Highline Trail & Grinnell Glacier Grizzly Bear Encounters

My family and I were hiking along the Highline Trail heading up to the Granite Park Chalet about 12 miles up in July 2009.

We had just started out from Logan Pass and were walking along a ridge for the first mile/mile and a half of the hike.

There were still cars on the Going to the Sun Highway below us, so we felt very safe, (there were many people around.) We have been in the park many times and are well aware of bears and bear attacks and take high precautions because we have two kids that were with us at the time (12 and 10). They knew what to do if we saw a grizzly bear and didn’t think we would. We were wrong.

The trail we were walking along was about 50 feet off the ground and about 3 or 4 feet wide, so we were all in a line. To our left was thick brush, and a 50 foot drop. To our right was a steep wall.

We were literally caught between a rock and a hard place and there was no turning back.

My daughter (12) had taken the lead and walked on ahead while my husband, son, and I stayed behind taking pictures.

She was only about 15 yards infront of us when she gasped.

She turned around and whispered, “There’s a huge grizzly bear about 5 feet infront of me in the brush. RUN!”

Of course we knew that we should not do that, plus there was really nowhere to run, and that was the scary part.

Our kids were terrified, but we reassured them that everything would be alright. Considering that my daughter was the only one that had seen it (well, its rear end and the hump on its back) my husband and I didn’t know how to react. We backed up about 10 yards from where the grizzly bear was (we couldn’t see it, but the bushes were rattling.)

Another young couple had walked up behind us and we told them that there was a grizzly bear right ahead, and it wasn’t leaving.

My husband and the other man slowly walked toward it and started screaming “bear! hey bear! go away bear! bear!” but it was not moving,

We had no idea what to do. We had a deadline to make it in time to the chalet, so we needed to get moving. After about 5 min of sitting there unsure and terrified, the bear turned, look directly at us and bolted up the steep wall to our right. We all let out a big sigh of relief, headed on out way, and never saw that bear again.

If you ever do hike in Glacier National Park, it is beyond beautiful!

Don’t let bears scare you away.

However, be in mind that this is their home and we are the visitors. Never run or pose as a threat, just back up very slowly while talking in a calming voice to the bear.

Even if it does mess with you , it will eventually leave. Don’t let them stand in your way, but watch out, YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY!

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Our Grizzly Bear Encounter at Grinnell Glacier in Glacier Natl Park
Brian

My college buddy and I went for a two week excursion in Glacier Park.

We decided to hike to Grinnell Glacier and took the National Park Services grizzly encounter session before hitting the trail.

We were very loud and borderline obnoxious heading up the trail in an attempt to keep bears away.

About two-thirds the way up the trail, we turned a corner near a steep cliff and came across a momma grizzly bear eating berries.

We were about 30 feet away.

Instantly, my instincts kicked in and I did everything textbook just like we were taught by the ranger. The only problem is that I went back down the trail and my buddy went up!

We were split up with the bear between us. I waited for another group and we all marched up as a team (my buddy said it sounded like a marching band coming up the hill).

We saw the bear again. But it was much further way this time. Everyone was safe and it made for an amazing story!

No gun or pepper spray needed.

However, I’m convinced that the bear could have had me for dinner if she wanted. Thank god for the tasty berries!

We later ran into the Ranger on the trail and were told that the bear specialist was flown in by helicopter and they relocated the bear.

No pics except one very fuzzy one that resembles many Yeti sitings. Except this one really happened!

What a great time we had!

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Grizzly Bear on Granite Park Chalet Hike
Jim

The Griz on Granite Park Chalet Hike

The Griz on Granite Park Chalet Hike

We enjoyed seeing the mother and two LARGE cubs feeding on a distant hillside. They were pulling out rocks and looking under them and moving downhill as they did so.

Never were we in distance to be dangerous. Yes, we had potent bear spray, and I was (legally) armed with a .44mag revolver. A few minutes after we saw the Griz, a doe mule deer kept us in sight and walked in front of us down the trail for about half a mile.

Local photographer said deer was using us to protect itself from either a nearby mountain lion or the bears.

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Comments

  1. Perry,
    Are you sure it wasn’t a Bighorn sheep?

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