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 by following these guidelines:

  • 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 for hiking and camping in bear country, and learn what to do if you encounter a bear.
  • Read about bear spray, a highly effective, non-lethal bear deterrent.
  • Make sure you know what areas are closed for bear management.
  • Download and share posters from our "A Bear Doesn't Care" campaign!

The overwhelming majority of bear encounters do not involve conflict. 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.

If you’re involved in a conflict with a bear, regardless of how minor, contact us or report it to a park ranger as soon as possible. If cell service is available, dial 911. The lives of other people, and the bear, may depend on it.

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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

Camping in Bear Country

Tips to keep bears and people safe.

Photo of hikers with bear spay

Hiking in Bear Country

Best practices for safely exploring the park.

Photo of ranger deploying bear spray.

Bear Spray

Read about this highly effective bear deterrent.

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

Reacting to a Bear

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

Roadside Bears

Learn how to protect yourself and keep bears wild while watching them from the road.


Last updated: July 18, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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