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25 Places To See Bears In North America

Image by roblan on depositphotos.

Exploring the wilderness of America can lead to some incredible wildlife sightings, with bears being among the most sought-after encounters for nature lovers and photographers alike. The United States is home to several species of bears, including the black bear, brown bear (including grizzlies), and the polar bear. Here’s a guide to the top 25 places where can see bears in their natural habitats across America.

1. Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Ruling the landscape, brown bears of Kamchatka (Ursus arctos beringianus). Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Image by riverriver on depositphotos.

 Famous for the Brooks Falls, where brown bears gather to fish for salmon.

2. Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Grizzly bear in typical landscape of tundra in Denali NP, Alaska, US. Image by roussien on depositphotos.

 Offers sightings of grizzly bears in a stunning, untouched landscape.

3. Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

View from near South Frazer Cabin. Kodiak National WIldlife Refuge. Image by David Menke, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Home to the Kodiak bear, a unique subspecies of the brown bear.

4. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve Alaska. Image by National Park Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Accessible only by boat or plane, it’s a prime spot for bear watching.

5. Glacier National Park, Montana

Beautiful evening sunset in Glacier National Park, Montana. Image by snehitdesign on depositphotos.

 A habitat for both grizzly and black bears amidst mountainous terrain.

6. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. Image by haveseen on depositphotos.

 One of the best places in the U.S. to see grizzly bears alongside a host of other wildlife.

7. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park. Image by lorcel on depositphotos.

Known for its black bear population, with bears frequently spotted by visitors.

8 . Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina

Young Black Bear Stands In Grassy Field in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Image by kvddesign on depositphotos.

It is the most visited national park in the U.S., home to many black bears.

9. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Views of the fields and Mountains in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Image by oscity on depositphotos.

It offers excellent opportunities to view wildlife, including grizzly and black bears.

10. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Flattop Mountain peak. Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, USA. Image by tupungato on depositphotos.

Black bears are common in this park, which boasts diverse ecosystems.

11. Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

Valley of the Gods in Utah located within the Bears Ears National Monument. Image by paulbradyphoto on depositphotos.

 Named for its bear-like rock formations, it’s also home to various wildlife, including black bears.

12. North Cascades National Park, Washington

Mountain river and forest in North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA. Image by amadeustx on depositphotos.

 A less-visited park offering solitude and opportunities to see black bears in the wild.

13. Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend National Park. Image by zrfphoto on depositphotos.

 Offers a chance to see black bears in the Chisos Mountains.

14. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California

Bear in wild with cubs in Sequoia National Park. Image by rabbit75_dep on depositphotos.

 Known for their giant sequoias and black bear sightings.

15. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina

Black bears in Alligator river nationalwildlife refuge. Image by Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

 While known for alligators, it’s also a place to see black bears.

16. Anan Wildlife Observatory, Alaska

United States Forest Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

 A hidden gem for watching brown and black bears fish for salmon.

17. Chugach National Forest, Alaska

Fall is approaching in the Chugach National Forest Alaska. Image by cboswell on depositphotos.

 Offers encounters with bears in a coastal forest setting.

18. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve,Alaska. Image by kamchatka on depositphotos.

 A massive park where bears are often seen in the wild.

19. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Gates of the Arctic National Park. Image by Brian W. Schaller, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons.

 A remote park offering unique opportunities to see bears in the Arctic.

20. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Alaska landscape with green forest, river moutains with the snow. Image by stetsik on depositphotos.

While known for its glaciers, it’s also a good place to spot coastal bears.

21. Svalbard, Alaska

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) on the pack ice north of Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, Norway. Image by Alexey_Seafarer on depositphotos.

 Though not in the contiguous U.S., it’s one of the few places to see polar bears in their natural habitat.

22. Churchill, Alaska

Churchill Park, Alaska. Image by Jennifer C., CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Another exceptional location for polar bear sightings is often referred to as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World.”

23. Baxter State Park, Maine

Fog on a lake at sunrise, at Baxter State Park, Maine. Image by appalachianview on depositphotos.

It offers a wilderness experience with a good chance of encountering black bears.

24. Superior National Forest, Minnesota

Gunflint trail is a 50 mile road winding through the Superior National Forest with no towns. Image by jjbooma on depositphotos.

 A vast wilderness area with a healthy population of black bears.

25. Olympic National Park, Washington

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington. Image by julof77 on depositphotos.

 A diverse ecosystem where black bears can be seen in the forests and coastal areas.

Conclusion

brown bear
Brown bear standing on a log. Image via Deposit Photos.

When planning a visit to these destinations, it’s important to remember that bears are wild animals with unpredictable behaviors. Always maintain a safe distance, store food properly, and follow park regulations to ensure a safe and respectful experience for you and the wildlife. Happy bear-watching!

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