Yellowstone National Park Bears

The Yellowstone National Park bears come in two forms. There are black bears and larger grizzly bears. The time to see them is March through November, and as you might imagine, the best viewing is done from afar. While the Yellowstone National Park bison injure more visitors on an average annual basis, park rangers advise that people keep a greater distance from the bears than the bison.

While black bears are found in many different areas throughout the United States, grizzlies aren’t as prevalent. In fact, Yellowstone National Park is one of only a few areas in the country that is home to grizzly bears. The resident females typically weigh between 200 to 430 pounds, while males tend to weigh anywhere from 216 to 715 pounds. Their life expectancy in the wild is around fifteen to 20 years, and they are found in forested areas and non-forested valleys and meadows.

The black bears that are found within the realms of Yellowstone National Park might not be as large as the grizzlies, though they are still quite sizeable. Females weigh in at 135 to 160 pounds on average, while the males tip the scales at 210 to 315 pounds. As is true of the resident grizzlies, the black bears that call Yellowstone home have a life expectancy of fifteen to 20 years in the wild. Generally speaking, the black bears prefer forested areas.

In general, it is recommended that Yellowstone visitors remain at least 100 yards from any bear that they see. Compare this to around 25 yards for bison and other animals. Grizzlies are more aggressive than black bears on the whole, though this shouldn’t give park visitors a greater sense of bravado around black bears. As for those who are wondering about the total number of Yellowstone National Park bears, it is estimated that approximately 600 grizzlies live within the park boundaries. There is no current estimate for the black bear population. It should be noted that Yellowstone wildlife tours can be arranged for those who wish to do their bear watching with a knowledgeable guide.

Compare Travel Sites and Save!

Grant Village

Grant Village

Grant Village is a visitor community located right by the shores of Yellowsto...

Norris Geyser Basin


The Norris Geyser Basin has some of the hottest geothermal features in Yellow...

Yellowstone Lake

Lake Area

Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake in Yellowstone National Park and one of ...

Latest Topics

Where is Old Faithful

Here's more about Old Faithful. It's located at Yellowstone National Park in the northw...

More Forum Posts »