adult black bear and cub stand in grass near a forest
Black Bear

Black bears are commonly seen in Yellowstone.

A grizzly bear in a meadow near Swan Lake
Grizzly Bear

Learn about the biology of this top predator.

A group of people crossing a thermal area on a boardwalk.

Safety tips to avoid danger and have a great trip.

A person looks through a camera with a large zoom lens at a bear in the distance
Watch Wildlife

Bring binoculars or a spotting scope and enjoy watching animals from a safe distance.

A hiker watches an approaching storm on Specimen Ridge
Backcountry Safety

Best practices for exploring the backcountry.

Last updated: May 25, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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