"There are Bears in the Park, Plus other Wildlife" Mount Rainier National Park Warnings Or Dangers Tip by glabah


Yes, in fact there are bears in the park, and the chances of seeing one are very slim. They are very shy of people, unlike their relatives in other national parks. Typically, they will be doing what you see here: running away from you, or your car, or any other artificial sound that is strange to them.

You will also run into foxes, which will also do what they can to find food, even if it means taking it from people. Some are bold enough to even wander right in to the very busy Paradise visitor's center and lodge area.

There are grey jays that are quite common near the high ridges of the Cascades. These are very outgoing birds, and will even take food right out of your hand if you happen to get distracted. They have been nicknamed "camp robbers" among those who frequent the high country, and generally make the stellar jays, ravens, and scrub jays that also frequent the region look shy by comparison.

As implied by the rock formation named Cougar Rock, cougars and bob cats may also be found in the high country of the Cascades (indeed, both have wandered into city parks in Seattle at times).

Deer and elk may be found in the area as well.

As shown in the photo here, the mountain slopes represent a very significant barrier as they are steep, difficult to climb, and have a lot of loose rock. Thus, the roads and trails represent a very easy way for wildlife to get from one place to another. There is a 35 mile per hour speed limit in effect in most places and this drops to 20 miles per hour in a number of other places. You do not want to suddenly come across a 1,000+ pound elk in the middle of the road if you are blasting along much too fast. Chances are, you will take its legs right out from under it and it will come through your windshield and kill you and the other occupants of your vehicle, so don't drive at stupid speeds on the roads in the park, especially when driving in the dark or at dusk.

Generally, the wildlife is more aggressive in its feeding habits in autumn (especially in October when the snows may have set in) as that is when everything is looking for food to store for winter consumption, and/or looking to eat heavy in preparation for hibernation. However, the bears seem to wake up a bit grumpy anyway, and they will also have young with them when they come out of hibernation so be especially careful of them in spring - and be on the lookout for young ones. Be sure to make a bit of noise as you walk, even maybe have a bit of hard metal or plastic banging against your stainless steel water bottle, as that is a bell sound that will carry enough to alert them of your coming.

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  • Written Oct 10, 2011
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