Backpacking in Bear Country

Backpacking in Bear Country

Author: REI
Published: October 4, 2022

Know before you go! Here’s some tips to avoid a bear encounter from REI.

“Bears are magnificent creatures and they’re exciting to see in their natural habitat—but ideally from an appropriate distance. When hiking or backpacking in an area where black bears or grizzlies live, there are precautions you can take so you’re less likely to have a negative bear encounter and things you can do to be more prepared to act if you do have one.

Planning Your Hike in Bear Country

Before you head into the backcountry, find out what bear-related regulations are in place at your destination. Some parks require bear canisters; others don’t. Others have specific storage regulations like bear poles, cables or lockers. Make sure you know before you go.

In national parks where grizzlies live, such as Glacier or Grand Teton, rangers encourage you to carry bear spray. In others, such as Yosemite, where only black bears live, bear spray is not even permitted.

How to Avoid Bears While Hiking

In some areas, even before you get to your first campsite, you may be lucky enough to spot a bear. Your main task will be to hike without startling one at close range, especially a mother with cubs. Here are some guidelines that are particularly important to follow in bear territory.”

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Photo Credit: Original Author

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