Grand Teton National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Bison on the highway northeast of Jackson
    Bison on the highway northeast of...
    by Bwana_Brown
  • A 'Do Not Approach Wildlife' sign in the same area
    A 'Do Not Approach Wildlife' sign in the...
    by Bwana_Brown
  • Sue hiking in the forest above Jenny Lake
    Sue hiking in the forest above Jenny...
    by Bwana_Brown

Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Grand Teton National Park

  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo

    Watch Wildlife From a Safe Distance

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 20, 2010

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    Bull Elk Guarding Female In Breeding Season
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    Be smart, remember that all the animals you see in Grand Teton are truly wild, and therefore can be dangerous. Do not feed them, for your own safety and theirs. People food is not only unhealthy, but it encourages animals to hang around, sometimes begging, sometimes stealing food from your picnic table, and sometimes becoming aggressive. Do not even feed small animals or birds such as ravens or chipmunks. They become pesky, can bite, and feeding them unhealthy food is not a kindness.

    Bears and other large animals are especially dangerous. Never approach a bear, elk, moose, or bison for any reason. If you do not have a telephoto or zoom lens, it is better to miss that photo then to end your vacation in the hospital or worse. Heed the park warnings, and follow the park rules, I have seen some really stupid tourist behavior around wildlife. Every year we read about tourist being attacked by wildlife, and often it is from ignoring park rules.

    Grizzly bears are large, often aggressive animals. An adult male grizzly weighs 300 to 700 pounds, and although females are smaller, they still weight from 200 to 400 pounds. Picture a football field in your mind, that is how far you should stay away from bears.

    You should stay at least 25 yards away from large animals such as moose, elk, and bison. Bison may look slow, but they can run at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. Elk can not only attack you, but if they become annoyed with people crowding around, they may even attack cars, especially during mating season. The sharp antlers are excellent weapons, so don’t provoke them by getting too close. Moose are large, and don’t trust you any more than the elk, bears, or bison, so be smart, and don’t take chances. You might get away with it, and you might not. I don’t want to read about you in our local Cody, Wyoming newspaper.

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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    You need to be careful around Bison

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Nov 8, 2010

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    Bison on the highway northeast of Jackson
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    Grand Teton was no different than Yellowstone in that there were plenty of Bison roaming around, especially in the southern portion of Grand Teton. When we left Jackson to return northward to our Lodge, we took a different route back – along the banks of the Gros Ventre River on the eastern side of the park. Just like the Hayden Valley drive along the Yellowstone River we were to experience the next day, there were bison all over the place and whenever they felt like crossing the highway, they just did it. The largest male bisons can be up to 6-ft tall, 10-ft (3 m) long and weigh up to 2000-lb (1000 kg), so you don’t want them to be messing with the exterior of your car!

    There have also been several cases of tourists being injured by charging Bison when they try to get a bit too close to these docile appearing animals for that 'perfect' shot. Bison can run as fast as 35-mph so you won't have a hope in a sprint (they are bigger than humans too)!

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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Don't take chances with Bears!

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Nov 7, 2010

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    Sue hiking in the forest above Jenny Lake

    Bear attacks are not frequent in Grand Teton National Park, but there have been instances of attacks by both Grizzly and Black bears in recent years. In 2007 a middle-aged male hiker was out for an early morning walk not far from Jackson Lake Lodge when he inadvertently came too close to a female Grizzly and her cubs feeding on an Elk kill. He was immediately attacked by one of the bears even though he shouted and laid down in a submissive posture. Luckily, a nearby wrangler heard the commotion and startled the bears into leaving before serious injuries took place.

    Since our August visit, park officials have also had to euthanize a male Black bear which was making a habit of breaking into ranch buildings while trying to gain access to food. The good news is that 2010 has been a quiet year regarding bear problems – with this Black bear being the only one requiring action by the authorities.

    In our case, we knew we would not really have enough time on our lightning trip to two National Parks to be able to do any serious hiking. Still, we contemplated it on our short hike along the lakeshore at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center and, in fact, did start out along the trail. However, we had not gone far before we decided this is crazy – we had no bear spray or any other means of defending ourselves! Let’s not spoil a great trip now by being stupid. We turned around and went back to Jenny Lake where we enjoyed ourselves along the beachfront instead.

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    drink the water, filter the water

    by richiecdisc Written Dec 14, 2009

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    plenty of water in the Alaska Basin
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    There is a lot of gorgeous water to drink in the backcountry and you will likely have never tasted better. At this elevation, it's cold as ice and there is nothing more refreshing than hiking for miles uphill and stopping to take a long drink of the stuff. But you have to treat it first as it can contain microorganisms that can wreck havoc on your body. You can use chemicals or a filter. I've tried both and must say the water tastes best with a filter even if it's a bit more weight to carry. No matter how you do it, it's one of the great pleasure of the backcountry so enjoy it.

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  • filipdebont's Profile Photo

    Be Bear Aware

    by filipdebont Written Sep 30, 2007

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    Enkel de foto werd gepost, in afwachting van de informatie, deze informatie komt wat later.

    bedankt voor uw bezoek en tot nog eens.

    I have just posted the photograph, the text with more information will follow later on

    Thanks for your visit and you are welcome to revisit later on.

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  • KARLPORTER56's Profile Photo

    Walking down the Mountain is difficult.

    by KARLPORTER56 Updated Feb 19, 2006

    Loose rocks and the steepness made me realize that walking down can be almost as difficult as walking up.. This trail from the top of Grand Targhee going down to the resort was somewhat difficult but fun.. My wife fell a couple of times. The rest of us almost fell...Also I have this fear of grizzly bears that is why I am watching over my son.. No Grizzlies on this day though.

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  • kazander's Profile Photo

    Do not appraoach!

    by kazander Written Oct 12, 2005

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    Bison

    The is a National Park, not a zoo or a farm! I was astonished how close people would go to the wildlife for a "good" picture. This is their home, you are just a visitor. Please respect them! It is the animals that you are here to see, no? So please do not endanger yourself, or the animals. The rule is approach no closer than 25 yards, with bears being the exception, approach no closer than 100 yards from bears.
    If you want fantastic photos of animals, buy a camera with a good zoom, or if you are experienced with photography and have an SLR, get a telephoto lens, preferably a decent focal length of at LEAST 300mm. Good photos, safe people and animals, that's the way to do it!

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  • kazander's Profile Photo

    Animals in the Road

    by kazander Updated Oct 12, 2005

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    Mosse x-ing

    Similar advice to that I gave on my Yellowstone National Park Page, be wary of animals on the road. This is their home and they wander where ever they please. Drive with caution, and obey the speed limits, especially at night when animals are harder to see.
    Also be aware of Bison Jams, they happen in this park as well,. perhaps not with the frequency of Yellowstone, but they do happen. Bison like to take their time crossing the road, or in some cases, they just take a leisurely stroll down the road. Traffic can build up quite heavily when this happens. It is best to stay in your car. Remember that these are large, powerful , wild animals and that you should not approach them, no matter how "tame" they may appear.

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  • Shihar's Profile Photo

    Please follow speed limit

    by Shihar Updated Oct 11, 2005

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    Deer on Signal Mt.

    It's horrible to see dead animals on the side of the road, 10 fold if you are in a National Park.

    We witnessed a Elk being hit with a car by a person that was going way over the speed limit at night. To make matters worse, the Elk's stunned and confused companion almost got clobbered by an on-coming Semi as well.

    This is what occurs especially since Hwy 191 and an airport are located within a National Park!

    Once you enter the park you receive a flyer that states "Speed Kills" more than 100 bears, elk, bison, deer, moose and wolves are killed per year.

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  • Shihar's Profile Photo

    Familarize yourself with Safety- Bear Etiquette

    by Shihar Written Oct 11, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bear warning sign at Hidden falls

    Bear Etiquette- As stated by NPS

    -If you encounter a bear, do not run. If the bear is unaware of you, detour quickly and quietly away. If the bear is aware but has not acted aggressively, back slowly away while talking in an even tone.
    -Never approach a bear for any reason.
    -Never allow a bear to get human food. If approached while eating, put food away and retreat to a safe distance (100 yards/91 meters).
    -Never abandon food because of an approaching bear. Always take it with you.
    -Never throw your pack or food at a bear in an attempt to distract it.
    -Never bury food scraps, containers, or fish entrails. Put them in trash cans.
    -Never leave food, containers, or garbage unattended in camp. Bears are active both day and night.
    -Report all bear sightings to a ranger.

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    • National/State Park

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