Logan Pass Grizzly Bear Encounters: Glacier National Park Travel Guide

I often like to wake early (5AM) or so when I camp at Glacier National Park, which is usually several times a year.

One great thing to do is to ride up to Logan Pass in the early morning and hike up the trail toward Hidden Lake.

So, last August I arose at Sprague Creek campground and managed to have my coffee and be on the road and up to the pass by about 6:30 AM.

I walked barely a half mile up the trail from the Visitors Center and there was a young grizzly just off the boardwalk trail.

Another man was on the trail with a tripod and camera set up and together we sat for over an hour watching this medium sized grizzly bear, which was maybe 50 yards off the boardwalk.

It was like the bear did not mind him taking his picture and really was not offended with us sharing his turf for a little while.

In my haste I left my camera in my pack in my tent, thought it was in the truck… LOL…

But anyway the time spent up there was something I will never forget.

It was a fairly warm morning and while the grizzly bear was certainly aware of us you would never have known it as he very busily dug in the ground for roots and rodents.

Meanwhile, a large raven kept swooping down toward the grizzly bear at intervals and the bear would bluff charge him and then return to his digging.. .after over an hour of just sitting quietly, which was impossible as more and more people arrived with children screaming etc., he finally moved away from us and around a ridge….

But for an hour one other guy and me were able to just sit quietly and enjoy watching the “King” having breakfast…

I will never forgive myself for leaving the camera at the tent.

But, then again, I found the most important part of the experience was just being there and feeling respect and awe with the beautiful scenery all around.

This was the most magnificent moment in my life that I will never forget.

I have been hiking in Glacier National Park for over 30 years and seen several grizzly bears, but that morning was the very best!!!

Comment from RootingBear

John, this is an incredible experience you had and I can tell that you were deeply moved by it. Too bad the folks with screaming kids showed up as it sounds like a moment that could have continued indefinitely if not for that. I’ll be traveling to Montana next week, St. Ignatius, and hope to view some wildlife and if I am lucky enough to see a Grizz, I hope that my experience is just like yours, or at least close. Thanks for sharing this story of the bear that you will never forget.

Click here to post comments.

Join in and write your own page! It’s easy to do. How? Just click here!

Simply click here to return to Have you seen a grizzly bear while hiking? Share your story! It’s easy to do. Just click here.

Hiking With Grizzly Bears in Glacier National Park, 1976
KL Brisby

1976, somewhere near the middle of a 30-mile hike, I left Logan Pass on the trail north.

This trail is cut into the steep and sometimes sheer west side of the mountain ridge. The trail was kind of congested at first, but I powered through.

I was making great time, striding past tourists and less aggressive (OK, smarter) hikers.

I finally broke clear of the masses. As the trail wrapped around ridges, the mountains blocked more and more of the noise behind me. I had a walking stick with a bear bell, and before long that and the crunch of my boots was the only sounds I heard.

Apparently the ridges blocked noises going forward as well as back.

When I rounded the next corner, suddenly a large grizzly bear was walking toward me!

I wasn’t right on him, maybe a hundred yards away, but there was nothing between us except the trail. It was very sheer to the left, and way too steep uphill. My bell caught his ear, but he continued trudging along the trail toward me. It was pretty clear where the bear was headed.

I reversed course (so much for me making good time on my hike), not running but let’s say power hiking.

As I rounded each ridge heading back, I called out that there was a grizzly bear behind me!

There was no one to hear.

Finally, a couple ridges back, I saw the first few folks behind me on the trail.

They stopped, I suppose trying to be sure they understood what I’d said. Then they pointed and ran.

The bear seemed to be keeping its same pace, which was still faster than me because he had closed about half the distance between us. Surprisingly, I sped up.

I could hear the noise building up ahead of me, and around the next bend I could see people scrambling ahead. It wasn’t panic, but they looked thoroughly motivated.

Then I did break into a trot, then a run, trying to get back closer to the road and noise and humans, or at least more distractions for the bear.

But something more important happened. As I got closer to the pass, the grade on the land above the trail lessened, and the grizzly bear went loping right up.

In less than a minute he was well up above the trail, poking around the flowers, just another that-brown-blob-is-a-bear blip for cheap tourist cameras.

Not sure what I could have done differently. Even if he’d heard me sooner, the grizzly bear was stuck on the trail, same as me.

I guess the lesson is that sometimes you need to share the road. And let the thousand-pound grizzly bear get where he’s going first.

Click here to post comments.

Join in and write your own page! It’s easy to do. How? Just click here!

Simply click here to return to Have you seen a grizzly bear while hiking? Share your story! It’s easy to do. Just click here.

Like this article?

Like This Site?

Speak Your Mind