Yellowstone Grizzly Family

While exploring Yellowstone with my son and grandson by car, we saw a couple of cars and a park ranger parked by the side of the road, so we stopped. The ranger explained that there was a mama Grizzly across the creek from us, and he thought she might have some cubs with her.

We stood on our side of the creek, which was maybe 25 yards wide. Sure enough, we saw her come out of the woods, take a look at us across the creek, and decide that she didn’t really care that we were there.

She started climbing over the deadfalls, brought her cubs down to join her, and began walking along the creek. Along with the park ranger, we walked along with her, keeping her company from a distance of about 25 yards, with the creek between us. We traveled together maybe 100 yards over 45 minutes. She was calm, the cubs were playful, we were respectful and in awe of getting to spend so much time with this Grizzly family.

At one point, someone on our side of the creek stepped on a twig. At the sound of the snap, she became much more vigilant and then herded her cubs out of sight again.

Bear safety note: This encounter took place in 2014, the ranger was with us, and was not concerned about our distance from the bears. Things have changed since then.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services currently recommends a distance of 100 yards (300 feet) from bears.