Yellowstone National Park Grizzly Bear Attacks, Injures Hiker

by Hunter Miller

A Yellowstone National Park hiker sustained injuries during an encounter with a grizzly bear. The 37-year-old woman was hiking near Old Faithful when the incident took place.

The hiker encountered two grizzly bears “at very close range,” according to a park press release. The woman was traveling alone through Yellowstone National Park on the Fairy Falls Trail. She attempted to use bear spray on the grizzlies.

The woman suffered a scratch on her thigh when one of the bears knocked her down. In the fall, the woman received minor injuries to her face. She opted out of receiving medical attention.

Bear management biologist Kerry Gunther addressed the incident claiming the encounter was consistent with a mama bear protecting her cub. “From the injured person’s statements, this appears to be a typical case of a mother grizzly bear protecting her offspring following a close-range encounter,” Gunther said.

Gunther continued by explaining that the park will take no action against the bear. “Because this bear was displaying natural protective behavior for its cub, no action will be taken against the bear,” Gunther said. “Several trails in the area will be closed to give the grizzly family group time to clear from the area.”

Since the incident, park officials closed the Fairy Falls Trail and the surrounding area. At the time of the bear encounter, staff evacuated hikers from the trail.

How to Protect Yourself in a Bear Encounter

Should you find yourself in bear territory, the park provides guidelines for protecting yourself:

  • Don’t hike alone. Travel with three or more people.
  • Bring bear spray and know how to use it.
  • Be alert and make lots of noise.
  • Refrain from entering areas closed for bear management.
  • Bears are most at active at dawn, dusk, and night time. Avoid hiking at these times.
  • Avoid interacting with a wild animal, if possible. Stay 25 yards away from all large animals such as bison, deer, moose, coyotes, bison, and elk. Also, try staying at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.