Grizzly Bear Attack in Grand Teton Injures Man, Prompts Trail Closure

A grizzly bear attacked and injured a man after a surprise encounter on Signal Mountain in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, prompting closure of the area. The 35-year-old Massachusetts man, whose identity has not been disclosed, was airlifted from the scene after sustaining serious injuries on Sunday afternoon. 

According to reports from the injured visitor and park authorities, they “believe the incident was a surprise encounter with two grizzly bears, with one of the bears contacting and injuring the visitor,” said the National Park Service in a press release. No additional details were released on the circumstances of the encounter.

Grand Teton park rangers and Teton County Search and Rescue provided emergency medical care on scene before the man was air lifted via helicopter to St. John’s hospital. Officials say he is in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.

In light of the attack, the Signal Mountain Summit Road and Signal Mountain Trail are closed indefinitely to the public. 

Road to Signal Mountain summit in Grand Teton National Park, shown in red in the center, is not open for the summer season. Map via Grand Teton National Park

Be Bear Aware

Despite the attack likely being a surprise encounter between man and bear, the incident highlights the importance of staying bear aware in bear country. Grand Teton National Park is home to both black and grizzly bears, many of which are emerging from their winter dens this spring.

As the busy summer season approaches, this incident is the first reported grizzly attack in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) this year. Though bear attacks are rare, the GYE typically sees bear and human conflicts each year as the region’s grizzly population grows, including a fatal attack on a woman in West Yellowstone last year. This occurrence also follows a grizzly bear incident in Canada last week, where a man suffered significant injuries after being attacked while hunting with his father. 

When hiking in bear country, including sections of the AT, PCT, and CDT which are home to either black or grizzly bears, these safety guidelines are essential in keeping both yourself and the wildlife safe:

  • Proper Food Storage: Always secure food and odor attractants in bear-resistant containers, such as food lockers or a bear canister, or inside a hard-sided vehicle. Never leave food or trash unattended.
  • Keep a Clean Camp: Abide by campground rules and keep your campsite free of food and trash. Don’t bring anything with an odor into your tent. Cook and store all food, toiletries, and trash at least 100 yards away from your campsite.
  • Stash Your Trash: Dispose of all garbage in bear-resistant dumpsters to prevent attracting wildlife.
  • Keep Wildlife Wild: Maintain a safe distance of at least 100 yards from bears and use binoculars or cameras for viewing. Respect all wildlife closures. 
  • Backcountry Precautions: Be vigilant, make noise to alert bears of your presence, carry and know how to properly use bear spray, and hike in groups of three or more. If you encounter a bear, do not run. Instead, back away slowly and give it space.

By following proper precautions, a bear encounter is often avoidable. Hikers in the area are encouraged to stay informed of any wildlife closures and follow all safety advisories when traveling in this area. For further information, you can visit the Grand Teton National Park website for news and alerts. 

Feature image via

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Comments 1

  • Henry Latimer : May 21st

    The Trek frequently publishes posts from bloggers exhibiting behavior contrary to those recommendations, without any disclaimers whatsoever.


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