The grizzly bear is also known as the North American brown bear (or just grizzly) is a subspecies of the brown bear. While most of their modern-day range is in Alaska and Canada, they are also to be found in pockets of the Lower 48.

One of the best places to see them is in Yellowstone National Park - plan your wildlife trip there around the wildlife's mating and migration patterns. They are the most populous in British Columbia and Alaska. In Manitoba, Canada it is even possible to go on a polar bear watching tour - the largest bears in the world.

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About The Famous Grizzly

On the coast, grizzly bears tend to be larger while inland grizzlies tend to be smaller. The grizzly is not only found in North America but also in Europe and Asia and so they enjoy the widest range of any bear species in the world (in the past they even inhabited North Africa and North America as far south as deep into Mexico and as west as the shores of Hudson Bay.

  • Riddle: All Four Walls Face South, What Color is the Bear? (Answer At The End)
  • Scientific Name: Ursus arctos horribilis
  • Diet: Rodents, Insects, Elk Calves, Cutthroat Trout, Roots, Pine Nuts, Grasses, and Large Mammals
  • Life Span: 25 Years In The Wild
  • Size: Five to Eight Feet
  • Weight: 800 Pounds
  • Protected: Grizzlies Are Protected By Law In The Continental United States But Not In Alaska

Related: You Can Go On A Polar Bear Tour In Canada's Arctic, So Prepare To Be In Awe Of This Incredible Species

Modern Range In The Lower 48 Population Estimates

Today they are gone from Mexico and most of the Lower 48 - but not entirely. They are still to be found in parts of the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. They are in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Parks.

The only areas south of Canada that still have a large grizzly population are in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and northwest Montana.

Population Estimates Of The Grizzly:

  • Total In North America: Around 55,000 Grizzlies
  • Lower 48: Around 1,500 Grizzlies Remaining
  • Wyoming: Around 600 In The Yellowstone-Teton Area (According To The NPS 150 With Home Ranges Wholly or Partly In The Park and 728 In Greater Yellowstone)
  • Montana: Around 1,000 In The Northern Continental Divide
  • Idaho: Around 70-100 In Northern And Eastern Idaho
  • Washington: Estimated Less Than 20 Bears
  • Colorado: No Confirmed Sightings Since 1979

Seeing The Grizzly

"Smarter Than The Average Bear - Ah Boo Boo?" - Yogi Bear

One of the best places to see the grizzly in the Lower 48 is in Yellowstone. Here one can see two species of bears - the grizzly and the black bears. If one would like to see them in Yellowstone, then hotspots are at dawn and dusk in the Hayden and Lamar valleys, on the north slopes of MT. Washburn, and from Fishing Bridge to the East Entrance. But don't go in the winter - they are considered super hibernators.

  • Caution: Be Aware That All Bears Are Potentially Dangerous, Park Regulations Require People Staying At Least 100 Yards From Them
  • Forbidden: It Is Forbidden To Feed Any Park Wildlife Including Bears
  • Speed: They Are Agile Can Run Up To 40 mph (You Can't Outrun Them!)
  • Yellowstone Range: The Occupy 20,522 Square Miles In The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Fortunately, scientists and managers believe the grizzly population in Yellowstone is doing well with grizzlies raising cubs in almost all parts of greater Yellowstone and are dispersing into new habitats. It is thought that they have expanded from 136 in 1975 to 757 in 2014 before falling a little to 728 in 2019 (these are estimates and the population may not have actually fallen).

  • Warning: One Visitor Was Injured by a Grizzly Bear in 2021

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