Wildlife Safety

A bear walks along a snowbank next to a road as a car drives by.
Bears will sometimes travel along roadways, particularly in the spring as snow is melting out. Please drive carefully and never feed bears - both for your safety and for the safety of the bears.

NPS Photo

Mount Rainier National Park contains a wide variety of wildlife species. Among the largest and most feared are the black bear and the mountain lion. Though you are not likely to see them, they are powerful animals, and your safety depends on how you act around them. Be aware of your surroundings, and follow these guidelines while in the park.

A black bear walks around a trail sign next to a trail.
Black bears can be found everywhere in the park, even on trails.

NPS/P. Wold

Close Encounters With Black Bears

Black bear attacks are extremely rare in the United States and we have no records of any occurring in Mount Rainier National Park. A bear's response to your presence depends heavily on how you respond to the bear's.

  • Never feed a black bear, either intentionally or by leaving food unsecured. Help keep wildlife wild.
  • Do not approach bear cubs. An adult may be nearby to protect and defend the cubs.
  • Back away from a nearby bear, even if it appears unconcerned with your presence.
  • Do not run. Back away slowly. Talk loudly.
  • A defensive bear will appear agitated and will often give visual and vocal warnings like swatting or stomping the ground, exhaling loudly, huffing, snapping teeth, or lowering the head with ears drawn back while facing you. This response may escalate to a charge.

If Charged by a Black Bear

  • If the bear stops, slowly back away while talking, keeping the bear in view while leaving the area.
  • If it continues, act aggressively, shouting and throwing rocks or sticks.
  • If the bear attacks and you have food, distance yourself from the food.
  • If the bear attacks and you do not have food, fight back aggressively. This is likely a predatory attack, and the bear is treating you as prey.

Staying Safe Around Bears
Learn more about how to view bears safely while avoiding dangerous bear encounters.

A large cat with tawny-brown fur walks through tall grass.
Mountain Lion photographed at Grand Teton National Park.

NPS Photo

Close Encounters With Mountain Lions

Mountain lions (also known as cougars) usually do not like confrontation. If you see one, give it plenty of space so it can get away. Never approach cougar kittens. Leave the area immediately.

  • Do not run or turn your back on a lion.
  • Gather children with adults. Quickly pick up and hold small children.
  • Stand in a group with your companions.
  • If the lion moves toward you, wave your arms and make noise. Make yourself look large, intimidating and in control: stand up tall, open your jacket, yell, throw things.
  • Back away slowly while facing the animal.
  • If attacked, fight back aggressively. Stay standing. Hit as hard as possible especially to the head. Use a stick or rock as a weapon. Throw dirt in the eyes. Protect your head and neck.

Report all bear and mountain lion sightings to a ranger.


Wildlife Observation

Report your wildlife observation! In addition to bears and mountain lions, species of particular interest include any owls, peregrine falcon, golden eagle, northern goshawk, white-tailed ptarmigan, harlequin duck (especially female with chicks), Cascade red fox (especially kits), fisher, wolverine, coyotes, wolves, western toad, and western bumblebee. Other species not listed are welcome too. Thank you!

Submit your wildlife observation

Last updated: May 10, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304


360 569-2211

Contact Us