Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where to See Bears in Yellowstone National Park

Bookmark and Share

Where to See Bears in Yellowstone National Park


When I went to Yellowstone National Park this July, I had one goal: To see a bear. Many of my friends had bear stories from the times they ran into bears while hiking, but I had never seen a bear in my life outside of a zoo. I wanted to change that. I spent three days in the park and day tips, and the best advice I heard was this: "If you see a line of cars, keep your eyes open!" A line of cars always means people have stopped to observe wildlife of some sort.

Sure enough, on day two, just after passing the Tower-Roosevelt area driving south towards Mount Washburn, I got stuck in a traffic jam next to a patch of forest. I looked around furiously and discovered what everyone was looking at - a black bear playing in the woods about 40 feet from the road.

Two more times that afternoon, while driving near the Mount Washburn summit, I got stuck behind long lines of cars of people who had stopped to watch a grizzly on a hillside. The first bear was easy to see from the road, while the second was barely visible with the naked eye because it was so high on the hill.

You may have a better chance seeing a bear while hiking than while driving. Remember to always use caution in areas where bears are present. There are signs all over Yellowstone that list instructions for what to do if you encounter a bear in the wild. Be sure to read and understand the warnings, but don't let them scare you off. Though the animals are plenty dangerous, Yellowstone bear attacks are rare, and there hasn't been death from a bear attack in the park since 1986. Just use common sense, hike with a partner, and make lots of noise so as not to surprise any bears that may be nearby.

Day three brought my most exciting bear sighting, while hiking to the top of Mount Washburn, a mountain with an elevation of 10,200 feet. If you're going to hike Mount Washburn, there are two routes to the top. For bear sightings, I recommend the Chittenden Road option, because this path is more wide open so you can see more land, which increases your odds of seeing a bear. I saw a grizzly grazing on the hillside just below the summit of the mountain. Fortunately it was about 100 yards away from me, and I didn't feel compelled to get any closer!

The other route to the top of Mount Washburn (Dunraven Pass) is more narrow and forested, so you're not as likely to see bears there. This trail is also snowier - even in late June, the trail was covered by a few inches of snow in places.

If you stop at one of the information booths in Yellowstone, you can pick up a map that shows the best spots for seeing wildlife. Make sure to pick this up - it's invaluable. I found the best area for bear-watching to be the section of road from Tower-Roosevelt down to Dunraven Pass. If you keep driving back and forth on this road and keep your eyes open, sooner or later you may see a bear.

I've heard Hayden Valley is also great for bear watching, but I think you need binoculars to have success there, because you're sitting on top of a hill and the valley is quite far beneath you. I recommend the Mount Washburn area above all others. Good luck and stay safe!

For more information, you may want to check out the official Yellowstone page on animals:


0 Responses to "Where to See Bears in Yellowstone National Park"

Post a Comment


Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved Adult Remedies