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​How to Stay Safe in Yellowstone National Park

a man standing next to a body of water

Yellowstone National Park is a self-contained wonderland. Located on 3,471 square miles of scenic forest land in Northern Wyoming, the park is home to more than 45 waterfalls and cascades, lush green forests, hot springs, and multiple geysers including the famous Old Faithful. There’s even a twenty-mile-long Grand Canyon with 1,200-foot-deep walls streaked in pink and yellow.

The canyon is just one amazing stop on the Yellowstone Lower Loop Tour offered by Scenic Safaris. The full-day coach bus tour takes guests into the heart of Yellowstone, with stops at major landmarks such as West Thumb geyser basin, Old Faithful, and the Fountain Paint Pots. Whether you’re just spending the day with us, or plan on coming back to hike Yellowstone during your vacation, here are a few safety tips to help make your park visit safe and special.

Pack Your Bags

Wear a backpack stocked with the essentials you’ll need to have a comfortable and safe day at the park.

1. Sunscreen: The park’s Northern Wyoming location keeps it cool in the spring in fall, but the UV rays can still be intense (upwards of 11.5, which rates as extreme, in the summer). Pack SPF30 or higher and reapply every two hours.
2. Jacket: Temperatures and weather can change quickly, so be prepared.
3. Water: Aim for about 2 liters per person.
4. Quick food: Granola bars are a tour favorite.
5. Camera: For all the selfies and landscape pics you’ll want to snap.
6. Sunglasses and hat: Did you know your eyes can sunburn, too? Shade plus UVA and UVB glasses helps protect your peepers.

Have a Beary Good Time

Seeing a bear in the park can be a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience. According to Yellowstone officials, more than 40,000 bear sightings were reported between 1980 and 2011. Current park estimates put the grizzly and black bear populations at around 800-1250 total. Bears are most likely to be spotted at dawn or dusk, and after dark.

If you encounter a bear:

  • Keep your distance and use your smartphone zoom or telephoto lens to get a good close-up.
  • Don’t take off running. Bears can run up to 30 mph.
  • Stay downwind of the bear

If the bear sees you:

  • Calmly back up and exit the area slowly
  • Avoid eye contact
  • If it doesn’t move away, Frommers travel guide advises making loud noises to frighten the bear away
  • If you are attacked, try playing dead. Drop to the ground, face-down, and cover important areas such as your neck.
  • Pepper spray (or bear spray) can be used as a last resort

Most of all, trust yourself and our dedicated guides. They are well-trained, and have completed the Yellowstone journey countless times. Prepare for your trek in advance, pack well, and stay with your guides to ensure a safe and pleasurable journey through one of America’s most beloved national parks. Contact Scenic Safaris for more information or to book your Yellowstone guided tour today.