Hikers run from grizzly bear on Hidden Lake Trail in Glacier National Park.
Hikers run from grizzly bear on Hidden Lake Trail in Glacier National Park.

With steep inclines both uphill and downhill, this group of hikers on a narrow section of the Hidden Lake Trail in Glacier National Park had limited options to get way for an advancing grizzly bear and decided to take off running. It may seem like commonsense to hightail it when a grizzly is headed your way, the National Park Service warns against running if you encounter a grizzly bear. There are roughly 300 grizzly bears living within Glacier National Park, so knowing exactly what to do if you encounter one is important before setting off for a hike. To learn more find the NPS guidelines for hiking bear country below:

Glacier National Park: Hiking in Bear Country:

Make Noise
Bears usually move out of the way if they hear people approaching. Bear bells are not adequate or effective. Calling out and clapping at regular intervals are better ways to make your presence known. Do your best never to surprise a bear.

Hike in Groups
Hiking in groups significantly decreases your chances of having a negative bear encounter. There have not been any reported attacks on groups of four or more in Glacier. If you’re a solo hiker looking for company, check the Ranger-led Activity page for guided hikes.

Grizzly Sprints Past Hikers

Don’t Run on Trails
Joggers and runners risk surprising a bear on the trail. Trail running is strongly discouraged.

Carry Bear Spray
Bear spray is an inexpensive way to deter bear attacks and has been shown to be the most effective deterrent. Be sure you know how to use it and that you are carrying it in an accessible place. Check the Ranger-led Activity page for summer demonstrations.


Be Aware of Surroundings
Some environmental conditions make it hard for bears to see, hear, or smell approaching hikers. Be particularly careful by streams, against the wind, or in dense vegetation. A blind corner or a rise in the trail also requires special attention. Look for scat and tracks. Bears spend a lot of time eating, so be extra alert when hiking in obvious feeding areas like berry patches, cow parsnip thickets, or fields of glacier lilies. Always keep children close. Avoid hiking very early in the morning, very late in the day, or after dark.

Secure Food and Garbage
Never leave food, garbage, or anything used to prepare, consume, store, or transport food unattended. This includes your backpack or day pack. Secure all food and odorous items safely and pack out all garbage. Other scented items include toiletries, feminine products, sunscreen, etc.

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